Think FAST!


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


Suspect a stroke? Think FAST!

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

With over 12,000 people in Scotland having a stroke every year, it is essential that people can recognise a stroke when it's happening and take prompt action.

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.

What are the symptoms of stroke?

To help people recognise the symptoms of stroke quickly, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland is promoting FAST - the Face Arm Speech Test - which is used by paramedics to diagnose stroke prior to a person being admitted to hospital. By diagnosing the possibility of stroke before reaching hospital, it is possible for appropriate referral to a stroke unit to be made as quickly as possible.

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.

What is FAST?

FAST requires an assessment of three specific symptoms of stroke.

  • 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

If someone has failed any of these tests it is crucial to call 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.

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?