Stroke Act F.A.S.T Campaign


A diagram of the act FAST campaign. There are four blue squares featuring a person with a slanted mouth, an arm raised at its elbow, two speech bubbles and a clock. The imagery reads facial weakness, arm weakness, speech problems and time to call 999. It also reads Act FAST and call 999. 


NHS England in association with the Stroke Association have relaunched the act F.A.S.T campaign. The campaign highlights that a stroke is a medical emergency and urges the public to call 999 immediately if they notice any single one of the F.A.S.T signs in themselves or others. Stroke strikes every five minutes in the UK. It can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time. It's vital to know how to spot the signs of a stroke in yourself or someone else.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, killing brain cells. Damage to the brain affects how the body works and changes and affects how the individual thinks and feels. The severity of the effects depends on where the blockage takes place in the brain and how big the area of damage is. The three main types of stroke include:

Ischaemic Stroke – this is the most common type of stroke. It is caused by a blockage cutting off blood supply to the brain.

Haemorrhagic Stroke – caused by bleeding in or around the brain.

Transient Ischaemic Stroke (TIA) – known as a mini-stroke, this is the same as a stroke but symptoms only last for a short amount of time. The blockage only stops the blood from getting to your brain temporarily.

All strokes are different, some can be minor and individuals can recover from the effects very well. Others are left with more serious problems, sometimes resulting in a loss of independence, and needing care. 

Unfortunately, some strokes can be very serious and can result in a coma or sudden death, so it is very important to be able to recognise the symptoms and get medical help as soon as possible.


How to spot a Stroke

The F.A.S.T acronym provides a memorable way of identifying the most common signs of a stroke. Please click here to watch the F.A.S.T NHS video with BSL.

Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile if you ask them to?

Arms – Can they raise both arms and keep them there?

Speech – is their speech slurred?

Time – Time to call 999 – remember, the quicker medical help is received the better chances are of recovery. 

A collage of a person's face

Description automatically generated with medium confidence
A government campaign image with imagery of a woman who's face has fallen on one side. The bottom picture is of a hand dialling 999 on a mobile. The image reads the F.A.S.T acronym, with the questions that follow to identify a stroke. It also reads When Stroke Strikes, Act F.A.S.T.


If you see someone with any of the signs or symptoms of a stroke, remember to Act F.A.S.T. Call 999.

BSL users can make a BSL video call to 999 at

Text relay users can call 18000

Text 999 by registering your phone in advance at


We hope that you have found this article informative and helpful. If you are looking for more information on strokes, or support on living with the effects of a stroke, please take a look at the links below.


Support us by donating

Need to speak to us?
back to top