Bulletin #2338, Maine Farm Safety Program: First Aid for Electrical Accidents
By Dawna L. Cyr, Farm Safety Project Assistant, and Steven B. Johnson, Ph.D., Extension Crops Specialist
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.
- Disconnect the appliances or turn off the power if the person is undergoing electric shock.
- Cover associated electric shock burns with a dry sterile dressing only.
- Never touch a person undergoing electric shock or you too could become a victim.
First Aid for Electrical Burn Victims
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 University of Maine Cooperative Extension. For more information on farm safety, contact your UMaine Extension County Office.
Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.
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