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Electrical Burns & Shock

International safety symbol "Caution, ris...

International safety symbol "Caution, risk of electric shock" (ISO 3864), also known as high voltage symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Electrical burns can be quite tricky to deal with, it’s really important to remember that no matter how minor the problem may appear to be on the outside, very often the real damage lies well beneath the skin. If you suffer a severe electrical shock it can cause internal damage like cardiac arrest, the severity of the jolt can also cause you to fall or be thrown potentially causing fractures or other injuries.

If someone suffers from electrical burns or shock during a disaster situation, you should follow these vital steps;

  • Look but don’t touch, if the person is still in contact with the power supply the current could be passed through you.
  • Turn off the power supply as soon as you possibly can. If you can’t turn it off then move yourself, and the injured person away using something dry and nonconducting like wood, plastic or cardboard.
  • Check for signs that the person still has circulation . . . coughing, breathing, movement . . . if there are no signs then begin CPR immediately.
  • If you possibly can lay the person with their legs slightly elevated, and the head a little lower than the trunk of their body.
  • Cover any burns using a sterile gauze bandage (from your disaster supplies first aid kit). If not use a clean cloth, but don’t use a blanket or a towel which has loose fibers which could stick to the burns.

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