Stroke – First Aid

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a medical emergency where the blood supply to the brain is disrupted. Most strokes are caused by a clot in a blood vessel which blocks the flow of blood to the brain. However, some strokes occur due to a ruptured blood vessel causing bleeding into the brain. Strokes are the third most common cause of death in the UK – so if you suspect a stroke – get medical assistance immediately.

How to recognise a stroke

You need to act ‘FAST’!

  • F – Facial weakness – Can the person smile? If they’ve had a stroke one side of their face may droop.
  • A – Arm weakness – Can the person raise both arms? If they’ve had a stroke they may only be able to raise one of their arms.
  • S – Speech problems – Ask the person a question. If they’ve had a stroke they may have problems speaking clearly.
  • T – Time – It’s time to call 999 or 112 and ask for an ambulance. Tell ambulance control you’ve used the FAST guide and you suspect a stroke.

Whilst waiting for emergency help to arrive, keep the casualty comfortable and supported and reassure them that help is on its way.

What’s a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)?

A Transient Ischaemic Attack is also sometimes known as a ‘mini-stroke’. A TIA is similar to a full stroke but the symptoms may only last a few minutes. If you suspect a TIA, it’s important to seek medical advice immediately.

Learn more about stroke here:


This isn’t a substitute for first aid training. If you’d like to be able to deal with a variety of first aid issues with confidence, book a first aid course in Newcastle, the North East or wherever you need us! Get in touch for more information.