At Dodd & Kuendig, our Park City burn injury attorneys have fought to protect the rights of burn survivors, and we have seen the traumatic impact these injuries can have on individuals and their families. For these reasons, we are proud to join the American Burn Association (ABA) in observing National Burn Awareness Week 2021 to fight the pervasiveness of burns in the United States by spreading awareness of how to prevent and treat them. In addition, the week also aims to honor burn survivors and build up robust resources for them to help them recover.
The ABA knows that many different circumstances and actions can serve as the root cause of a burn; thus, National Burn Awareness Week has a different theme every year. From February 7-13, 2021, National Burn Awareness Week’s campaign will focus on “Electrical Safety from Amps to Zap (A to Z).”
Electrical Burns Must Be Taken Seriously
Electricity has, no doubt, become a mainstay of our contemporary society, which means, of course, that more and more people rely on it every day. It is important to remain vigilant around it and remember that if an electrical current comes into contact with skin, the result may be a serious, even fatal, electrical burn.
Complications of Electrical Burns
Electrical burns are particularly dangerous because they can severely damage internal tissues, systems, and organs without doing significant damage to the outermost layer of skin. Additionally, an electrical burn could cause a person to lose consciousness. Therefore, if someone you know suffers an electrical burn and passes out, it is of the utmost importance that you practice caution and call your local emergency medical services immediately.
Treating Electrical Burns
Although some experts say that it is okay to treat a minor electrical burn as a thermal burn (a burn caused by a hot object, such as a hot pan, steam, etc.), it can be difficult for the average person to determine whether the burn was truly minor or not. It is best to see a doctor right after sustaining an electrical burn so they can ascertain whether any internal damage occurred.
Moderate to Severe Burns
If you witness someone else suffer an electrical burn, do not waste any time; call your local emergency services. This is especially true if the person appears to be experiencing the following:
- Cardiac arrest
- Loss of consciousness
- Feelings of confusion
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain and contractions
Next, assess the situation to determine what steps to take next. You can start by asking yourself these questions:
- What was the source of the electrical burn?
Any high-voltage wiring or power source must be handled by professionals; do not attempt to shut it off yourself. Make sure to keep your distance from the source. For instance, stay at least 35 feet away from any downed power lines — stay even farther away if wires appear to be sparking.
- Is the injured person still in contact with the electrical current?
If so, do not touch the injured person. They can conduct the electrical current into your body, putting you in the same position as them.
- Is the injured person in immediate danger?
If so, carefully move the injured person to safety. If not, it is not recommended that you move them unnecessarily.
After you have assessed the situation, take the following actions as you wait for medical help to arrive:
- If possible, shut off the source of electricity. If this is not possible, gently move the source away with a dry, nonconductive object, such as something made of plastic, wood, or cardboard.
- Check to see if the injured person has a pulse. If not, begin CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
- Try your best to ensure that the person does not become chilled.
- If the burn caused any external damage, cover these burned areas with a sterile gauze bandage or clean cloth. Do not use a blanket or towel, as the fibers may stick to the burn wounds and cause further damage and pain.
Electrical Burn Prevention
A few safety and prevention tips to remember include to never approach a downed power line or undertake an electrician’s work when you are not one. Do not take unnecessary risks, such as using an electrical appliance or device near still or running water, sticking metal utensils into toasters or other appliances, using frayed or brittle wires, or leaving electronics plugged in when not in use.
Staunch Burn Awareness Advocates
While many electrical burns could have been prevented, sometimes the party who could have done so is not the injured person themself. If a negligent party caused your electrical burns, our legal team at Dodd & Kuendig will fight to hold them accountable. We understand that nothing can turn back the clock on your injury, but we may be able to recover compensation for what occurred and prevent others from being harmed by the same negligence.
Contact Dodd & Kuendig online today to speak to a Park City, Utah attorney.