Electrical Emergencies

Electrical Shocks
Everyone experiences minor electrical shocks from time to time. In some cases, however, even small amounts of electricity can be life-threatening because they can produce unconsciousness, cardiac arrest, and cessation of breathing. Electrical shocks also can produce serious, deep burns and tissue injury, although often even a serious electrical burn appears as only a minor mark on the skin. If you find a person whom you think has been electrocuted, look first - do not touch. He or she may still be in contact with the electrical source, and touching him or her may only pass the current through you.

If possible, turn off the source of electricity. If this is not possible, move the source away from you and the affected person using a non-conducting object made of cardboard, plastic, or wood. Once the person is free of the source of electricity, check the person's breathing and pulse. If either has stopped or seems dangerously slow or shallow, initiate resuscitation immediately (see Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). If the person is faint or pale or shows other signs of shock (see Recognizing and Treating Shock), lay the person down with the head slightly lower than the trunk of his or her body and the legs elevated. Treat any major burns (see Treating Major Burns) and wait for emergency medical assistance to arrive.