The human body is a conductor of electricity and therefore it is important that you and your family know how to respond if someone receives an electric shock.
You probably won’t have time to read this information if confronted with a family member, friend or colleague who’s suffered an electric shock. So it’s good that you are familiarising yourself with its contents now, and you might want to print this page.
What to do if someone receives an electric shock
While the Australian electricity network is one of the safest in the world, situations can arise where electricity can be dangerous.
Do not rush in
As difficult as it is not to act immediately, it’s possible for people attempting rescue to get secondary injuries.
Ensure your own safety
Be especially careful if the surrounding area is wet as electricity will conduct through water.
Switch the appliance off if possible
Switch it off at the power point immediately without touching the injured person or the appliance.
Get help immediately
Call 000 for an ambulance and administer basic First Aid.
Once you are sure the power is off, look after the injured person by checking:
- their level of consciousness
- if they are breathing or if their airways are blocked
- for a heartbeat and pulse.
If they are not breathing commence Expired Air Resuscitation (EAR) and if there is no heart beat commence External Cardiac Compressions (ECC).
If the person is conscious they will need to be monitored closely until the ambulance arrives. Make them lie still and keep them warm with a blanket; and remember it is possible to appear un-injured after receiving a severe electric shock yet suffer a heart attack or go into shock hours later.
For sustained burns to any part of their body
The patient may also have substantial burns to any part of their body, including internal burns. Generally, burns are present where the electricity enters and exits the body, which is usually the hands and feet. Keep the person covered with a blanket but apply cool, damp, clean cloths or gel blankets to the burns.
You can also contact Endeavour Energy emergency services on 131 003 for assistance with the electrical issue once you are sure the injured person is taken care of.
Electrical safety in emergency situations
Whether caused by humans or nature, emergency situations can increase the risks posed by electricity. You can read about these risks and ways to reduce them here: