What to Do After an Electric Shock


Electric shock can lead to serious injury and even death. Unfortunately, in these situations, panic runs high and some people don't quite know how to respond. However, there are steps you can take to help in case someone is struck by an electric current. Read on to equip yourself with more knowledge of electric shock injuries and how to adequately handle this potentially deadly hazard.

Types of Electrical Current Injuries

Electrical currents cause four main types of injuries. These injuries include the following:

Flash Injuries

These injuries cause superficial burns and occur due to the heat of an arc flash. An arc flash is when an electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, or in some cases the ground. In this case, the current does not penetrate the skin.

Flame Injuries

Flame injuries occur when an electrical explosion causes a person’s clothing to ignite. The current may or may not pass-through skin. These injuries can result in external and internal burns. A person can inhale vaporized metal and superheated air and burn their lungs. In severe cases, some external burns may need a skin graft.

Lightning Injuries

Lightning injuries involve extremely short but high voltage electrical energy.The current flows through a person’s body and may cause sudden death due to the huge voltage in a lightning strike.

True Injuries

True injuries occur when the person becomes part of the circuit as the electricity enters and exits the person’s body. Injuries can include burns and involuntary muscle reactions that cause bruises and bone fractures.

Electric currents pass through a person’s body and cause an electric shock. In homes, electric shocks can result from contact with the following items:

  • Faulty electrical appliances
  • Household wiring
  • Electricity outlets

Electrocution Effects

Depending on the severity of electrocution, the effects can range from burns, seizures, and temporary loss of consciousness to more extreme outcomes such as respiratory arrest, coma, and death. Other, more long-term effects, include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, insomnia, and panic attacks.

Steps to Take After an Electric Shock

If someone has been electrocuted, it is important to act quickly in order to prevent any long-term effects. The most important thing in such a situation is to remain as calm as possible – as panic can make the situation worse and lead to further injury.

1. Call 911 After an Electric Shock

If someone has received an electric shock, call 911 immediately. Even if the person doesn’t feel like anything is wrong, it's important to seek medical attention in order to ensure no lasting damage has occurred due to the electrocution. Calling 911 is especially necessary if the electrocution occurred from a high-voltage wire or lightning. Stay at least 20 feet away or farther while you wait for help to arrive. It is important to note that if the person is still in contact with the electrical current, do not touch them.

MayoClinic lists the following as signs of serious complications following electrocution:

  • Severe burns
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing and or loss of consciousness
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Muscle pain
  • Seizures

2. Turn Off the Electricity Source

While you wait for help to arrive, turning off the source of electricity is the next step. Shut off the power supply if you are in a home or a building to prevent further harm. If this is not possible, protect yourself and the person who has been injured by using a dry, nonconducting object such as cardboard, plastic, or wood to push the source away from you. Taking this preventive action can protect both parties from further injury and hazardous exposure.

3. Administer CPR if Needed

If the injured person has stopped breathing, moving, and/or has stopped coughing, CPR may be necessary. The American Heart Association provides a tutorial in this video.

4. Apply Bandages to Wounds

Cover any burned areas with sterile gauze if possible. Avoid using Band-Aids, towels, and blankets that may stick to the burn. If gauze is not available, use a clean cloth.

Preventing Electric Shock

Electric shock can be a serious hazard and preventative measures must be taken in order to limit potential danger. It is essential that individuals understand the proper safety measures when dealing with electrical outlets or any other kind of electricity-generating source. Visit this blog post to learn more about preventing electric shock.

Taking preventative measures to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from electric shocks can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. With the help of a professional electrician, you can rest assured that your home is up to code and meets all safety standards.

If you're in need of an electrician, Lightning Bug Electric can help you. Our skilled professionals are here to help keep your home safe and sound.

Give us a call today at (404) 471-3847 or reach out to us online!