Safety First: Electric Shock

Life Ring

During a safety lecture for cadets at the start of Sea Term 2023, time was spent discussing electric shock.  It is important that cadets be aware of what electric shock is, recognize the symptoms of electric shock, and know how to rescue the victim. 

Electric shock takes place when electric current flows through the body.  It can range from simply a mild tingling sensation to death. 

How the body is affected by the electric current depends on three things:

A.  the amount of current that flows

B.  the path that the electric takes as it travels through the victim’s body

C.  the length of time that the shock victim was exposed to the electric current

electric shock safety poster

The 1/C cadets learned that if a person’s skin is dry and unbroken, it resists the electric current.  Moisture reduces the skin’s resistance significantly.  A person’s resistance drops when the skin become moist due to perspiration or if open cuts or burns are present. 

Even if the skin is dry and unbroken, an electric shock can still be fatal. 

A person who has experienced a severe electric shock may become very pale and even appear blue.   His or her pulse may feel weak – or not able to be felt at all. There are often signs of burns and the body may become rigid.  It is important that CPR begins as soon as the power source is shut off or the body is safely removed from the live conductor.

Hopefully, cadets will take every safety precaution when working with and around electricity and never be in a situation where a person experiences an electric shock.  If they are, however, they will recognize the signs and be able to take the proper actions.