'FAIR City' actor and stroke survivor Jim Bartley has welcomed emergency ambulances doubling up as mobile billboards to get the message out about stroke deaths in Ireland.
This week the Irish Heart Foundation's 'FAST' message will begin appearing on the side of ambulances for the first time.
Bartley (67), who survived a stroke in June 2011, said he hoped the mobile billboards would help others do the same.
Recalling his own symptoms, which started as a numbness in his arm, he stressed the FAST signs which are:
• Face – has the face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
• Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there? l Speech – is their speech slurred?
• Time – time to call 999/112 if you see any one of these signs.
"The important thing is that people should immediately dial 999 and get an ambulances for people having a stroke, rather than trying to make their own way to hospital," said Mr Bartley, who waited 24 hours before seeking medical attention for his symptoms, but made a full recovery in Tallaght Hospital.
Also at the launch of the FAST campaign was two-year-old Karl Macken from Kildare and his mother Aisling.
Aisling suffered a stroke a few weeks after giving birth to Karl, but survived thanks to the quick response of her family.