Summit County first responders urge residents to recognize signs of stroke

Summit County’s EMS team — which received the American Heart Association’s silver award in its Operation: Lifeline program for excellent response to heart attacks — is pictured here. EMS officials are urging the public to learn the signs of a stroke and to call 9-1-1 immediately if a stroke is suspected.
Summit Fire & EMS/Courtesy photo

All Summit County’s fire and EMS departments are urging residents to recognize the signs of a stroke as part of a national awareness campaign.

Anyone who sees these signs are asked to immediately call 911 to get help on the way as soon as possible.

Stroke symptoms include loss of balance, change or loss of vision, drooping on a side of the face, weakness in one arm and sudden slurred speech or difficulty in communicating.

A stroke occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is blocked or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die. Prompt medical treatment, often with drugs that break up blood clots, can avoid significant damage.

Patients who reach the emergency room within three hours of their first symptoms are at better odds to recover, according to Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District’s EMS division chief Jim Levi. The longer the delay, the greater risk of permanent brain damage, disability or death.

The participants in Summit County’s EMS system — including 911 dispatchers, emergency responders and emergency room staff at the St. Anthony’s Summit Medical Center — train in quick, efficient, professional life-saving emergency response techniques, which include dealing with suspected strokes.

The team was recognized with the Mission: Lifeline Silver Achievement Award from the American Heart Association for the treatment of patients who suffer suspected heart attacks and strokes. The achievement recognizes the highest level of proficiency.

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