PROTECTING THE RESCUER
1. Approach a victim of suspected electrocution with caution: Until he is free of contact with the current, he is an electrical conductor. Touching someone still in contact with a live circuit may electrocute you. NEVER touch a victim of electric shock until you are sure the power is off or contact between the victim and the electrical source has been broken.
2. If an appliance is the source of electricity, shut off the current at the fuse box, or if you can safely do so unplug the appliance immediately. Simply turning off the appliance is inadequate.
3. If the current cannot be turned off and a live wire is touching the victim, dry your hands completely and insulate them with dry gloves or a dry cloth.
4. Stand on a dry, nonconductive surface, such as a stack of newspapers, a board, or pile of clothes (not on dirt, or anything metallic or wet). If possible, don a pair of dry rubber boots.
5. Decide if it is more practical to push the victim away from the wire or to push the wire from the victim. If your hands are well insulated and you are standing on a dry, nonconductive surface, move the person or the wire using a nonconducting object such as a plastic chair, wooden pole, broom, wooden chair, or board. If the wire is clutched in the victim's hand, it may take considerable force to separate the two, but do not directly touch the person or the wire.
ELECTROCUTION RESULTING IN CARDIAC ARREST
DEFINITION AND CAUSES
Electric current passing through the body can cause cardiac arrest, generally from ventricular fibrillation (rapid, uncoordinated beating or quivering of the heart muscle). The longer the contact with the electrical current, the less likely are the chances of survival. The source of current may be a downed electrical wire, a defective household appliance, electic items falling into water, or lightning.
1. Summon help by calling 911.
2. Check whether the victim is breathing or has a heartbeat. If not, begin CPR immediately. Even if the victim does not revive within minutes, continue these measures until help arrives, as recovery from electric shock can be slow.
3. If the victim was struck by lightning, check immediately for breathing and pulse. Since the current has passed through the body and disappeared, the rescuer does not need to worry about sustaining a shock, and treatment can begin immediately.
4. When breathing is reestablished, treat the victim for shock by elevating the feet and covering with a blanket (see "Shock").
5. If the victim is conscious but has fallen from a height, or is a victim of high-tension contact or lightning strike, check for associated injuries, such as skull, spine or extremity fractures, burns, and other injuries. Anyone who has sustained a serious electrical shock should be transported as soon as possible to a hospital emergency room.
Any significant burn resulting from electricity, requires immediate physician evaluation. These burns often result in serious muscle breakdown, electrolyte abnormalities, and occasionally kidney failure. The actual site of damage can be internal and may not be visible on the skin surface.