First aid

How to deal with electrocution

Electrocution Break contact with the electricity

Electric shocks and electrocution can be caused by faulty wiring, overloaded sockets, handling electrical equipment with wet hands or by children poking objects - including fingers - into plug sockets.

These are serious types of accidents. An electric current can stop someone breathing and interfere with the heart's rhythm.

Someone who has been electrocuted may still be in contact with the electric current. They may be unconscious and also suffering from burns.

What to do if you think a person has been electrocuted

  • Call 999 (or 112) for an ambulance
  • Do not touch the person if they are still in contact with the electric current
  • Break the contact between the person and the electrical supply by switching off the current at the mains, if it can be reached easily
  • If you can’t turn off the electricity at the mains, stand on some dry insulation material, such as a telephone directory
  • Use something made of a non-conductive material (e.g. a wooden broom) and push the person away from the electrical source or push the source away from the person

Be prepared to resuscitate if necessary


High voltage electricity may jump or ‘arc’ up to 18m (20 yards). If you come across an incident with overhead cables, ensure the power is switched off before coming within this distance of the person.

This article was published on Thu 27 May 2010

Image © c -

Use this story

First aid
Link to this page
Printer friendly version

Share this page