Public Education

 

The ability to identify the signs/ symptoms of a stroke is crucial in order to help a loved one get the right care. Time is everything when dealing with a stroke patient. As an Emergency Medical Service department we like to educate you on very simple sign(s) that will help you identify what a stroke is. A stroke occurs when blood flow is cut off to an area of the brain, depriving it of oxygen and glucose. Long term effects could result in permanent brain damage or even death. This is why it is important to recognize this illness as soon as possible. One very easy way to identify this illness is through the mnemonic FAST.

 

Facial drooping

Arm weakness

Speech slurring / difficulty

Time

 

In order to recognize facial drooping simply ask your loved one to smile. Look to see if their smile is uneven. If so, proceed to test arm weakness. Ask your loved one to close their eyes and raise both their arm out in front of them and hold them in place. Take note of any weakness such as one arm drifting lower than the other or an inability to lift or hold. The next test is slurred speech: ask your loved one to say “ The sky is blue in Cincinnati.” Note any unusual slurring in their speech. If any of these 3 are present, It is time to call 9-1-1. These very simple step allow you to present the right information to the dispatcher when an emergency call is placed. Up to 80% of strokes can be recognized and prevented. Knowledge is key. Help save a loved one’s life by arming yourself with stroke prevention knowledge and taking the time to learn FAST.

 

In medical emergencies you are faced with the decision of driving or calling for an ambulance. This decision may well be one of life and death.  If you feel that you are too sick, hurt or concerned about your loved one to drive then please call 911 for an ambulance. The ambulance will by far be the safest way to get to the care you or your loved one needs.

But how do you know if it is a true emergency?

The American College of Emergency Physicians recommends you ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does the condition seem life threatening?
  2. Could it get worse if I drive to the hospital?
  3. If you move or try to move the person will it cause more harm?

An ambulance is more than just a fast ride to the hospital EMT’s or Paramedics can provide lifesaving or pain reliving care to you or your loved one. They can inform the hospital enroute to your condition so the hospital can provide the best care upon your arrival.

Non-emergency transports to the hospital may cause unnecessary delays to the system which in turn can affect the ambulances ability to quickly respond to a true emergency.

If you do call an ambulance:

  • Speak slowly, calmly and clearly.
  • Give the patient’s name, the address and phone number. If you’re on the road, note the street or highway you’re on and the direction you’re traveling.
  • Briefly describe what’s going on and when the problem started.
  • Don’t hang up until you’re sure the dispatcher has all the information she needs and that you’ve followed any instructions she’s given you.
  • Organize your medical information. List the names and contact info for your regular doctors, chronic conditions such as diabetes or asthma, surgeries and hospitalizations, and medications. Keep copies at home, in your car and in your wallet.

Remember 911 is for emergencies. So please save 911 for the true emergencies.