Pin Me

How to Deal with a Victim of Electric Shock

written by: sammy • edited by: RC Davison • updated: 8/31/2009

Electric shock from a high-voltage source can be fatal. While the victim might still be in after-shock trauma, his life depends on people around him. Many of us might not know how to react under such circumstances. Here are some first aid tips and a brief guide on what you can do for the victim.

  • slide 1 of 5

    What Electric Shock Might Lead To

    Something in my instinct tells me to stay away from exposed and bare electrical wires or appliances. These can be very dangerous. A minor electric shock might lead to temporary but grave injuries like disrupted vision or speech, unstable mind or even cramps in the muscle. Whereas, touching source of high voltage, including 120/240 VAC from a wall outlet might cause fatal consequences like third-degree burns, severe wounds, bone fractures, heart attacks, rupturing of brain cells leading to mental disorders and even death.

  • slide 2 of 5

    Symptoms and Accessing the Situation

    The seriousness of the injury can be difficult to judge from the physical state of the victim because there might not be any external wound present. On the other hand, he may have suffered from major internal injuries of which evidence may be visible. This can possibly be a cardiac arrest or a critical injury to the backbone that can be fatal if not dealt with on time. It is recommended that you closely watch the victim and see if he is breathing properly. Also be sure he is not complaining about any chest pain. Electric shock can also cause burns and wounds; these are prominent at the point of contact with electricity. If the victim is pointing out severe pain in a specific body part, he might have also suffered from a bone fracture due to the muscles contracting in response to the current.

    These unsought circumstances can be avoided by following proper safety guidelines while dealing with electrical appliances. These guidelines have been listed in this article on ways to avoid electric shock

    The victim of an electric shock is sometimes quite helpless and his life depends totally on people around him. If you witness something like this, don’t panic and act according to the given guidelines. You can save a life by concentrating on a few important things.

  • slide 3 of 5

    Taking Care of Your Safety First

    You can only help the victim if you are safe yourself. First of all it is very important to turn off the main source of electricity which has injured the victim. Don't touch the victim or go near him until you pull the fuse out or turn off the circuit breaker on the main source of electricity. While doing this, be very certain that you are properly insulated and exercise extreme caution when working with and near open electrical sources - like wearing rubber shoes which act as insulators and your hands are properly dried because water is a very good conductor of electricity.

  • slide 4 of 5

    What You Can Do

    Next, call 911 to request an ambulance.

    If you've disconnected the power source it is now safe to touch the victim and you might think of moving him to a safer place but it’s not recommended. Don’t move the patient; instead try removing the source of the electricity - the wires or apparatus with the help of a wooden stick or anything that is a non-conductor of electricity. If the patient is unconscious and not breathing you need to apply mouth to mouth resuscitation and then if there is no pulse you should start CPR.

    Just remember that giving CPR is something which you can learn by thorough study and possibly by attending a First Aid course. Since you are dealing with a living human being here, you better know what you are doing. You can learn more about CPR by clicking on this CPR instructions by American Institute of Preventive Medicine.

  • slide 5 of 5

    In Case of Burns

    If the victim has received any major burns you can start by applying cold water (or even tap water) on affected areas. Don't apply ice or any kind of cream or lotion to the affected area and never attempt to remove the burnt tissue. Cover the affected parts with a thin cloth but be sure it is clean and properly sterilized. For any "major burns" you should be seeking professional help immediately.