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Electric shock safety

(Photograph: Westar uses a "hot trailer" to demonstrate power line safety)

When a human being comes into contact with electricity, the current will try to flow through their body. The current causes different responses, ranging from slight shock to death.

What to do if someone gets severely shocked?

  • Turn off power at the main breaker.
  • Call an ambulance.
  • Don't touch the victim until you are certain there is no live electricity. (Never move someone if they are touching a power line or other high-voltage current.)
  • If the victim is not breathing, begin mouth-to-mouth.
  • If the victim has no pulse, begin CPR.

The chart below shows the relationship between the amount of current and the reaction.

1 mA or less
Slight tingling sensation.
1 mA to 5 mA
Shock is felt, not painful, individuals can let go.
5 mA to 15 mA
Painful shock, individual can let go.
15 mA to 50 mA
Painful shock, muscle control loss, individuals can let go.
50 mA to 150 mA
Extreme pain, respiratory arrest, individuals cannot let go, death is possible.
150 mA to 1,000 mA
The heart stops for duration of shock. Severe burns and muscle contraction.
1,000 mA to 4,300 mA
Ventricular fibrillation.
4,300 mA+ Cardiac arrest, death is probable.


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