image for FAST: Face, Arm, Speech, and Time

Stroke is the #3 cause of death in Massachusetts and a leading cause of disability in adults. But it doesn’t have to be this way. When you learn the signs of when someone is having a stroke, you can act quickly to call 9-1-1 and reduce or prevent permanent damage from a stroke.

To help people remember the signs, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) created the Stroke Heroes Act FAST campaign. FAST helps people recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke, and stresses the need to call 9-1-1 at any sign of stroke.

FAST stands for Face, Arm, Speech, and Time:

  • Face: Does the face look uneven? Ask the person to smile
  • Arm: Does one arm drift down? Ask the person to raise both arms
  • Speech: Does the speech sound strange? Ask the person to repeat a phrase
  • Time: If you observe these symptoms, call 9-1-1

Massachusetts residents and health care providers can order the entire range of FAST campaign materials, including a video, brochure, poster, and wallet cards — all at no cost — at the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse. Materials are also available in Spanish, Portuguese, and Khmer.


This information is provided by the Department of Public Health.