First-Aid Treatment for Electrical Shock

About the proper first-aid treatments for people suffering from electrical shock.


In today's world of electrical appliances, everyone should be familiar with current flow and possible electrical mishaps. One is most likely to be electrocuted by touching household appliances or other electrical equipment with wet hands, or when standing on a wet floor, or when simultaneously touching grounded metal objects, or when handling faulty equipment (such as frayed cords and overloaded extension cords). Bathrooms are particularly high-risk areas.


1. Do not touch the victim with your bare hands or you may be shocked yourself.

2. Pull or push the victim off the live wire with a wooden stick (without sap) or a cane or any other nonconductor of electricity, such as rubber, leather, or a lot of dry cloth. If possible, use insulated gloves. Make sure you are standing on a dry surface and that your body and clothes are dry.

3. Throw the breaker or remove an oldstyle fuse. If the problem involves high tension wires, your own risk is great. Unless you're willing to place yourself in danger, phone the power company 1st to get the power turned off.

4. If the victim is not breathing or is having severe difficulty in breathing, apply artificial respiration. (See: Breathing Difficulty or Stoppage.) Continue, if necessary, for at least 4 hours.

5. If the victim suffers from heart failure, a trained person should apply external heart massage.

6. Treat for shock.

7. If a doctor or ambulance cannot be summoned quickly, and transportation is necessary, check first for internal injuries and broken bones.

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