image for Stroke Signs - FAST

Only one in four people recognizes all the signs of stroke. To increase knowledge of stroke, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health developed a comprehensive public education campaign on stroke in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Khmer. The Stroke Heroes Act FAST campaign teaches the signs and symptoms of stroke and stresses the need for immediate action.

F-A-S-T stands for:

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 their speech sound strange? Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase.
Time:If you observe any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

How Can I Reduce My Chances of Having a Stroke?

Although the risk of stroke is sometimes caused by factors that are out of your control, such as genetics, there are some things you can do that may help prevent a stroke:

Stroke Statistics

Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, and is a leading cause of long-term disability. In Massachusetts, 2.5% of adults aged 35 and older have had a stroke.

Without prompt treatment, 62% of people who have a stroke will have moderate-to-severe impairment.  Stroke can cause the loss of ability to walk, talk, see, make facial expressions, shower and dress, use the bathroom by oneself, feed oneself, read and write, and drive.

Materials and Resources

For Everyone

A variety of Stroke Heroes Act FAST materials are available for free to Massachusetts residents in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Khmer. These materials include brochures, posters, wallet cards, and an animated video on DVD that uses a catchy tune with memorable lyrics to teach the symptoms to adults and children. These materials are free for Massachusetts residents and may be ordered through the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse. The video may also be viewed by clicking here.

For Health Care Providers

A Stroke Heroes Act FAST education kit is available for healthcare providers, teachers and other community leaders for use in stroke education presentations. The kit is available free of charge through the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse in English, Spanish, and Portuguese and contains materials and electronic resources to use in presenting to groups.

For More Information on Stroke, Visit These Sites


Partners helping to produce and disseminate the FAST message include:

  • American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
  • National Stroke Association (NSA)

This information is provided by the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and Control within the Department of Public Health.