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Defective electrical appliances, faulty switches and frayed flexes can all cause electrical shock and other electricity-related injuries. According to the latest data from the Electrical Safety Branch, a total of 440 cases of electrocutions were recorded in Canada during previous year, of which, 170 were related to use of consumer products. Surprisingly, majority of electricity-related injuries were domestic of nature and involved household wiring, small appliances, and large appliances despite low-voltage current used in houses and workplaces.

Take note that even low-voltage domestic current can cause life-threatening

Electricity-Related Injuries

When managing situations with electrical currents it is important to take safety precautions such as using a wooden object to distance the current from the victim.

injuries and can even result in death. Considering the fatality of electricity-related injuries and its increased incidence in homes and workplaces, it is essential that you know how to manage electrical shocks.

Responding In Electrical Shock

What you do during the first few minutes after the incident can have huge effect in the survivability of the victim as well as your personal safety. There have been many cases wherein bystanders who are trying to help become casualties too because they do not know how to respond properly in such accident.

Ensure your safety

Before touching the victim, you have to ensure your personal safety. Do not do anything with the casualty unless you are sure that they are free from the source of electrical current. Casualties are considered electrical conductors as long as they are still in contact with the electricity. They continue to pose risk of electrocution to anyone who comes in contact them.

Safely cut-off electrical source

Locate and switch off the main power supply, if possible, otherwise unplug or disconnect the cable from the electrical outlet.

You can also move the victim away from the power source. Stand on a dry insulated material such as a book, plastic mat or wooden box. Using a broom or wooden pole, move the victim’s limb or body part away from the power source or move the source away from the victim.

If cutting off the electrical source is not possible, carefully loop a length of rope around the victim’s arms or ankles. Be sure not to touch or contact the victim while doing this. Once the loop is secured around the victim, pull him or her away from the source of electrical shock.

Conduct a primary survey

Once the contact between the source of electricity and the victim is cut, you can now assess for response, airway, breathing and pulse.

Activate emergency services

Call 911 or your local emergency services. If you have no access to telephone or mobile phone, ask for help from nearby bystanders. Record vital signs while waiting for help to arrive.

Treat electrical burns and any injuries

Flood the burns with copious amount of cold water, if available. Avoid touching the burned body parts.  Gently remove watches, belts, jewellery and constricting clothing, especially around the neck area. Burns cause swelling quickly. Cover the burn site with a clean cloth and secure loosely. Monitor for signs of shock: increased breathing, slow pulse and sweating. Reassure the casualty.

Learn More

To learn more about recognizing, managing and helping victims of electrical shocks take a workplace approved training program with one of our providers. Training locations are found throughout Canada including in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Toronto.

Stay Safe when working with Electricity


First Aid for Fractures

December 17th, 2012 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Skeletal Injuries - (0 Comments)

A fracture refers to a crack or a break in a bone. When a person is fractured, he will first hear a snap and then experience an acute pain. With care and effort you can provide first aid to a person who has undergone a fracture. A fracture can usually be seen as an open wound or a protruding bone in most cases.

Signs and Symptoms

If a fracture results in a lot of pain and trauma, call 911 or a local emergency number immediately. You will know if a person is fractured if:

  • The patient explains that he or she heard an audible snap during the accident
  • The patient may tell you that he or she is feeling a rubbing in the bones also called crepitus
  • There is a swelling in the affected area
  • The person is bleeding heavily
  • The affected joint or limb seem deformed
  • Loss of strength
  • A gentle press causes sharp pain
  • The bone is piercing through the skin
  • The extremities of the injured leg or arm, such as fingers or toes appear bluish
  • The neck, head or back seems deformed if a bone is broken in these areas
  • A bone is broken in the pelvis, hip or upper leg
  • Twitching
  • Immobility or the person becomes unresponsive. There is no breathing or movement.

First Aid

The first thing you need to make sure is that you should know what you are about to treat. Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of fractures mentioned above before you begin first aid.

  • If the person is bleeding heavily and you suspect a broken bone in the arm, leg, hip, pelvis or neck, make sure you take care of it before you call for help. If you are not alone, it is better if you make someone else call
    Folded Splint

    The picture above shows a splint that is commonly found in first aid kits. Splints are used to help immobilize a injury.


  • Use a sterile piece of fabric to apply pressure on the wound to stop it from bleeding. If there is no bleeding or spurting of blood, do not firmly press the injured area with a cloth as it would cause more damage to the affected area.
  • Do not try to treat the area if a bone is protruding out by trying to realign the bone. If you have been trained to secure such a fracture, in case professional help is not available, secure the area below and above the affected site. You can also pad the splint to make the person feel a bit more comfortable.
  • Do not apply ice directly on the wound, instead wrap it around a towel or a sterile cloth and apply pressure with it on the affected area to prevent bleeding.
  • Do not try to touch or poke the wound to over-investigate the problem. If the affected area is swollen or discolored, it is obviously fractured. Therefore, leave it to a professional to further investigate and treat the wound.
  • Do not wash the wound.
  • If a person is unconscious or breathless, make the person lie down with his head lower than the chest. Raise the legs upwards, if possible.

First Aid Video on Fractures