Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, Chatham-Kent EMS and Heart & Stroke Team Up to Help Community Recognize Signs of Stroke

Chatham-Kent: June 1, 2018 - June is Stroke Month and this year Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA), Chatham-Kent Emergency Medical Services (CKEMS) and Heart & Stroke are teaming up to ensure that more lives are saved from the effects of stroke.

CKHA and CKEMS will be helping to raise awareness of the signs of a stroke and the importance of acting quickly by placing decals with the acronym 'FAST' in CKHA's patient waiting rooms and on CKEMS ambulances. The FAST decal educates the community of the signs of stroke and encourages individuals to seek emergency care right away if they encounter stroke symptoms. 

The FASTacronym stands for: 

  • Face: is it drooping?
  • Arms: can you raise both?
  • Speech: is it slurred or jumbled?
  • Time: to call 9-1-1 right away.


Stroke is a medical emergency. The ability to recognize the FAST signs of stroke and act fast by calling 9-1-1 can mean the difference between life and death, or the difference between a full recovery and lasting disability. 

"Every time our ambulances hit the pavement, the FAST decals will give a crucial reminder to our community of the warning signs of stroke," said Donald MacLellan, General Manager, CKEMS. "We are proud to be among the first communities in Ontario to roll-out this important initiative that will help save and improve lives."

"Recognizing the symptoms and warning signs of a stroke is key to saving lives and ensuring the best possible recovery for our patients," says Lori Marshall, President & CEO, CKHA "Initiatives such as placing FAST signs throughout the hospital are important for public education and align with CKHA's vision: Together, growing a healthier community."

Stroke is the number three killer of Canadians, and is the leading cause of disability in Canada. There are an estimated 62,000 strokes in Canada each year; that is equal to one stroke every nine minutes. More than 80 per cent of individuals who have a stroke and make it to the hospital will survive, making public education about the signs of stroke imperative. 

"CKHA has a higher rate of hospitalized stroke events than the provincial average and the highest rate in the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network," says Linda Butler, Coordinator, District Stroke Center and Cardiac Clinics Chatham-Kent, CKHA. "Our goal is to help our community recognize the FAST signs of stroke, no matter how minor. There have been many exciting advances in stroke treatment, but calling 9-1-1 remains the first step." 

Heart & Stroke Director of Ontario Mission, Karen Trainoff, is delighted to expand the reach of the FAST campaign through this partnership with CKHA and CKEMS. "We know that public awareness increases in communities that have FAST decals on their vehicles. We are pleased to know that people will be reminded of the FAST signs of stroke every time they see a Chatham-Kent ambulance and are at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance," said Ms. Trainoff. "Our objective is to ensure that all Canadians, no matter where they live or how old they are, know and remember the FAST signs of stroke."

Stroke Facts:

  • A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function. 
  • 62,000 strokes occur in Canada each year - that is one stroke every nine minutes.
  • 83 per cent of those who have a stroke and make it to hospital will survive.
  • Brain cells die at a rate of 1.9 million per minute during a stroke.
  • Each year, more than 13,000 Canadians die from stroke.                            
  • Hundreds of thousands of Canadians are living with the effects of stroke.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of acquired adult disability.
  • Stroke can happen at any age. Stroke among people under 65 is increasing and stroke risk factors are increasing for young adults.
  • Half of Canadians report having a close friend or family member who survived a stroke.

For more information about the signs of stroke visit: To learn more about the Chatham-Kent District Stroke Centre visit: 

About Chatham-Kent Health Alliance: Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) is a 200+ bed community hospital, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and technologies.  Formed in 1998, CKHA is committed to core service excellence, top-flight operational performance and to becoming a facility of choice in Southwestern Ontario.  With sites in Chatham and Wallaceburg, CKHA is comprised of approximately 1,360 compassionate staff, 178 physicians and 300 volunteers who serve the medical needs of 102,000 residents in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.  CKHA is designated a schedule one facility under the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and cares for tens of thousands of inpatients, outpatients and emergency patients annually. For more information, click here to read CKHA's Fast Facts.

About Chatham-Kent EMS: Services include 24-hour pre-hospital emergency and non-emergency care and transportation to and between hospitals for individuals with injuries or illness. Chatham-Kent EMS has been contracted to Medavie EMS Ontario. Based in Chatham, this company continues to provide the exceptional emergency medical services that has been a tradition in the community. Our dedicated team of highly qualified paramedics work with cutting edge equipment and technology to give Chatham-Kent the best service available.

About Heart and Stroke Foundation: Life. We don't want you to miss it. That's why Heart & Stroke leads the fight against heart disease and stroke. We must generate the next medical breakthroughs, so Canadians don't miss out on precious moments. Together, we are working to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through research, health promotion and public policy.

Media Contacts:

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance

Katherine Stinson, Communications Specialist 

519.352.6400 ext. 5326

kstinson [at] ckha [dot] on [dot] ca 


Chatham-Kent EMS

Donald MacLellan, General Manager 

519.380.9334 ext. 11

Donald [dot] Maclellan [at] memsochathamkent [dot] com

Heart & Stroke

Alex Maheux, Manager of Communications, Ontario

647.943.3178 mobile: 416.729.5913
Alexandra [dot] maheux [at] heartandstroke [dot] ca (Alexandra [dot] maheux [at] heartandstroke [dot] ca)



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