Didn’t we all have a hearty laugh, when we saw Tom of Tom and Jerry cartoon show getting electrocuted? The spikes that emerge out of the hair, the smoke that came out of the ears and the mouth were all funny inferences in the movies of what could happen to you if you ever experienced an electric accident. In real life however experiencing an electrocution is no fun. In fact people who have met with electrical accidents were always subjected to severe injuries and sometimes death. However, although in most cases we do not have a hold on the circumstances that lead to an electric accident, we definitely can extend a helping hand to those who are experiencing electrical accidents. This article provides some insights into how we can provide first aid to the victims of an electrical accident.
Electrical accidents are of three types
- Electric shock: Caused when our hand or any part of our body comes into contact with the flow of current.
- Electric Burns: Caused when sever electric shocks cause tissues to burn.
- Electric fires: Caused when electric current ignites flammable materials.
Precautionary steps for all electrical injuries: It’s high time we all understood that although our heart goes out to the person experiencing a shock, we cannot be bollywood heroes and jump into action to save the person, by carrying him or her in your arms. First and foremost do not touch the victim if he or she is still in contact with the current. SO, NO! No touching the victim if he or she is still in contact with the current. Stand on something dry like wood, paper or plastic.
First aid for electrical shocks:
- Make sure the power is turned off.
- Move the injured person from the source using a dry object made of cardboard, plastic or wood.
- Begin CPR if the person shows no sign of breathing or movement.
First aid for electric burns: Burns can be both internal and external. Internal burns occur when current passes through internal bones and causes burns to internal tissues. Burns might not be visible on the skin but internal injuries may have occurred.
- Immediately rinse the wound with water.
- Apply bandage over the injured areas. Cover burned areas with a clean cloth, Gauze or Bandage but do not use a blanket or towel, because loose fibers have high probability of sticking to the wounds.
- In case of internal burns, the best solution is to take the injured to a nearby medical facility.
- Perform CPR If the person shows no signs of movement or breathing.
Electrical Fires and Prevention: As they say prevention is always better than cure. In most cases it is difficult to spot the possible occurrence of an electrical fire. However if the following signs are noticed, it is of utmost importance that steps to prevent an outbreak are undertaken ASAP.
- Notice any signs of inadequate power supply. Inadequate power supply may result from circuit breakers that trip and over reliance on extension cords.
- When you unknowingly damage the wiring inside the walls of your house, while hanging any article on to the wall there is a high possibility of loose connection in an outlet, which will lead to a fire outbreak.
- Persistent burnt smell with no identifiable source.
- Several discolored or charred outlets and switches.
First Aid for Electrical Fires: When an electric fire breaks out, do not try to put it out with water, because it might lead to electrocution.
- The best possible solution to put off an electrical fire is to have an fire extinguisher, which is rated as an A-B-C extinguisher. A-B-C rated fires extinguishers are those which can extinguish all kinds of fires.
It all boils down to the health of the internal and external electrical wiring system of your house. We Indians are known for our ‘ Jugaad’. Be the Jugaadu you were born to be and make sure that the wires of your home are functioning well. It is highly advisable that you re-do the wiring of your home once in every 20 years. Do not be the perfect Indian procrastinator and ignore the small signs of a possible electrical accident. Afterall nothing is more important than the safety of you and your loved ones.