Standard First Aid Training, Courses and Re-Certifications.

Author Archives: vanfirstaid

First Aid For Asthma Attack

February 13th, 2014 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Basic First Aid Skills - (Comments Off on First Aid For Asthma Attack)

Patients suffering from asthma have high chances of getting asthma attack. Some of the common symptoms that will show you that a patient has the attack include difficulty in talking, breath shortness and change of lips or fingernails to blue color. Read the article to understand how you can handle such emergency situations.

Follow Asthma plan

If the victim has a personal asthma action plan from a doctor it is advisable to follow it strictly. Follow the directions used to provide the medication and in case of an acute asthma attack seek medical help immediately.

Provide asthma attack first aid

If the patient does not follow any action plan, you need to offer first aid for asthma to rescue him or her from the fatal situation.

  • Make the patient sit upright in a comfortable manner and make any tight cloth loose.
  • If the patient has medications such as an inhaler, help him to use it.
  • In case an inhaler is not available, use the one in your first aid kit or borrow from another person.

There are two types of inhalers, then one with a spacer and one without the spacer.

Using an inhaler with a spacer

first aid for asthma attack

Using an inhaler

  • Remove the cap and shake it well.
  • Insert it into the spacer.
  • Make sure that the victim breathe out fully and put his mouth firmly around the mouthpiece of the spacer.
  • Press the inhaler instantly in order to deliver a puff.
  • Then, allow the patient to breathe in a slow manner through the mouth and then make him hold breath for ten to twelve seconds.
  • Give four fluffs and wait for a minute between each of them.

Follow similar steps even when using an inhaler without the spacer.

If breathing is still an issue even after using the inhaler, follow these steps to deal with the asthma attack.

  • After the four puffs, wait for extra four minutes. If the breathing does not normalize, giver more four puffs.
  • If there are no changes continue giving four puffs until the emergency service provider arrives. In case the victim has severe asthma attack provide seven to nine puffs after every five minutes.

Monitor the victim until the emergency service provider arrives. If you recognize drowsiness, this means that the problem may be getting worse. You should also not assume that there is some improvement if no wheezing can be heard from the victim. This can also show that the asthma attack is going to another dangerous level.


First Aid for Head Injuries

February 13th, 2014 | Posted by vanfirstaid in First Aid Injury Assessment - (Comments Off on First Aid for Head Injuries)
how to dress head injuries

Dressing head injuries

Head injuries refer to any kind of trauma that leads to injury of the brain, skull or the scalp. The injury can either be minor or serious injuries that damage the brain or even cause death. The injury can be open or closed depending on whether there is penetration of the skull. Closed head injury is when there is no penetration, while an open injury occurs when the skull is broken because of the impact leading to the injury. Some of the major causes of head injuries include traffic accidents, physical assault or accidents at home or while playing games. In order to give effective first aid you first need to know the symptoms involved. Some of the signs may be experienced instantly while others may take time.

Symptoms of Head Injuries

  • Fracture of the skull
  • Swelling or bleeding of the skull
  • Pain in the spinal cord especially near the head
  • Concussions

By understanding the symptoms, you will be in a position to offer effective first aid. It is important to call for medical help if the victim shows the following symptoms.

  • Abnormal behavior
  • Stiff neck
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Lose of consciousness
  • Unable to move leg or arm or
  • Gets sleepy.

You can also apply the following first aid steps.

  • Call emergency service provider or 911.
  • If the person is having problems to breath, start rescue breathing if you know how to do it.
  • In case the victim is breathing well and the heart is beating normally, offer assistance as if there is a spinal injury. Ensure that the head and neck are stable by putting your hands on both sides of the victim’s head. Make sure that the head is aligned with the spine and do not allow any movement as you wait for emergency service provider to arrive.
  • Use the supplies in your first aid kit to stop any bleeding. Do this by placing a clean bandage or piece of cloth on the wound. Excess bleeding may soak the cloth, do not remove it, but put an additional cloth on it.
  • Some head injuries lead to the fracture of the skull. Therefore, ensure you do not apply any form of pressure on the bleeding area.
  • In case the victim is vomiting, you need to prevent chocking by ensuring that the body acts as one unit without any movement. This will also protect the spine that may also be injured in the process.
  • Place ice packs on every part that may be swollen.

First Aid for Snakebites: Signs, Symptoms

December 23rd, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in First Aid Injury Assessment | Poisons - (Comments Off on First Aid for Snakebites: Signs, Symptoms)
first aid, snakebite

helping snake bite victim

Being bitten by a snake can be life threatening, but this is not always the case. Some snakes are not venomous, and hence most victims can survive the attack. However, it is important to know how to identify snakebites and the first aid steps to take when trying to help a bite victim.

Signs and Symptoms to Look Out for

Victims of snakebites need emergency medical help, especially in the case of poisonous snakes. How fast the victim receives help can mean the difference between life and death. Sometimes a snake may bite you when there is no one around to help. Whether a snake bites your or someone else, it is important to know how to identify this kind of attack. The main signs and symptoms to look out for are:

  • A pair of bit marks at the wound
  • Swelling and redness around the puncture wound
  • Serious pain around the wound
  • Blurred Vision
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Increased perspiration
  • Numb tingling on the face and limbs

How to Administer Snake Bite First Aid

It is imperative to dial 911 or call for an ambulance after a snake attack incident. The following is what one should do to help a snakebite victim as emergency help arrives.

  • Make sure not to panic. The victim should be moved away from the snake to prevent further attacks.
  • The activity level of the victim should be minimized. This will reduce the rate at which the venom spreads in the body.
  • The bite or wound must be placed lower below the level of the heart. This will also help to reduce circulation to the bite area.
  • If you are sure that the snake is not poisons, apply puncture wound first aid.
  • It is important to know what type of snake was behind the attack.  Hence, look at the color and shape of the snake so that you can give this information to medical personnel when they arrive.

There are certain things that could exacerbate the victim’s condition and hence you should avoid them. For instance, do not:

  • Suck out the venom with your mouth. Not only is this dangers to you but the bacterial in your mouth might infect the wound.
  • Take alcohol or a painkiller.
  • Apply ice on the wound.
  • Tie a tight bandage around or near the wound.
  • Try to catch or kill the snake if you are untrained on how to do so as this could put you in danger.

Keep in mind that is vital to help medical personnel know what kind of snake bit the victim. If possible, take a picture of the snake, as this will help the doctor to choose the right anti-venom. In case you live in an area where snakes are common, it is use to have a snakebite first aid kit around.

A chest injury refers to an injury that causes damage any structure in the chest. Minor forms of injuries to the chest include small injuries to the skin such as bruises, while severe forms of injuries to the chest may include damage to the internal organs such as the heart or the lungs. Injuries to the soft tissue of the chest may include lacerations, stab wounds, puncture wounds and abrasions.

A person with a chest injury may have bruising along with chest pain, chest swelling and chest wall tenderness.

Treatment for chest injury often depends on how severe the damage to the chest is. General treatment options may include cold compresses, rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication or narcotic pain medication for pain. Often rib fractures require narcotic pain medication for short-term use

Chest Injuries

Chest Injuries

only. Your doctor may also advise deep breathing exercises to reduce the risk of incurring pneumonia and atelectasis.

Important Disclaimer: this post on chest injuries, signs, symptoms, causes and treatment is for learning purposes only. When in doubt contact a medical professional or learn more about recognizing and managing these emergencies by enrolling in first aid and CPR courses through St Mark James.


Causes of chest injury may include the following:

  • Motor vehicle or car accidents
  • Altercations
  • Falls
  • Sports injuries – especially contact sports injuries
  • Occupational injuries
  • Industrial injuries
  • Gunshot wounds – puncture wounds
  • Stab or knife wounds – puncture wounds

Types of chest injuries include:

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of chest injury may include:

  • Mild chest pain
  • Chest pain while breathing
  • Chest pain while coughing
  • Worsening pain with movement
  • Sharp chest pain
  • Tenderness of the chest – breast tenderness or tenderness of the chest wall
  • Chest contusions – bruising to the chest wall
  • Mild breathing difficulties
  • Swelling of the chest wall
  • Back pain

Severe chest injury may cause the following symptoms:

  • Fainting
  • Deformed chest
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing – severe – use of accessory muscles to support breathing
  • Nasal flaring
  • Rib retractions


General treatment for chest injury includes cold compresses, rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication for pain and deep breathing exercises. Many casualties, however, find it difficult to breathe deeply due to the increasing pain while breathing. It is important to note that deep breathing is very important in case you have a chest injury as it reduces the risk of pneumonia and atelectasis. Pain medication can be taken by these patients who are no able to breathe deeply due to the pain.

Severe chest injuries may occur due to rib fractures or damage to the vital internal organs such as the heart and the lungs. Treatment for severe chest injuries may include oxygen therapy and surgical repair of damaged tissues of the chest.

Treatment options for chest injury may include:

  • Cold compresses – apply every 2-3 hours for 20 minutes
  • Rest
  • Deep breathing
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication for pain
  • Narcotic pain medication for short term use only
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Surgery to repair damaged tissues in the chest

Additional treatment measures include:

  • Stop smoking and avoid passive smoking
  • Perform deep breathing exercises for every 4 hours
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects
  • Take medication as directed by your health car provider and avoid skipping doses

Learn More

To learn more about minor and severe emergencies involving chest pain and injuries sign up for first aid and CPR training courses through workplace approved.

Related Video

Other Articles You May Like


Managing Back pain

March 18th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Muscle Injuries - (0 Comments)

Back pain refers to any form of discomfort or pain in a person’s back. Back pain is usually caused by injuries to the back, inflammation of the bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, disk or spinal cord in the back. Back pain occurs due to irritation or inflammation of the bones, or any disorder in the organs of the chest or abdomen is rare. The most common cause of back pain is acute lumbar strain.

A person having back pain may experience symptoms depending on the cause of back pain. Generally people may suffer from stiffness of the back, swelling and tenderness on the back muscles along with back pain. More severe symptoms may include back pain that radiates towards the leg, resulting in leg

Back Pain

Back Pain

weakness, leg numbness, urinary incontinence etc. Severe back pain may also cause the person to collapse, faint, experience high fever, excessive sweating, chest pain and abdominal pain.

Disclaimer: the material posted on this page on managing back pain is for learning purposes only. To learn about recognizing and managing skeletal and muscular injuries sign up for first aid and CPR training.


Back pain is caused due to the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Overwork
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Back injury
  • Back strain
  • Back sprain
  • Coccydynia – tailbone pain
  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Disk herniation
  • Dysmenorrhea –menstrual cramps
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Herpes zoster
  • Pregnancy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Urinary tract infection

Rare causes of back pain include:

  • Addison’s disease
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Bladder cancer
  • Bone cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Conus medullaris syndrome
  • Chordoma
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Dissecting thoracic aneurysm
  • Ependymoma
  • Endometriosis
  • Heart attack
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Kidney stones
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • Paget’s disease
  • Polymyositis
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rickets
  • Pyelonephritis
  • Scoliosis
  • Renal cell carcinoma
  • Scoliosis
  • Sickle cell crisis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal cord tumor
  • Uterine caner
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Vertebral compression fracture

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of back pain include:

  • Back pain that worsens with movement
  • Muscle pain around the spine
  • Back stiffness
  • Back pain that resolves with rest
  • Back pain does not interfere with daily activities
  • Back tenderness

Signs and symptoms of severe back pain include:

  • Back pain in children
  • Back pain in elderly people with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes and elderly with a history of abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Fever
  • Fainting
  • Difficulty walking
  •  Difficulty urinating
  • Inability to walk
  • Numbness in the buttock or groin
  • Leg numbness – unilateral
  • Pain that radiates to the legs
  • Unusual urine color – red or pink urine
  • Severe flank pain
  • Severe back pain
  • Weakness of the leg


Treatment may depend on the underlying cause of the back pain. Mild pain caused by back sprain or strain may involve treatment options such as rest, keeping in mind that prolonged bed rest may worsen the condition. The patient may also take anti-inflammatory drugs to control pain. As the back pain improves, physical therapy should be initiated promptly. Consider stretching and strengthening exercises to resolve symptoms of back pain for speedy recovery. While most mild back pains improve within 1-2 weeks, severe back pain may take several months. Sometimes surgery may be required to repair the damage causing severe back pain.

Follow the treatment steps given below for quick recovery from back pain:

1. Rest

  • Avoid physical activities that may trigger back pain or worsen it
  • Avoid prolonged bed rest
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects
  • Resume walking once back pain begins to resolve

2. Cold compress

  • Apply cold compresses on the back for 20-30 minutes. This should be done every 1-2 hours

3. Warm compress

  • Apply warm compresses for back pain without physical injury
  • Apply warm compress for 20-30 minutes. this should be repeated every 1-2 hours after the first 3 days of onset

4. Exercise

  • After the first 3 days begin exercising
  • Perform back stretching exercises
  • Perform back range of motion exercises

5. Take pain medication

  • Take over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to control pain

Other treatment options may include maintaining good posture, losing weight if you are overweight and taking medication as directed by your health care provider.

Learn More

To learn more about how to prevent, recognize and manage back injuries sign up for first aid and CPR training with a credible workplace approved provider.

Related Video

Know More About Crush Injury

February 25th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Skeletal Injuries - (0 Comments)

Crush injuries result when certain parts of the body are subjected to a high

Crush Injury

Crush Injury First Aid

degree of pressure or force, usually when the body is squeezed between two immobile or heavy objects. Damaged caused by injuries include bleeding, bruising, fracture, laceration, secondary infection, nerve injury, wounds, and/or compartment syndrome (increased pressure in a leg or arm leading to severe nerve, muscle, tissue or blood vessel damage).

Crush injuries result from many different situations that include occupational injuries, motor vehicle accidents, mining accidents and other industrial accidents. For crush injury syndrome to occur, it must involve a large area, such as the entire arm or thigh, and blood circulation towards the area has been obstructed. Moreover, the force or pressure applied must be present for some time before crush injury syndrome can occur. However, not all crush injuries actually progress into crush injury syndrome.

First aid for crush injuries

Initiate basic first aid procedures (register for training here). Quickly survey the scene and look for possible dangers. Ensure your personal safety and that of the casualty. Call 911 or your local services and ask for help.

Assess the condition of the victim. If it safe to remove the crushing force, do so. Keep the victim comfortable and continuously monitor condition. In the past, tourniquet was frequently used for crush injuries but it is not recommended. The victim may appear conscious and alert; however their condition can deteriorate quickly, so be sure to monitor victim closely while waiting for emergency services to arrive.

Crush Injury Syndrome

In case of a crush injury and pressure is not released immediately, such as when the body part is trapped, the severed body part may progress into crush injury syndrome.

Crush injury syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition. In this condition, toxins produced by the body are trapped by the compressive item. Removing the pressure can cause the sudden release of toxins into the system potentially overwhelming the kidneys – the organs mainly responsible for clearing body toxins. Crush injury syndrome may develop within one hour after a severe crush injury, but normally takes around 4 hours.

In addition, releasing the compressing pressure or force can cause fluid to leak into the injured area, resulting in shock. If not properly treated, both crush injury syndrome and shock can lead to fatal consequences. Therefore, it is recommended that experts remove the compressive item. Ideally, the casualty is given fluids and medications by rescue services before removing the compressing force.

Preventing Crush Injury Syndrome

Crush injury syndrome can actually be prevented if persons suffering from crushing injuries are provided with proper first aid immediately. Here are two important things to remember when caring for victims of crush injury:

  • If the body part of the victim has been trapped for LESS THAN 10 MINUTES and you can safely remove the compressive object, carefully remove the object and provide first aid for injuries sustained.
  • If the body part of the victim has been trapped for LONGER THAN 10 MINUTES, call for emergency services and explain the situation. DO NOT attempt to release the pressure or remove the object. Keep the victim warm and comfortable. Provide reassurance while waiting for rescue services.

Learn More

To learn more about recognizing and helping victims of crush injuries enrol in workplace approved first aid training (more information).

Related Video

First Aid Management of Hypovolemic Shock

February 16th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Secondary Survey - (0 Comments)

A  is a condition in which excessive blood and fluid loss makes the heart incapable of pumping sufficient blood to the vital organs of the body.

Hypovelmic shock

Hypovelmic shock

Causes of hypovolemic shock

When your body loses 1/5 of the blood present in your body, it goes into a hypovolemic shock.

Some of the most common causes of excessive blood loss include:

The amount of blood does not only drop due to bleeding, excessive fluid loss from the following causes may also lead to shock:

  • Diarrhea
  • Burns
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive sweating


  • Cool, clammy, pale skin
  • Sweating
  • Rapid breathing
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Little or no urination
  • Unconsciousness

The severity of the shock depends on the amount of blood being lost from the body.


Signs of shock indicated by diagnostic tests include:

  • Low body temperature
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid yet weak pulse


Individuals that have taken workplace approved first aid training will know how to provide basic care. This portion of the page will describe the steps taught to candidates enrolled in standard and emergency first aid programs.

If you see a person going through a shock, call an ambulance immediately. While you wait, follow these steps:

  • Make sure the casualty is comfortable. Cover him with a blanket so that he is warm—to prevent hypothermia.
  • Lay the person on the ground and elevate his feet above heart level to encourage circulation. Take caution while treating a person with a head, back or neck injury—do not move the person if he has gone through any of these injuries unless it is for his own safety.
  • Do not give anything to drink or eat.
  • If shock occurs due to an allergic reaction, remove the trigger and treat the specific allergic reactions, if you are trained to do so.

Once the casualty is hospitalized, he will be treated by replacing his body fluids through an intravenous line. Medication such as dopamine or epinephrine will be given to encourage blood pressure.

Even though hypovolemic shock is an emergency situation, symptoms and severe effects depend on the following factors:

  • The amount of blood being lost from the body
  • The rate at which blood or fluids are lost from the body
  • The underlying cause—injury or illness—causing the loss of blood/fluid from the body
  • Medication being taken for any chronic illnesses such as kidney, lung or heart disease and diabetes.

Casualties undergoing milder cases of shock recover much quickly than people who suffer severe cases of shock. In some cases, death may also result.


The following are the complications that may result from shock:

  • Brain damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Heart attack
  • Gangrene of the legs or arms
  • Death, in extreme cases

Related Video

Recovery Position

January 28th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Basic First Aid Skills | Secondary Survey - (0 Comments)

This position will help an unconscious or semi-unconscious casualty to breathe and allow his body fluids to drain from the natural openings of the body such as the mouth, ears and nose so that they are not choked on while being breathed in. After you have administered first aid and have completed everything in the emergency action plan that comes before treating unconsciousness, move the person so that he rests in the recovery position while help is on its way.

Do not allow the person to rest in the recovery person—in fact, do not even recovery positionmove him if the injury has affected the neck, spine or hip areas.

How to place your victim into the Recovery Position

For adults, follow these steps to move the casualty to a recovery position:

  1. Allow the casualty to rest on his back. Kneel down beside the casualty and position the arm closest to you, extended straight out from the casualty’s body. The arm should make a 90 degree angle with the person’s back.
  2. Move the arm that is farthest from you so that the back of the casualty’s hand is placed next to his cheek that is near you.
  3. Grab the casualty’s knee that is farthest from you and bend it.
  4. Secure the casualty’s head with one hand and carefully, roll the casualty over by pulling the knee you just bent towards the ground.
  5. Tilt the head slightly to permit the airway to open.
  6. Make sure that the casualty’s far hand is under his near cheek. The other arm should remain extended.
  7. Cover the casualty with a blanket so that he is kept warm (unless he is suffering from a heat illness or fever). Stay with the casualty until medical assistance has arrived.

For infants, the recovery position is different. Follow these steps:

  1. While carrying the infant, make sure he is face down on your arm.
  2. Tilt the baby gently so that his face is lower than the body.
  3. Secure the baby’s head and neck with your hand and make sure the mouth and nose are clear.
  4. Wait until help arrives.

More Information

To learn how to place a victim in the recovery position or how to manage unconscious patients in a variety of circumstances using “hands on” training enrol in a workplace approved first aid course near you.

Related Video to Recovery Position


Preparing First Aid Kit For Your Car

January 10th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Being Prepared - (0 Comments)

It is estimated that around 1.2 million people die each year throughout the

First Aid Kit For Your Car

It is important to have the proper equipment to keep yourself safe if ever stuck on the side of the road and needing to leave your vehicle.

world due to road traffic accidents, making it one of the ten leading causes of deaths worldwide. Road crashes are even more common in the US, Canada and other developed countries, occupying fifth spot of the ten common causes of deaths and injuries.

Carrying basic first aid kit in your vehicle can help you respond properly in case of an accident. It provides you with the essential, life-saving supplies necessary for first aid treatment. In addition, a well-equipped first aid kit can ensure comfort during long hauls.

Your car first aid kit must contain supplies that will ensure:

1.   Personal safety

Before you help at the scene of a road accident, you should ensure your own safety. Your first aid kit should have a combination of the following warning equipment:

  • Flashlight
  • High visibility strap or jacket
  • Hazard warning triangle.

Aside from protecting you from oncoming traffic, these warning devices also help call for help.

2.   Warmth for the injured victim

  • Blanket or thermal blanket

There is very little thing that you can do to help a fatally injured casualty other than preventing shock. Basically, keeping the injured person warm is an essential first aid which can actually be life-saving. Be sure to have at least one blanket in your car emergency kit. Aside from providing warmth, blankets can also be used as splint to immobilize body parts (such as in fractured bones) or as hammock for transferring victims.

3.   Treatment for injuries

The trunk of your car has very limited space thus you should keep your first aid supplies to the minimum. Here are some basic first aid treatments that you must bring:

  • Adhesive and non-adhesive bandages
  • Triangular bandages
  • Sterile dressings of assorted sizes (small, medium and large)
  • Hypoallergenic tape
  • Disposable gloves and face mask/shield
  • Pen and a notepad
  • List of emergency phone numbers

4.   Supplies for long travels

In addition to carrying these basic first aid supplies, you may also want to consider bringing useful items for long, family journeys that include:

  • Baby wipes or wet pads
  • Emesis bags
  • Cold and warmth emergency packs
  • Alcohol wipes
  • OTC remedies for common ailments such as acetaminophen
  • A week’s supply of prescription medicine (if you have any major health condition)

How to store your first aid kit

Choose a waterproof container or bag that is huge enough to hold all your first aid supplies. It is recommended that you use a container with clear compartments so you can easily see the items. Clearly label each pocket or compartment to remind you where supplies are stored. Consider bringing a simple, step-by-step first aid manual.

Store your first aid kit in the main part of the car, usually in the trunk. It should be easily accessible but firmly bolted down to avoid it from accidentally dislodging in case of sudden impact.

Learn More

To learn more about recognizing, managing and helping with first aid during an emergency enrol in a standard first aid course near you. We have providers located throughout Canada in convenient locations at the best prices. Check out our location page to learn more.

Related Video

First-Aid Management of Electricity-Related Injuries

December 31st, 2012 | Posted by vanfirstaid in First Aid for Burns - (0 Comments)

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