You are here: Home > Complete Preparedness Library > First Aid And Medical Basics > Electrical Shock First Aid Instructions

Electrical Shock First Aid InstructionsBurn Unit

Electrical shocks can be deceptive, since the damage is mostly on the inside. Furthermore, the victim may deny that he or she needs medical attention—meanwhile, they may be experiencing internal burning or other ongoing damage. If you happen upon someone who may be experiencing an electrical shock, or if you witness someone receiving an electrical shock, follow the steps below:

Electrical Shock First Aid InstructionsFirst Aid Kit Items You’ll Need for Electrical Shock:

  • CPR Mask

Remove the Source of the Electricity

Before you attempt to come to the aid of the victim, look around the area carefully. Make sure that they are not still in contact with the source of the electrical shock. If they are, the current could pass through their body and shock you as well. Watch for puddles of water, wires, conductive materials (such as tools, metal furniture and fences).

If possible, turn off the source of the electricity by throwing a breaker or disconnecting a line. If this isn’t possible, try to move the source of the electricity away from the person using a nonconducting object, such as an item made out of wood, plastic or cardboard.

Check for signs of circulation, such as coughing, breathing or movement. If the victim is not breathing, administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately.

If the person is conscious, have them lay down and position their head slightly lower than their trunk. Do this even if they have no obvious symptoms of signs of shock. Avoid moving the person any further than necessary, unless they are in immediate danger. Make sure you keep at least 20 feet away from high voltage wires, especially if they are sparking and jumping.

Make sure the victim receives medical attention, even if they do not appear to be severely injured. Depending on the type of current, how the current traveled through the body, how high the voltage was and the person’s overall health, they may have significant internal injuries. If you notice any of the following symptoms, call 911 immediately:
disaster supply kit

  • Heart arrhythmia (heart rhythm problems)
  • Respiratory failure (trouble breathing)
  • Muscle pain and contractions
  • Burns
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Cardiac arrest

Remember: never touch a victim with your bare hands if they are still in contact with an electricity source. Always administer CPR first and send someone to call 911, rather than waiting to call 911 before attempting CPR.  Follow these steps and you may save the life of someone who has received an electrical shock.