Objectives The present study aimed to evaluate the frequency of warning signs in younger patients with stroke with a special regard to the ‘FAST’ scheme, a public stroke recognition instrument (face, arm, speech, timely). Setting Primary stroke care in participating centres of a multinational European prospective cross-sectional study (Stroke in Young Fabry Patients; sifap1). Forty-seven centres from 15 European countries participate in sifap1. Participants 5023 acute patients with stroke (aged 18–55 years) patients (96.5% Caucasians) were enrolled in the study between April 2007 and January 2010. Primary and secondary outcome measures sifap1 was originally designed to investigate the relation of juvenile stroke and Fabry disease. A secondary aim of sifap1 was to investigate stroke patterns in this specific group of patients. The present investigation is a secondary analysis addressing stroke presenting symptoms with a special regard to signs included in the FAST scheme. Results 4535 patients with transient ischaemic attack (TIA; n=1071), ischaemic stroke (n=3396) or other (n=68) were considered in the presented analysis. FAST symptoms could be traced in 76.5% of all cases. 35% of those with at least one FAST symptom had all three symptoms. At least one FAST symptom could be recognised in 69.1% of 18–24 years-old patients, in 74% of those aged 25–34 years, in 75.4% of those aged 35–44 years, and 77.8% in 45–55 years-old patients. With increasing stroke severity signs included in the FAST scheme were more prevalent (National Institute of Health Stroke Scale, NIHSS<5: 69%, NIHSS 6–15: 98.9%, NIHSS>15: 100%). Clustering clinical signs according to FAST lower percentages of strokes in the posterior circulation (65.2%) and in patients with TIA (62.3%) were identified. Conclusions FAST may be applied as a useful and rapid tool to identify stroke symptoms in young individuals aged 18–55 years. Especially in patients eligible for thrombolysis FAST might address the majority of individuals.