FIRST AID FOR ELECTRIC SHOCK.

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Shock is a common occupational hazard associated with working with electricity. A person who has stopped breathing is not necessarily dead but is in immediate danger. Life is dependent on oxygen, which is breathed into the lungs and then carried by the blood to every body cell. Since body cells can not store oxygen and since the blood can hold only a limited amount (and only for a short time), death will surely result from continued lack of breathing.

However, the heart may continue to beat for some time after breathing has stopped, and the blood may still be circulated to the body cells. Since the blood will, for a short time, contain a small supply of oxygen, the body cells will not die immediately. For a very few minutes, there is some chance that the person's life may be saved.

The process by which a person who has stopped breathing can be saved is called artificial ventilation (respiration). The purpose of artificial respiration is to force air out of the lungs and into the lungs, in rhythmic alternation, until natural breathing is reestablished. Records show that seven out of ten victims of electric shock were revived when artificial respiration was started in less than three minutes. After three minutes, the chances of revival decrease rapidly.

Artificial ventilation should be given only when the breathing has stopped. Do not give artificial ventilation to any person who is breathing naturally. You should not assume that an individual who is unconscious due to electrical shock has stopped breathing. To tell if someone suffering from an electrical shock is breathing, place your hands on the person's sides at the level of the lowest ribs. If the victim is breathing, you will usually be able to feel movement.

Once it has been determined that breathing has stopped, the person nearest the victim should start the artificial ventilation without delay and send others for assistance and medical aid. The only logical, permissible delay is that required to free the victim from contact with the electricity in the quickest, safest way. This step, while it must be taken quickly, must be done with great care; otherwise, there may be two victims instead of one.

In the case of portable electric tools, lights, appliances, equipment, or portable outlet extensions, the victim should be freed from contact with the electricity by turning off the supply switch or by removing the plug from its receptacle. If the switch or receptacle can not be quickly located, the suspected electrical device may be pulled free of the victim. Other persons arriving on the scene must be clearly warned not to touch the suspected equipment until it is deenergized.

The injured person should be pulled free of contact with stationary equipment (such as a bus bar) if the equipment can not be quickly deenergized or if the survival of others relies on the electricity and prevents immediate shutdown of the circuits.

This can be done quickly and easily by carefully applying the following procedures:

1. Protect yourself with dry insulating material.

2. Use a dry board, belt, clothing, or other available nonconductive material to free the victim from electrical contact. Do NOT touch the victim until the source of electricity has been removed.

3. Once the victim has been removed from the electrical source, it should be determined whether the person is breathing. If the person is not breathing, a method of artificial respiration is used.

Vocabulary:

The lungs -

The body cell -

Lack of breathing -

The victim -

To revival -

Unconscious -

Person's sides -

The rib -

Without delay -

To be freed from -

The plug -

The receptacle -

On the scene -

A bus bar -

To rely -

To shutdown - ,




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