If you or someone else receives an electrical shock from any source, proper emergency care is important. Many electrical shock injuries require immediate medical attention, and proper first aid prior to professional care can be critical.
Many electrical shock injuries are minor and don't require much care beyond first aid, but electrical shocks can result in burns, seizures, or even death if someone receives a high-voltage shock. Call 911 before administering first aid if someone has been injured by a high-voltage shock.
First Aid Steps
Do not touch a person who is receiving an electrical shock or still in contact with the source of the shock — the current could pass to you. Call emergency services as soon as you can. Once help is on the way, use a non-conductive object, such as something made of wood or plastic, to push the source of the electric shock away from the person.
Once the victim is separated from the electrical source, check their pulse and breathing. Begin CPR if the person is unresponsive or has weak or shallow breathing.
Try not to move a person who has suffered an electrical shock. If you must move the person to a safe and adequate position to administer first aid, lay the person on their back with their legs slightly elevated to help prevent the victim from going into shock.
Electrical shock injuries can cause external burns. Try not to touch any burned areas on the victim's body. If you must cover the burns, use sterile gauze. Regular adhesive bandages and cotton balls or pads are likely to stick to the burn.
People who have been injured by an electric shock may experience seizures or lose consciousness. In severe cases, the person might go into respiratory arrest or suffer a heart attack as a result of the shock. Always call for emergency medical services before performing CPR on someone.
Lay the person on their back and tilt their head back slightly to open their airway. If the person isn't breathing and you need to start CPR, begin by clasping your hands together with one on top of the other. Push down in the middle of the person's chest about two inches down.
Follow the chest compressions with two rescue breaths by pinching the person's nose closed and forming a seal over their mouth with yours to breathe two full breaths into their lungs.
Deliver 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths. Continue the cycle of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until emergency services arrive.
Take a first aid and CPR class to be better prepared in case you ever have to help an injured person and know where to go for electrical shock care.