What to do when someone suffers electrical shock

Electrical shock can lead to serious consequences, even death. Follow these tips to help the victim and keep yourself safe.

What to do when someone suffers electrical shock

Electrical shock safety

If you find someone who may have experienced electrical shock, do the following:

  • The most important thing is not to endanger yourself. Always make the situation safe first before taking action. If you're ever in doubt, call for help and wait.
  • If someone has been electrocuted in the home, don't touch them. Unplug the appliance first, either at the socket or at the main power box.
  • Don't touch the switch on the device itself. It may be faulty.
  • If this isn't possible, stand on some insulating material, such as a pile of newspapers or a rubber mat. Use something non-conductive, such as a wooden broom, to separate the casualty from the electrical source.
  • Assess the casualty's condition. They may have suffered serious burns, internal injuries, fractures, shock, unconsciousness or cardiac arrest.
  • Check their pulse and breathing and give CPR if needed.
  • Call local emergency services and the local electricity supply authority. You should find the number on a nearby cable support or pylon.
  • If the victim is conscious, call out reassurance. Don't attempt first aid until the scene is declared safe.

Shock from a power line

High-voltage electric shock, from power lines for example, can kill. Don't go within 18 metres (60 feet) of someone who's been hit by such a shock and keep others away, too. The current can travel a considerable distance.

You should always take extra care when dealing with electricity. Should you find someone who's unconscious, look for clues as to what has happened. Keep yourself safe, call for medical assistance and follow the above advice. It could save your life, or the life of someone you know.

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