First Aid for Electrical Burns

Electrical burns are common in the home because of the many electrical appliances and outlets found there. Small children especially may be at risk when they are left to explore uncovered outlets or appliances that are in reach and left plugged in.

Adults can also be susceptible to accidental electrical burns from frayed cords, or when being careless with electrical appliances around water.

Should you are a family member become a sustain an electrical burn make sure you wash your hands with soap and water and dry them with a towel before attempting to administer any first aid. It is important that burns remain as clean as possible to prevent infection.

The first thing that should be done if not already, is to remove the individual form the cause of the electrical current. This must be done with your safety in mind as becoming a burn victim yourself will not help the other individual.

Freeing the person from portable electric tools, lights, appliances, equipment or portable outlet extensions:

Turn off the source of electricity by turning off the supply switch or by removing the plug from its receptacle. If for any reason the source cannot be easily located you can pull the electrical device from the victim. If you pull the victim away from the device other individuals who come on the scene must be warned away from the device until the source can be turned off. The person should be pulled away using a stationary equipment such as a bus bar or when such a bar is not available you can pull the person away by first protecting yourself with dry insulating material (dry board, belt, clothing or other available nonconductive material to free the victim from the electrical current.


Never give artificial ventilation if the person is breathing on their own, even if they are having difficulty breathing.

Someone who is not breathing is not necessarily dead; they can still be rescued if artificial respiration is started as soon as possible.

You can tell if someone is breathing or not by placing your hands on the person’s sides at the place where you can feel their lower rib cage. If the person is breathing you should be able to feel movement as they breathe. Start breathing for the person immediately and let others go or call for help.

It is a good idea for all adults to be CPR certified. The American Red Cross as classes and learning CPR is relatively easy. Knowing the proper way to do artificial respiration may save someone’s life.

A person, who has had an electrical burn, may also not have a heart beat. Taking a course in CPR will allow you to learn how to do both rescue breathing and how to do CPR cardio pulmonary resuscitation.