FIRST AID FACT SHEET
How to treat electric shock
An electric shock occurs when a person comes into contact with an electrical energy source. Electrical energy flows through a portion of the body causing a shock. Exposure to electrical energy may result in a life-threatening situation as there may be damage to internal organs.
What to do
- Follow DRSABCD St John Action Plan
- Check for danger to yourself and bystanders.
- Switch off the power if possible.
- If safe to do so, remove the casualty from the electrical supply without directly touching them. Use non-conductive, dry materials, for example, a dry wooden broom handle.
- Cool any burnt areas with copious amounts of cool water for up to twenty (20) minutes.
- Remove any clothing and jewellery from the affected area unless stuck to the burn.
- Cover burnt area with a light non-stick dressing or clean, dry non-fluffy material.
- Reassure the casualty.
- Always seek medical aid immediately for electrical burns. Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance.
Downed power lines
- When calling Triple Zero (000) advise that there are downed cables.
- Phone Western Power on 13 13 51 to report a fallen powerline and to make the area safe.
- Remain at least 8 metres from any cable and do not approach until advised that it is safe to do so.
- DO NOT attempt to remove the cable.
- If a vehicle is being touched by a high voltage cable, DO NOT go near the vehicle or try to remove the casualty from the vehicle.
- Advise the casualty not to move.
- Electricity (either high voltage or prolonged current) passing through the body.
Signs and symptoms
- Sudden collapse after touching anything electrical.
- Burns, particularly entry and exit burns where the electricity entered and left the body which may be deep.
- Not breathing normally.
- A weak, erratic pulse or no pulse at all.
- Cardiac arrest.