Electric Shock Resuscitation Procedure
Static electricity discharging when you touch something is you receiving an electric shock.
Thankfully, most electric shocks are harmless and cause no lasting damage. However, if you have ever backed up against an electric fence or been Tasered, you know how ferociously painful electricity can be when a high voltage electrical current contacts the body.
Occasionally, people are zapped with amps and volts that the human body cannot process. Contact with the electrical source causes the heart and brain to shut down. Situations like lightning bolts, exposed live wires and broken power lines. Downed power lines that are still alive have an electrical current passing through the wire that may not be earthed and can kill on contact with the current.
In an emergency medical situation, live power lines surrounding a car involved in an accident cause a dangerous, potentially life-threatening situation to the First Aid provider that can prevent medical attention and emergency care from being given.
With the human body not able to handle more than one amp before a fatality occurs, the cardiac arrest that results is a life-threatening situation. It is imperative that the First Aid responder does the following the moment they arrive on the scene with a suspected electric shock victim.
Depending on the type of electric shock received, there may be obvious burns on the skin at the entry and exit points, or they may have internal burns and internal damage not visible to be assessed by the First Aid responder.
If possible, turn off the source of electricity; if not, seek the assistance of the appropriate authorities. Under no circumstance should you endanger your life to provide First Aid if live cables in the immediate vicinity will electrocute you when you enter the current field.
Not only will you not be able to provide First Aid to the first casualty, you will also become a second casualty that needs to be rescued and given CPR and First Aid treatment, defeating the purpose of you rendering First Aid.
Electric Shock Resuscitation DRSABCD
Ensure that the area is safe for yourself, others, and the patient.
Talk and Touch: Shout, “Can you hear me?”
Begin additional examination & management if the patient is responsive and safety is assured.
SEND FOR HELP
Call 000 for an ambulance if the patient is unresponsive.
Check and open the airway
Remove any foreign material visible in the mouth
Look, listen, and feel for breathing
As per ARC guidelines, Provide 30 compressions – followed by 2 breaths & then continue 30:2
As soon as an AED is available, attach it and follow the automated voice procedures. Defibrillation dramatically increases the survival rate chances of the casualty.
Electric Shocks Can Be Fatal
While most minor electric shocks are harmless to a healthy individual, electricity is not a force to be trifled with. It can kill instantly in the right amperes range and under the right conditions. For humans, anything above one (1) amp is potentially fatal. Not everyone is an electrician, so to break things down for the layman, volts and amperes are a measurement of electricity.
A volt is the unit of electric potential difference or force size that sends the electrons through a circuit. An ampere is a unit used to measure the electric current. Current is the count of the number of electrons flowing through a circuit at any given time.
Volt = size and force of the electricity.
Current = measures how much electricity is present.
Electric Shocks And Pacemakers
If you have a pacemaker, you might wonder if an electric shock, similar to external cardioversion, may damage the pacemaker’s integrity. In short, the answer is yes. Any external current applied to the body with greater force than the pacemaker’s electrical circuitry can compromise or stop the pacemaker entirely, causing the person’s heart to stop beating, necessitating immediate CPR.
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While you are there, check out our comprehensive FACE Blog page and read up on a wide range of First Aid topics to assist you with your First Aid knowledge skills.