The first thing that you must do when administering first aid for electric shock is to make sure that all the sources of electricity are switched off lest you also become a victim in need of assistance. Turn off the power at the main supply and then get rid of any electric compounds that may be in contact with the patient. Note that if the source of power is overhead cables, it may be best to stay away as this voltage is well capable of arcing up to 20 meters. Stay away until it is certified that power has been switched off. If you are not sure contact emergency response personal and keep your distance. The material posted on this page is for learning purposes only. To learn to manage burn injuries and other injuries related to electric shock enrol in a first aid course with a training provider near you.
The All Important First Step – Don’t Become a Victim
Before taking any steps to administer first aid for electric shock, ensure that you are insulated from the ground. To do this, you could use old newspapers, books or rubber mats. Once you have done this take an object that does not conduct electricity such as a wooden pole or the long handle of a broom and push the source of electricity away from the casualty. Avoid using metal rods as power within the objects at hand could easily be directed to you. When this is completed, the next step is to check whether the casualty is responsive or not.
Check The Patient
This is an important facet of first aid for electric shock as it dramatically increases their chances of survival. Check to see whether the casualty is conscious. Call them by name if you are acquainted, and request them to open their eyes. If they do not budge, gently pinch their ears and talk to them. Alternatively, tap their shoulders and ask them to talk back. Call for help even as you do this. Remember that you are required not to move the patient unless their immediate surrounding poses danger to them. The reason for this is that it may often aggravate their health condition.
Unconscious? – What To Do Next
If the casualty is not conscious following electric shock, open the airways and peek into their mouth to see to it that the air passage way is not obstructed in anyway. To open the airways, raise the chin and bend the head backwards so as to release the tongue from the back of the throat and permit proper breathing. If you think it is likely that the casualty has suffered neck or spinal injuries, check to see that the belly rises and falls in line with normal breathing patterns.
If the electric shock victim is breathing normally but remains unconscious, place them in the recovery position. You can treat any of the burns from the electric shock using knowledge on 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns. Remember that the areas with the worst visible burns will be the area’s the electricity entered and left the body. Below are some of the things that you must not do:
- Avoid bursting any blisters on the casualty’s body.
- Do not apply any dressings at all or try to get rid of skin that has been damaged.
- Resist the urge to use an ice pack on the affected region especially because this could lead up to secondary injuries.
- As with several other injuries of this nature, electric shocks cause the worn clothes to get burned. Do not try to remove clothing which has been damaged to prevent damage.