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Electrical injury

  • Alternative Names

    Electrical shock


    First Aid

    1. If you can do so safely, turn off the electrical current. Unplug the cord, remove the fuse from the fuse box, or turn off the circuit breakers. Simply turning off an appliance may NOT stop the flow of electricity. Do NOT attempt to rescue a person near active high-voltage lines.

    2. Call your local emergency number, such as 911.

    3. If the current can't be turned off, use a non-conducting object, such as a broom, chair, rug, or rubber doormat to push the person away from the source of the current. Do not use a wet or metal object. If possible, stand on something dry and that doesn't conduct electricity, such as a rubber mat or folded newspapers.

    4. 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. (See: CPR)

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. Stay with the person until medical help arrives.

    8. Electrical injury is frequently associated with explosions or falls that can cause additional severe injuries. You may not be able to notice all of them. Do not move the person's head or neck if the spine may be injured.


    Do Not

    Stay at least 20 feet away from a person who is being electrocuted by high-voltage electrical current (such as power lines) until the power is turned off.

    • Do NOT touch the person with your bare hands if they are still in contact with the source of electricity
    • Do NOT apply ice, butter, ointments, medications, fluffy cotton dressings, or adhesive bandages to a burn
    • Do NOT remove dead skin or break blisters if the person has been burned
    • After the power is shut off, do NOT move the person unless there is a risk of fire or explosion

    Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if

    Call your local emergency number, such as 911 if a person has received an electrical burn.