The danger from an electrical shock depends on a few things: current, the voltage, how the current traveled through the body, the person’s overall health and how quickly the victim receives treatment.
Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately if the victim displays any of these following signs or symptoms:
- Cardiac arrest
- Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
- Respiratory failure
- Muscle pain and contractions
- Numbness and tingling
While awaiting medical attention, follow these steps for electric shock first aid:
- Look first. Don’t touch. The person may still be touching the electrical source. Making contact with the person may pass the current through you.
- Turn off the source of electricity, if possible. If not, move the source away from you and the person, using a dry, nonconducting object made of cardboard, plastic or wood. These materials do not conduct electricity and the current won’t be able to pass through it to your body.
- Check for signs of circulation (breathing, coughing or movement). If absent, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
- Prevent shock. Lay the person down and, if possible, position the head slightly lower than the trunk with the legs elevated.
After coming into contact with electricity, the victim should see a doctor to check for internal injuries, even if there aren’t obvious signs or symptoms.
- Do not touch the person with your bare hands if he or she is still in contact with the electrical current.
- Do not get near high-voltage wires until the power is shut off. Stay at least 20 feet away — even farther if wires are jumping and sparking.
- Do not attempt to move a person with an electrical injury unless the person is in immediate danger.
It’s important to know these safety procedures in case someone encounters a downed power line or is attempting a rewiring job. We thoroughly discourage doing your own home wiring. Please call us for all your residential electrical needs because we only staff licensed and trained electricians!