First aid for electrical shock victims

The danger involved when someone experiences an electrical shock can depend on various factors, including the type of current, voltage, how the current traveled through the body, the victim's overall health and how quickly the victim is treated.

According to, you should call 911 if an electrical shock victim shows symptoms such as cardiac arrest, heart rhythm problems, respiratory failure, muscle pain and contractions, burns, seizures, numbness and tingling, and unconsciousness.

There are steps you can take to help an electrical shock victim while you are waiting for medical aid:

  • Don't touch the victim with your bare hands until you are sure he or she no longer is in contact with the electrical source.
  • If possible, turn off the electrical source. If not, move the source away from you and the victim using a nonconducting object made of cardboard, plastic or wood.
  • Check for signs of circulation, such as movement, breathing or coughing. If there are no signs, begin CPR immediately.
  • Prevent shock by laying the victim down and positioning his or her head slightly lower than the chest with legs elevated. However, don't move the victim unless he or she is in immediate danger.

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