Monday, May 7, 2012

May is National Stroke Awareness Month

The City of Tacoma has proclaimed May as "Stroke Awareness Month," and Tacoma Fire Department (TFD) encourages everyone to learn the signs, symptoms and prevention strategies surrounding strokes. The fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. is stroke, and the National Stroke Association recommends the use of FAST to remember the warning signs:
  • Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms in front of them with palm's up.  Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase, like "you can't teach an old dog new tricks."  Is their speech slurred or strange? 
  • Time:  If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately and note the last time the person was seen "normal."
Locally, St. Joseph Medical Center and Tacoma General Hospital are designated Level 1 Stroke centers meaning that they provide the highest level of emergent stroke care and intervention available in the State.  TFD works closely with the two facilities to ensure that our EMS providers are trained in the early recognition of stoke-like symptoms and best practices for pre-hospital care. In 2011, we transported 230 stroke patients, and have transported 70 stroke patients the first quarter in 2012.