Devonport letterbox drop could save lives

August 04, 2021
Devonport residents are being urged to keep an eye out in their mailboxes for a special delivery this National Stroke Week (August 2-8) - a magnet outlining the most common signs of stroke, F.A.S.T. 

F.A.S.T. stands for Face. Arms. Speech and Time – four words that can save a life. 

Volunteers, including survivors of stroke and their families, will drop 650 magnets in letterboxes throughout the community and encourage locals to think F.A.S.T. and ask these questions if they suspect a stroke:

• 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.

A stroke attacks the brain and can change lives in an instant. More than 2,300 residents in the Braddon region are living with the effects of stroke. 

Stroke Foundation Tasmania State Manager Eamonn O’Toole said it was vital people know what to do when stroke strikes, particularly in Tasmania which has the highest incidence of stroke per capita in Australia. 

“Stroke can impact anyone, anywhere and at any time,’’ Mr O’Toole said.

“When a stroke occurs, brain cells die at a rate of around 1.9 million per minute, but prompt medical treatment can stop this damage, save lives and reduce disability.  

“Recognising stroke symptoms and dialling triple zero (000) is the crucial first step in accessing time-critical treatment.”

Devonport residents are urged to stick the FAST message on the fridge where they can see it constantly. They are also urged to share the F.A.S.T. message with their friends, family and colleagues.

“The more people who know they should call triple zero at the first sign of stroke – no matter how long it lasts - the better,” Mr O’Toole said.  

The theme for National Stroke Week is United by Stroke which recognises the many people involved in the chain of a stroke occurring from the person who recognised it, to the paramedics, treating doctors and health workers who support patients in rehabilitation.  

The team delivering the magnets in Devonport is also united by stroke in its efforts to encourage more people in the local community to learn the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke. 

The letterbox drop is being delivered as part of the F.A.S.T. Community Education program, funded by the Tasmanian Government.