Medical Drill Teaches the Public to Recognize the Signs of a Stroke

First responders are highlighting the importance of understanding the signs and symptoms of a stroke before the ambulance arrives

CASSELTON, N.D. — The sirens of an ambulance usually mean someone needs help.

But they also imply help is on the way.

“Getting the public aware of stroke signs and symptoms and to call 911 and the importance of having the paramedics prior to going to the hospital is very important,” said Megan Carlblom, the stroke program manager at Essentia Health in Fargo.

First responders are highlighting the importance of understanding the signs and symptoms of a stroke before the ambulance arrives.

“What we are trying to promote today is early recognition,” said Tim Schmeets, the Casselton ambulance manager.

At Casselton’s Summerfest, health officials from Essentia Health, Casselton EMS and the American Heart Association teamed for a mock stroke scenario.

They want people to know what signs to look for.

“Weakness on one side of the body, some facial droop on one corner of the mouth. If you have a patient smile and only one side smiles the other stays down, that is a definite sign of a stroke,” said Schmeets.

Early recognition is crucial and they are trying to help people understand how to spot a stroke fast.

And what does F.A.S.T. stand for?

“F stands for facial drooping, A stands for arm weakness, S stands for speech difficulty, and T is time to call 911,” said Carlblom.

They say the sooner the paramedics arrive on scene, the better outcome the patient will have.

As time decreases, treatment options also decrease.

“If one out of three of those is positive there’s a 72 percent chance that person is experiencing some type of stroke like event,” explained Carlblom.

Tim Schmeets says gender and race are some of the uncontrollable factors.

But there are ways you can decrease your chances.

“Get your blood pressure under control. Smoking, quit smoking,” said Schmeets.

The three organizations are hoping to educate more people on how to protect and help your loved ones in case of an emergency.

If you are interested in learning more about stroke prevention, visit Essentia Health, American Heart Association, and the Casselton EMS.

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