Electrocution and First Aid

The author of this blog is Uday, a trained and certified home inspector working at HomeInspeKtor. You can get in touch with him here.

Electrocution is a severe injury by electric shock when electric current passes through the body. All modern homes and electrical appliances run on Alternating Current (AC). As you may know, AC is more dangerous than Direct Current (DC) to the human body. Also, many may not be aware that an AC of 70–80 mA can be more fatal than DC of 200-250 mA, which a body can tolerate without much damage. This is because when AC comes in contact with muscle, it induces muscle contraction and does not allow the person to release contact with the source of current. More, the duration of contact with the source, more, the damage it does to the body. Loss of consciousness, muscle contractions, numbness, tingling, breathing difficulty, burns and seizures are observed after electrocution. In fact, wet skin may have a thousand times reduction in resistance compared to dry skin.

First Aid for Electrocution

  • Turn off the source of power if possible or move the person away from the source using a dry, non-conducting object made of cardboard, rubber or wood.
  • If the incident has happened outside the home or office, call the local Electricity Board Helpline number to disconnect the power, so as to prevent others from getting affected.
  • Ensure you or someone calls the medical help right away and as the team arrives, do the following (priority is you being safe):
    • Look for signs of breathing, coughing or movement. 
    • Remove the Clothing.
    • Cool the affected body part with water by continuously pouring tap water for 20 minutes (do not use cold water as it can cause hypothermia (i.e., a state where the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature).
    • Clean the burned part and remove the dust, mud and apply ointment (silver nitrate composition) over the burnt area. (Do not keep the victim under the fan because if nerve endings are exposed, the victim may experience severe pain).
  • Immediately start giving fluids. 
  • If there are no signs of circulation then wait for medical advice or look for people who can offer emergency CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) till the medical assistance arrives. See video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbyV6Z_WQJQ

Since Electrocution is a major life threatening trauma for the human body, the person who is doing the first aid should react spontaneously since each & every second is crucial and any delay may lead to serious consequences. Emergency numbers applicable in India that can be handy during any extreme situations are listed below:

National Emergency Number

(All in one Emergency number) 

112

Police

100

Fire

101

Ambulance

102

Traffic Police

103

Disaster Management Number

108

Source:  https://indianhelpline.com/

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