As part of the Act FAST campaign - which aims to raise public alertness of stroke symptoms - an emergency ambulance in Galway will be doubling up as a mobile billboard. In addition to the regular functions of the vehicle, selected ambulances in Galway, Donegal, Roscommon, and Limerick will be used to display and promote the Irish Heart Foundation’s Act FAST campaign on a billboard attached to it.
This new initiative marks the first advertisement campaign to incorporate the use of emergency vehicles in order to curb the number of stroke related fatalities in the Galway and western regions.
The inspiration for it stems from the collaborative association between the Irish Heart Foundation and the National Ambulance Service in an ongoing bid to combat heart disease and stroke.
The Act FAST campaign has already resulted in an increase of more than 400 per cent of stroke patients receiving essential life saving clot-busting treatments since its launch two years ago. This new project combining ambulances with billboards will re-ignite the campaign and will ensure that more stroke patients receive thrombolysis procedures. According to the HSE, it is estimated that the improved thrombolysis rate in Ireland has significantly improved the outcome for some 200 patients a year and has reduced the numbers requiring institutional care by 140 a year.
Gerry Clarke, Galway ambulance service, HSE West, commented; “A significant number of Ambulance Service members have personal experience within their wider families of the potentially devastating effects of a stroke. This personal insight has generated a high degree of intrinsic motivation among our managers, control and operational staff to play our part, in collaboration with healthcare colleagues, the National Stroke Programme and the wider public, to deliver better outcomes for victims of stroke. To date, our control staff, paramedics, and advanced paramedics have demonstrated consistently high standards of provisional diagnosis of stroke using FAST.”
The pillar signs of stroke - FAST- are: Face - has the face fallen to one side? Can they smile?; Arms - can they raise both arms and hold them there?; Speech - is their speech slurred?; Time - call 999/112 if you identify any of these signs.