If you see someone being electrocuted, taking the right steps can save their life. Until a doctor can begin treatment, your electric shock first aid is the first step towards the victim’s recovery.
Electric shock or electrocution can result from a damaged electrical system or by misusing an electrical system. The most important steps you can take are to safely disconnect the electrical source, call 911, and ensure that the victim is still breathing.
Hopefully you never need to use these skills, but what you learn about electric shock can save someone’s life. Learn about the most important steps of electric shock first aid, how to prevent electrocutions, and symptoms of electric shock.
What Causes Electric Shock?
Essentially electric shocks occur when a current of electricity flows through the body. The amount of electricity determines the danger.
Common household causes of electric shock:
- Plugging in electronics with wet hands
- Cutting and drilling into drywall and hitting wiring
- Changing fuses
- Putting metal into outlets (mostly children)
Electric Shock First Aid Tips
- Cut the power
First thing first, if the person is still being shocked, you need to cut the power. The longer they are electrocuted, the more drastic the injury.
Plus, cutting the power is the most surefire way to ensure you don’t fall victim to the shock as well.
- Separate victim from electricity, if you can’t kill the power
If you can’t cut the power, separating the person from the electricity source is your only alternative. If you touch them with your bare hands, you risk getting shocked as well.
Doing this safely is a primary concern. If you’re injured, you won’t be of any help. Use a dry, non-conducting material to physically separate them from the hazard. Wood, cardboard, and plastic are household materials that work well to prevent shock.
- Call 911 or another medical professional
Getting medical help for the victim after the incident is a crucial step of electric shock first aid. Electrocution can leave behind serious short-term and long-term side effects.
For extremely serious electric shocks —especially when the victim is unconscious— calling 911 is necessary. It’s no exaggeration to say that calling an ambulance may save the person’s life.
For minor shocks, calling a general care doctor may be sufficient. Even if the victim seems fine, you’ll want a doctor to rule out any serious electrical shock symptoms including cardiac arrest and seizures.
- Check for breathing
Depending on the severity of the shock, the victim may have been knocked unconscious and their breathing may have stopped.
You need to determine if respiration is occurring. Listen for the sounds of breathing. If the person is not breathing, and if you have been trained, begin CPR.
This information is also important to relate to the medical responders so that they can properly care for the patient.
- Cover burns and protect the person from chills
Once you have contacted medical professionals and stabilized the victim, do what you can to keep them comfortable and prevent infection.
If the electrical shock has left burns, wrap the burned patches in sterile gauze. After the bodily shock, the person will be susceptible to chills. To keep them comfortable, cover them in a clean blanket until medical help arrives.
Electricity surging through the human body can cause a variety of injuries.
The immediate ones include:
- Muscle soreness
- The sensation of “pins and needles”
The long term side effects include:
- Vision Problems
Best Electric Shock Prevention Possible
At Mister Sparky, we’re all about keeping you safe. We never want you to have to use these electric shock first aid tips.
To prevent electrical shock, we always recommend installing a ground fault circuit interrupter. This safety countermeasure cuts the power when it detects a current flowing through an uninterrupted path, like a person.
Tip # 1 and Tip # 2 concern cutting the power in the event of an electric shock incident. A ground fault circuit interrupter is a great way to ensure that power cuts itself off automatically.
Another way to minimize your risk of electrical shock is through a Mister Sparky electrical safety inspection. We hunt through your electrical system looking for any potential dangers.