Launceston locals think FAST

February 11, 2020
Launceston locals are taking action to stop stroke and speed up access to emergency stroke treatment thanks to a Stroke Foundation program. 

F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech and Time) Community Education Program, funded by the Tasmanian Government, is making an impact.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said thousands of local residents had received information on how to recognise stroke, prevent it and take action if they suspect someone is having a stroke.

“The community has gotten behind the project. We have had F.A.S.T. signage on buses, free health checks, StrokeSafe talks to groups and business, F.A.S.T.

book marks and wallet cards distributed at health centres, pharmacies, workplaces, government buildings and more,’’ Ms McGowan said. 

“The more people who know the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke the better. We must ensure more Tasmanians recognise a stroke when it occurs, and know how vital it is to call an ambulance.

“Stroke is a time-critical illness and faster diagnosis and treatment saves lives and results in improved quality of life.”

The F.A.S.T. test is easy to remember and involves three simple questions:

  Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
  Arms – Can they lift both arms?
  Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
  Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call triple zero (000) straight away.

Tasmania has the highest incidence of stroke per capita in the country and it’s estimated around 290 strokes will occur in the Bass electorate this year alone. 
“Too many families continue to be devastated by stroke,” Ms McGowan said.  

“Stroke strikes the brain - the human control centre -  but it can be prevented, treated and beaten.

“This is why community education is so important. If we can ease the burden of stroke on the people of Launceston, it will benefit generations to come.” 

Currently F.A.S.T. Community Education is being delivered in Launceston and the Huon Valley. Stroke Foundation hopes to continue the program and expand it to other areas of the state.

Ms McGowan added while the F.A.S.T. Community Education Program is making a difference, more needs to be done. 

“Only 36 percent of Tasmanians with stroke are arriving at hospital within the optimal 4.5 hours window for blood clot-dissolving treatment. Arriving outside of this timeframe limits treatment options. For every minute treatment is delayed, more brain is lost,” she said. 

As part of the F.A.S.T. Community Education Program, local residents are invited to learn more about stroke at a free StrokeSafe presentation at Launceston Library on Tuesday February 11 at 1pm.

The speaker will provide important information about what to do if someone is having a stroke and how to make healthy lifestyle choices to prevent stroke. 

What Free StrokeSafe presentation (no bookings required)
When Tuesday February 11, 2020
Where Room 1, second floor, Launceston Library
71 Civic Square, Launceston

F.A.S.T Community Education Program is part of the Health Tasmania Community Innovations Grant, a Tasmanian Government and Community Partnership.
StrokeSafe speakers are available to deliver talks in a range of locations. Many have experienced a stroke themselves or been impacted by a loved one with stroke. If you would like to arrange for an ambassador to visit your community and talk about stroke prevention, please call 1300 194 196 or book online.