The human body conducts electricity very well. That means, electricity passes very easily throughout the body. Direct contact with electrical current can be deadly. While some electrical burns look minor, there still may be serious internal damage, especially to the heart, muscles, or brain.
Electric current can cause injury in three ways:
- Cardiac arrest due to the electrical effect on the heart
- Muscle, nerve, and tissue destruction from a current passing through the body
- Thermal burns from contact with the electrical source
Before approaching a victim of electric shock, make sure the electricity is turned off. If there are any electrical lines on or near the victim, ASSUME THEY ARE LIVE. If possible, move the victim away from any electrical lines or devices.
Once the person is away from the source of electricity, check the person’s airway, breathing, and pulse. If either has stopped or seems dangerously slow or shallow, start first aid.
If the person has a burn, remove any clothing that comes off easily, and rinse the burned area in cool running water until the pain subsides. Give first aid for burns.
If the person is faint, pale, or shows other signs of shock, lay him or her down, with the head slightly lower than the trunk of the body and the legs elevated, and cover him or her with a warm blanket or a coat.
We also offer a free certificate of completion. To receive the certificate you must pass a 50-question test with a score of 70 or higher. Check our Basic First Aid Certificate of Completion page for more information.