Islanders will be more aware of the signs of stroke thanks to the province-wide FAST campaign made possible through a collaborative partnership between the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Island EMS and Health PEI.Effective immediately, all ambulances and other IEMS emergency vehicles in PEI will display FAST signs of stroke decals, to remind Islanders of stroke signs and to act FAST at their first onset.
FAST stands for: Face: is it drooping? Arms: can you raise both? Speech: is it slurred or jumbled? Time: to call 9-1-1 right away.
“Our health care system has worked hard to develop specialized services and supports for Islanders who survive a stroke. The FAST campaign will enhance that important work by creating greater public awareness that will hopefully save lives,” said Minister of Health and Wellness Doug Currie. “We all have a role to play and it starts with knowing how to recognize the signs of stroke. Thanks to this exciting opportunity, we now have an innovative way to do so.”
The FAST messaging has been proven to improve stroke outcomes in many countries around the world, and is an easy way to remind people of the major signs of stroke, and the urgency of seeking emergency medical attention.
Lorraine Gallant of Wellington knows better than most as she suffered a stroke while visiting family at their cottage in June. Lorraine recently shared her life-saving story with the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “Because my granddaughter Amy instantly recognized the signs of stroke after having seen the Heart and Stroke Foundation FAST commercial on television, I am alive and well today,” she says.
“Together, our goal is to ensure that Islanders and beyond know and understand the signs of stroke through the FAST campaign. Recognizing the signs of stroke and acting quickly can make the ultimate difference in survival and recovery,” said Darcy Clinton, Acting General Manager. “With the simplified FAST signs on our ambulances and vehicles, we are confident this will further generate awareness and save lives.”
Stroke is the number three killer of Canadians, and is the leading cause of disability. There are an estimated 62,000 strokes in Canada each year, one every nine minutes. More than 80 per cent of individuals who have a stroke and make it to the hospital will survive, with varying degrees of recovery. On PEI at any one time, there are approximately 800 people who have experienced a stroke, many of them living with varying degrees of physical or cognitive disability.
In addition to yesterday’s launch, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has been reaching out to Islanders since early spring with a multi-faceted awareness campaign including television, newspaper and social media. To maximize outreach, the Foundation has also placed bookmarks, posters and fridge magnets displaying the FAST message in various locations across the province.
Heart and Stroke Foundation CEO for PEI, Charlotte Comrie, is delighted to expand the reach of the FAST campaign through this partnership with Island EMS. “We are pleased to know that people will be reminded of the FAST signs every time they see one of the 20 IEMS ambulances or one of their other emergency vehicles on the roadways of PEI. Our objective is to ensure that all Islanders, no matter where they live or how old they are, know and remember the FAST signs of stroke,” said Ms. Comrie. “The faster you can get to the right hospital when experiencing stroke, the better your chances of survival and recovery with little or no disability.”
• A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function.
• 62,000 strokes occur in Canada each year – that is one stroke every nine minutes.
• 83 per cent of those who have a stroke and make it to hospital will now survive.
• Brain cells die at a rate of 1.9 million per minute during stroke.
• Each year, more than 13,000 Canadians die from stroke.
• Hundreds of thousands of Canadians are living with the effects of stroke.
• Stroke is a leading cause of acquired adult disability
• Stroke can happen at any age. Stroke among people under 65 is increasing and stroke risk factors are increasing for young adults.
• Half of Canadians report having a close friend or family member who survived a stroke.
For more information about the signs of stroke: www.heartandstroke.ca/FAST.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s mission is to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery. A volunteer-based health charity, we strive to tangibly improve the health of every Canadian family, every day. Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make it happen. www.heartandstroke.ca/