A Somers Point barbershop has been helping AtlantiCare create a buzz about dialing 911 for stroke symptoms.

“We take care of what is on the outside of our client’s heads, so we’re happy to talk about protecting the brain inside people’s heads,” said Mike Costello, barber and owner of Gas Up Barbershop and Shave Co.

Rob Szapor, R.N., director of AtlantiCare’s Neurosciences Institute, asked Costello and his staff to share the acronym BE FAST with clients.

“The acronym highlights the importance of paying attention to symptoms that impact balance, eyes, face, and speech,” he explained. “The ‘T’ is a reminder that timely treatment is key to saving a person’s brain. To get the most appropriate, timely treatment for stroke victims, dialing 911 immediately is critical.”

According to a guide provided by AtlantiCare on its website, BE FAST stands for:

Balance: Does the person have a sudden loss of balance?

 Eyes: Has the person suddenly lost vision in one or both eyes?

 Face: Does the person's face look uneven when they're asked to smile?

 Arms: Does the person have weakness in one or both arms?

 Speech: Is the person's speech slurred? Do they have trouble speaking or seem confused?

 Time: Call 911 now if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.

Costello wrote the acronym on all the mirrors in his shop to heighten awareness. He and his team are giving every customer an AtlantiCare magnet that highlights stroke symptoms and the importance of dialing dial 911. He says he witnessed someone having a stroke in the community shortly before Szapor asked him to share the stroke message.

“Fortunately, someone else knew the symptoms and dialed 911,” he said.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month.

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