First Aid for Electrical Burns
The first steps to take when a person is in contact with an electrical source are:
- Have someone call 911 or other emergency services.
- Do not touch the "electrified person" with your hands.
- Unplug the appliance or turn off the main power switch.
- Try to remove the person
from the electrical source, if you cannot turn the power off. Do this only if you can do so safely by:
- Standing on a dry surface, such as a rubber doormat or a pile of papers or books. Make sure you are not standing in or near water.
- Using a dry wooden object, such as a broom handle, to push the person away from the electrical source. Do not use anything wet or made of metal.
- Check for breathing after the person has been separated from the electrical source. If the person is not breathing, see the topic Dealing With Emergencies.
- Check for a heartbeat. Electrical burns can affect the electrical activity of the heart and cause heartbeat changes. If the person has no heartbeat, see the topic Dealing With Emergencies.
What should I do about electrical burns that aren't as serious?
- Rinse the burns with water, and apply a bandage. There may be burns where the electrical current entered the body and where it left the body.
- Call your health professional to discuss your burn injury. If you have a visible burn to the skin, an evaluation by your health professional is usually needed.
|Author||Jan Nissl, RN, BS|
|Editor||Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN|
|Associate Editor||Tracy Landauer|
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Updated||January 7, 2009|