Electric Shock – do you know what to do?

Electric Shock – do you know what to do?

Electric shock

A flow of electricity between two parts of the human body can cause a current to flow that can block the electrical signals between the brain and the muscles. This may have a number of effects including:

  • Stopping the heart beating properly
  • Preventing the casualty from breathing
  • Causing muscle spasms. This loss of muscle control often means the person cannot ‘let go’ or escape the electric shock.
  • Electrical and thermal burns

The exact effect is dependent upon a large number of things including the size of the voltage, which parts of the body are involved, how damp the person is, and the length of time the current flows.

A lot of Information on electrical safety is available from Health and Safety Executive.


What to do if you believe someone has had, or is getting, an electric shock?

It may not be immediately clear, but if you think someone is suffering from electric shock, approach with extreme caution.

The first step is to separate the person from the source of electricity as quickly as possible. The best way of doing this is to turn off the supply, for example, by unplugging the appliance or by turning the mains off at the fusebox (consumer unit). If this isn’t possible, then try to remove the source of electricity from the person using a piece of insulating material, such as a length of wood.

NEVER touch the person receiving the electric shock, until you have turned off the electricity.

After removing the person from the source of electricity, if the person is unconscious call for an ambulance immediately. If their breathing has stopped then begin CPR procedures after you have called 999 for help.

Where the person is conscious and seems well, it is still advisable to monitor their condition, as the effects of an electric shock may not be immediately obvious. They may have sustained internal problems including deep-seated burns, muscle damage and broken bones. Surface burns can be treated in the normal way by cooling.

Treatment for Lightening StrikeThe case of LIGHTENING STRIKE.