Electric shock may cause anything from mild surprise to death. The effects of the shock are usually
unknown. It is often hard to determine how an electrical shock victim has been affected.
SYMPTOMS OF ELECTRIC SHOCK.When you find someone who has received a severe
electric shock, the person's skin is usually very white or pale blue. In the case of victims with dark skin, it
may be necessary to rely primarily on the color of the mucous membranes on the inside of the mouth or
under the eye lid or under the nail bed. A person in or going into electric shock has a bluish color to these
membranes instead of a healthy pink. The victim's pulse is very weak or absent. The person is
unconscious, and usually the skin is burned. A stiffness of the body may happen in a few minutes. This is
caused by the muscles reacting to shock. You should not consider this condition as rigor mortis. You
should make sure the victim is no longer touching the live circuit and then start artificial respiration.
People have recovered after body stiffness has set in.
RESCUE OF VICTIMS.The rescue of a shock victim depends on your immediate administration
of first aid.
Do not attempt to administer first aid or come in physical contact with an
electric shock victim before the power is shut off or, if the power cannot be shut off
immediately, before the victim has been removed from the live conductor.
When attempting to administer first aid to an electric shock victim, proceed as follows:
Shut off the power.
If the power cannot be deactivated, remove the victim immediately, observing the following
Protect yourself with dry insulating material. Use a dry board, a belt, dry clothing, or other
available nonconductive material to free the victim (by pulling, pushing, or rolling) from the
power-carrying object. DO NOT TOUCH the victim.
Immediately after you remove the victim from contact with the live circuit, administer artificial
respiration/ventilation or cardiopulmonary resuscitation as necessary.
ANYONE WHO RECEIVES A SIGNIFICANT SHOCK SHOULD BE TAKEN TO SICK
BAY OR A MEDICAL FACILITY AND OBSERVED FOR SEVERAL HOURS.
A person who has stopped breathing is not necessarily dead, but is in immediate critical danger. Life
depends on oxygen that is breathed into the lungs and then carried by the blood to every body cell. Since
body cells cannot store oxygen, and since the blood can hold only a limited amount (and only for a short
time), death will surely result from continued lack of breathing.
The heart may continue to beat and the blood may still be circulated to the body cells for some time
after breathing has stopped. Since the blood will, for a short time, contain a small supply of oxygen, the
body cells will not die immediately. Thus, for a few minutes, there is some chance that the person's life
may be saved. A person who has stopped breathing but who is still alive is said to be in a state of
respiratory failure. The first aid treatment for respiratory failure is called artificial ventilation.