EMS Tips First Aid

F.A.S.T Stroke Assessment

The National Stroke Awareness Month promotes the F.A.S.T. Stroke assessment for lay persons to determine if stroke signs are present.

Ask person to smile. Look for one-sided facial droop.

Ask person to raise their arms. Look to see if one arm drifts downward.

Ask person to repeat a simple phrase. Listen for word slurring and correct repeating of the phrase.

If any deficiencies are noted – facial droop, arm drift, speech slurring – time is critical. Call 911 immediately.

Unfortunately, too often lay persons delay in calling 911 or use a private vehicle to transport a patient with stroke symptoms. Time is critical for the treatment of ischemic strokes – 80% or more of strokes. Call 911 for any patient with stroke signs.

Learn more about National Stroke Awareness month and the F.A.S.T. Stroke Assessment.

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.