FIRST AID for Electrical Burns
Electrical burns do not always show on the skin at all, and when they do they often appear minor. However, damage can extend deep into the tissues and organs beneath your skin. If a strong electrical current has passed through your body, internal damage can result including heart rhythm disturbance or cardiac arrest. Sometimes the impact of an electrical jolt can throw you or cause you to fall and sustain fractures or other related injuries.
Be careful going near or touching someone who has been electrically shocked!
They may still be in contact with or surrounded by the source of the electrical current. If you touch or go near them without checking for this first, the electrical current could pass through you, too.
Dial 911 if the victim is in pain, confused, not breathing or unconscious.
While waiting for medical help, you can do the following to help:
- If possible, turn off the source of electricity. If this cannot be done, use a nonconducting object made of wood, cardboard or plastic to move the source well away from both you and the injured person.
- If the victim can be safely approached and they are not breathing, coughing or moving, start CPR immediately.
- Deter the victim from going into shock. Stretch the person out with their head slightly lower than their trunk. Elevate their legs.
- If the victim is breathing but visibly burned, cover the affected area with sterile gauze or other clean cloth. Since loose fibers can stick to burned skin, do not use a towel or blanket.