Would you know what to do if first on the scene of a car crash?

Do you know what to do if you're the first on the scene of a car crash?

Hilary Barry went to St John Ambulance for a refresher course to share in her weekly Hilary Helps segment on TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

She picked up some solid advice from paramedic Lisa in an accident scenario set up at St John headquarters, where an injured driver was sitting in a car.

First, find out where you are.

"Sometimes you can be on those big highways and you don't really know what town you've come out of, what town you're going into. So having a little bit of an awareness about where you are, so when you call 111 it's easy for us to know where we're going," Lisa said.

Don't get yourself run over.

"So if you're on one of those blind corners and you've come across an accident first, then the next car coming in is also going to come around that same blind corner. So being careful about where you are and making sure that you're not going to be injured as well," the paramedic advised. 

Keep calm and call 111.

The advice is to call 111 even before checking the casualty, as St John needs to know where you are.

The St John call taker will ask exactly what happened, how many people are hurt, how old they are and if they are awake and breathing.

"And they're going to ask you more questions about the scene and about the patients. At this point they're going to ask you to assess his airway, his breathing and his circulation. Has he got a pulse?" the paramedic said.

If the patient is breathing, keep them still and don't get them out of the car.

"Gently pop his head back so his airway's nice and open. Now see if he's talking, and reassure him," Lisa told Hilary as her refresher course continued.

If the patient doesn't have a pulse, pull them from the car and do CPR.

"Like anyone that's unconscious and unresponsive, then CPR is exactly what we want," Lisa said.

"Thirty to two, no matter who."  Or two breaths to 30 compressions. 

Seven Sharp reported one of the biggest mistakes people first on the scene make is pulling patients from vehicles when they don't need to, particularly when they think the car is on fire when that's actually gas from the exploding airbag or steam from the radiator. 

Pulling people from cars can worsen their injuries, and the advice is to look for car fire flames first.

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Hilary Barry wasn’t allowed to drive, but she did get some solid advice on what to do if you’re first on the scene of a car crash. Source: Seven Sharp