Electric shock - What should I do?


 What to do if you believe someone has received or is receiving an electric shock?

It may not be immediately clear that someone either has received or is receiving an electric shock. Smoke is unlikely to be pouring from their ears! If it is suspected that a person is suffering from electric shock, anyone coming to their aid should approach with extreme caution.


The first step would be to separate the person from the source of electricity as quickly as possibly. The best way of doing this would be to turn off the supply, for example by unplugging the appliance or by turning off the main switch in the consumer unit (fuse board).

If this is not possible, then you should try to remove the source of electricity from the person using a piece of insulating material, such as a length of wood.


NEVER touch the person receiving the electric shock, or you are likely to suffer the same fate.

If the person is unconscious, after removing the person from the source of electricity, you should call for an ambulance immediately. Any first aid should be carried out only by those having the necessary knowledge and skill.

Where the person is conscious and seems well, it would still be advisable to monitor the person’s condition, as the effects of an electric shock may not be immediately obvious. In worst case conditions, an electric shock may lead to a condition known as electroporation, where cells within the body rupture, leading to tissue necrosis. Additional problems might include deep-seated burns, muscle damage and broken bones.



Use an RCD

The use of a residual current device (RCD) having a rated residual operating current of 30 mA or less, although not a guarantee of absolute safety, does provide a significant benefit in most cases by limiting the time that current that can flow through the body should a person come into contact with a live source of electricity.

In particular, the Electrical Safety Council strongly recommends that any person using electrical appliances in the garden ensures that they are protected by an RCD, preferable one fitted in the consumer unit. Alternatively, a dedicated RCD-protected socket-outlet or a plug-in type of RCD should be used.


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