Dawna L. Cyr, Steven B. Johnson
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
First Aid for Electric Shock Victims
- Don’t touch them!
- Unplug the appliance or turn off the power at the control panel.
- If you can’t turn off the power, use a piece of wood, like a broom handle, dry rope or dry clothing, to separate the victim from the power source.
- Do not try to move a victim touching a high voltage wire. Call for emergency help.
- Keep the victim lying down. Unconscious victims should be placed on their side to allow drainage of fluids. Do not move the victim if there is a suspicion of neck or spine injuries unless absolutely necessary.
- If the victim is not breathing, apply mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. If the victim has no pulse, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Then cover the victim with a blanket to maintain body heat, keep the victim’s head low and get medical attention.
Electrical burns vary in severity depending upon: (1) how long the body is in contact with the electric current; (2) the strength of the current; (3) the type of current; and (4) the direction the current takes through the body. Often these burns are deep. There may be more than one area burned. One area may be where the current entered the body and another may be where it left. Electrical burn wounds may look minor on the outside, but could be severe on the inside.
If a person has received an electrical burn, check for shock and follow the steps outlined above. If the person is conscious and there are no signs of shock (such as being cold, clammy, pale and having a rapid pulse), begin treating the burned area. Do not apply grease or oil to the burn. Cover the burn with a dry, sterile dressing, but do not cool the burn. Keep the victim from getting chilled. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
This Maine Farm Safety Fact Sheet is part of an educational fact sheet series produced by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. For more information on farm safety, contact your county Extension office.
Publication #: 2338
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More
Reviewed for NASD: 09/2006