Electric shock and electrocution are always possibilities during the course of an electrician’s working life. And just as electricians are expected to know about all the factors that affect their business, whether it be construction, roofing, air conditioning and maintenance systems, etc., it is also a good idea for them to know what to do in case of an emergency. Electricians should know how to administer first aid in cases of electric shock and electrocution.
Being able to act quickly in an emergency is paramount to an electrician’s working life. There are instances, for example, where he would be up on a pole line with colleagues working atop an electrical pole, sometimes on isolated roadways a great distance from the presence of other people. If someone suffers from an electric shock, it will take emergency personnel time before showing up at the scene. And even then, an electrician suspended above ground level near the top of an electric pole needs to be brought down to the ground before emergency personnel can see to him. If you are an electrician working with a colleague atop an electrical pole and your colleague suffers from an electrical shock, you would need to be able to act quickly because there is simply no one else who will. Knowing the first aid and emergency treatment for electric shock and electrocution can literally save a life.
Electricity is dangerous, and an electric shock coursing through a person’s body may cause internal damage, cardiac arrest, and other potential injuries. Electricity may also cause burns. How severe the effects are would depend on the current and how high the voltage is. How quickly a person is given emergency treatment can go a long way in mitigating the worst of an electrical accident and injury.
If a person is still in contact with an electrical current, do not attempt to touch him. Do not go near the person or the high voltage wires until after power is turned off. Having a cellphone handy enables you to make emergency calls to have the power turned off if possible, and then you should also call 911. If you are working at a residential or commercial building, you should act quickly to turn the power off. If you are not able to do this, try to distance yourself and the person from the source of the electric current using a dry, non-conducting object such as plastic or wood. Never use metal, or anything that contains metal.
A person who has suffered from an electric shock may exhibit any of the following:
- Muscle pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe burns
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart problems, including a possible cardiac arrest
The worst-case scenario would be death as a result of electrocution.
If the person demonstrates difficulty breathing or stops breathing altogether, you should begin CPR immediately. Make sure that the person has a pulse and is breathing. Apply a bandage to any burned areas, and try to keep the person from becoming chilled. Make sure that no clothing touches the burn, so avoid using towels or similar items on the burn area because fiber from these materials could stick to the burned area of the skin. Rinse the area with cool water, and then apply a sterile gauze loosely over the burn.
It is helpful to get professional training in CPR and first aid treatment and to keep a medical emergency kit handy whenever you undertake electrical work so that all necessary tools would be within easy reach. Of course, it is always best if a doctor or physician sees the victim immediately, but any emergency treatment you can give in the meantime could spell a huge difference to the welfare of a person who has just suffered from an electrical shock. If you are an electrician, you should consider getting appropriate emergency first aid training. It is an integral part of the skills you would need in your line of work.