Thinking that a certain electrical task may be all too simple to fix on their own, some people don’t bother to call in an actual professional to get a job done. Instead, they often dabble in fixing electric devices or altering a house’s wiring because they figure that they can do it.
Unfortunately, careless mistakes caused by sticking metal objects in toasters or outlets, for example, or touching exposed wires in faulty light fixtures or electric short circuits, often result in serious electric shocks — and they can be detrimental to a person’s health.
Regardless of the cause, you should know what to do when someone receives an electrical shock. The first thing you should do in the case of serious electrical shock is call 911 or another emergency number for assistance immediately. Do this if you notice that the person is not breathing, is experiencing heart problems, having seizures, or appears unconscious or unable to move.
Make certain the person is not touching any live electrical source and that you won’t be in any danger or touching live wires if you go near him/her. Electrical currents can pass through metal objects as well as human tissue, so be cautious when handling people or objects when they’ve been in contact with an electrical source.
Once you are certain there’s no electrical current touching the person you are treating, turn off the electrical source. If it’s an appliance, try unplugging it while wearing rubber or plastic gloves. For other sources, move the electrical source away with a cardboard, plastic, or wood object. Also, if you know where the fuse box is, you can try shutting off the electrical power at the source.
Look at the person who’s been shocked. If they aren’t breathing, begin administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or call for help from a neighbor or friend who knows how to perform this procedure, if possible. Once you have initiated breathing, place pillows under the person’s lower back and legs to elevate him/her slightly and to prevent shock.
Next, look for areas of external burning, such as the hands. Sterile gauze bandages or even clean cloth can protect the exposed tissue until help arrives. Remember that blankets and towels could stick to wounds, so if that’s all you have available, then just leave the tissue uncovered.
Hopefully you’ll never have to deal with a shock this serious, but remember that even minor shocks can cause internal damage, so if you or someone you know has experienced a shock with lingering pain or muscle contractions, then they should seek medical attention immediately. Also, remember to call in a pro where electricity is involved — you could save yourself from experiencing more trouble than you bargained for.