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Think FAST!

Suspect a stroke? Think FAST!

The main aim of the FAST campaign is to help people recognise the symptoms of a stroke — and to act FAST.

With over 15,000 people in Scotland having a stroke every year, it is essential that people can recognise a stroke when it’s happening and call 999.


Face – Can they smile? Does one side droop?

Arms – Can they lift both arms? Is one weak?

Speech – Is their speech slurred or muddled?

Time – Time to call 999

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a brain attack. It happens when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted. Most strokes occur when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain. Some strokes are caused by bleeding in or around the brain from a burst blood vessel.

A stroke is ALWAYS a medical emergency, and you need to call 999 as soon as you see any symptoms of a stroke.

What are the symptoms of stroke?

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland promotes FAST — the Face Arm Speech Test — which is used by paramedics to diagnose stroke as quickly as possible. The faster someone who is having a stroke gets to hospital the better.

FAST highlights three specific symptoms of stroke and the need to take emergency action immediately.

  • Facial weakness — can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
  • Arm weakness — can the person raise both arms?
  • Speech problems — can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
  • Time — to call 999

A stroke can happen at any time to anyone from the youngest of babies to the very elderly. Usually there is little or no warning so it is really important that If you see someone with any one of the tell-tale signs of a stroke, you need to Think FAST and dial 999. Stroke is a medical emergency and by calling 999 you can help someone reach hospital quickly and receive the early treatment they need.

Prompt action can prevent further damage to the brain and help someone make a full recovery. Delay can result in death or major long-term disabilities, such as paralysis, severe memory loss and communication problems.

Work with CHSS to promote the FAST campaign

CHSS is creating a new suite of FAST campaign resources and is looking for local partners to help deliver the FAST campaign across Scotland. If you are interested in working with CHSS on the FAST campaign, or want to know more about the resources we have and are developing, please get in touch.
Get in touch

How we can help you

The CHSS specialist Advice Line Nurses provide a supportive listening ear, details of local support services, and confidential information and advice about all aspects of living with stroke conditions.

0808 801 0899

Free from landlines and mobiles

Reduce your risk of stroke What is a stroke?

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