There is another reason to watch for ambulances driving the streets of Kelowna and the Okanagan.
The BC Ambulance Service has partnered with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to raise awareness of the signs of stroke with new F.A.S.T. informational decals pasted onto the exterior of its ambulances.
“During a stroke, seconds matter. The quicker you can recognize the signs of a suspected stroke and call 9-1-1, the quicker we can get the patient the definitive care they need,” said Don Hunt, BCAS paramedic unit chief in Kelowna.
“Strokes can have a devastating impact on patients and families. I’m glad we are helping raise awareness of the signs of stroke so that we can hopefully lessen the impact of this disease in our community.”
June is National Stroke Awareness Month and the F.A.S.T. mnemonic can assist with recognizing the symptoms and what action to take, specifically:
Face – is it drooping?
Arm – can you raise them?
Speech – is it slurred or jumbled?
Time – contact 9-1-1 right away.
“Calling 9-1-1 in the event of a suspected stroke is imperative,” said Hunt. “BCAS paramedics know how to quickly diagnose stroke and address the urgent health care needs of patient. They also know which hospitals can provide the most appropriate stroke treatment for the patient and alert hospitals of an incoming stroke patient to streamline access to definitive treatment.”
• A stroke is a disruption of blood supply to the brain – either through a blockage due to clot or bleeding. Stroke is the number one cause of acquired long-term disability and third leading cause of death in B.C.
• For more information on F.A.S.T. online: http://www.heartandstroke.ca/stroke/signs-of-stroke