Topic Overview

The first steps to take when a person is in contact with an
electrical source are:

  • Have someone call 911 or other emergency
  • Do not touch the “electrified person” with your hands.
  • Unplug the appliance or turn off the main power switch.
  • Try to remove the person
    from the electrical source, if you cannot turn the power off. Do this only if you can do so safely by:

    • Standing on a dry surface, such as a rubber
      doormat or a pile of papers or books. Make sure you are not standing in or near
    • Using a dry wooden object, such as a broom handle, to push
      the person away from the electrical source. Do not use anything wet or made of
  • Check to see if the person responds to touch or being talked to after separating him or her from the electrical source. Electrical burns can affect the electrical activity of the heart and
    cause heartbeat changes. If the person is not
    responding, start CPR. For more information, see the topic
    Dealing With Emergencies.

What should I do about electrical burns that aren’t as serious?

  • Rinse the burns with water, and apply a
    bandage. There may be burns where the electrical current entered the body and
    where it left the body.
  • Call your doctor to discuss
    your burn injury. If you have a visible burn to the skin, an evaluation by your
    doctor is usually needed.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP – Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O’Connor, MD – Emergency Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD – Family Medicine

Current as ofMarch 20, 2017