ST JOHN AMBULANCE: Be careful when dealing with electrical incidents

Be careful around electrical incidents
Be careful around electrical incidents

St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity has teamed up with the Herald and Gazette to bring you some simple, but life saving, first aid tips – this week: electrical incidents.

Domestic current, as used in homes and workplaces, can cause serious injury or even death.

Incidents are usually due to faulty switches, frayed flexes or defective appliances.

Young children are at risk since they are naturally curious and may put fingers, or other objects, into wall sockets.

Water is also a very efficient conductor or electricity so presents an additional risk.

Handling an otherwise safe electrical appliance with wet hands, or when standing on a wet floor, increases the risk of an electric shock.

Follow these simple steps to help someone who has had an electric shock:

• Before beginning any treatment, look first, do not touch. If the casualty is still in contact with the electrical source, they will still be ‘live’ and you risk electrocution.

• Turn off the source of electricity, if possible, to break the contact between the casualty and the electrical supply. Switch off the current at the mains or meter point if possible. Otherwise remove the plug or wrench the cable free.

• Alternatively, move the source away from both you and the casualty. Stand on some dry insulating material such as a wooden box, plastic mat or telephone directory. Using a wooden pole or broom, push the casualty’s limb away from the electrical source or push the source away from them.

• If it is not possible to break the contact using a wooden object, loop a length of rope around the casualty’s ankles or under the arms, taking great care not to touch them, and pull them away from the source of electricity.

• Once you are sure that the contact between the casualty and the electricity has been broken, perform a primary survey and treat any condition found.

• Call 999/112 for emergency help.

• For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website {http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/default.aspx |(www.sja.org.uk)|www.sja.org.uk} offers demo videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice. For more information about first aid courses please call 0303 003 0101.

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