Electrical Hazards

  1. Mortality -- Incidence of death
  2. Morbidity -- New cases where death is not an outcome, nonfatal injury
  3. Years of Life Lost -- Subtract age of death from life expectancy
  4. Deaths due to trauma in the United States
    1. All external causes of mortality
    2. Motor-Vehicle Crashes
    3. Pedestrian
    4. Motorcycle
    5. Falls
    6. Mechanical forces (struck by object, machinery)
    7. Drowning
    8. Electrical current
    9. Intentional self harm
    10. Assaults (firearms)
  1. Burns
    1. Electrical
      1. Pathophysiology
        1. Ohm’s Law – role of voltage and resistance
        2. Joule’s Law – relationship between heat production, current and resistance.
        3. Body tissues vary in type of resistance to current
        4. Electrical current follows path of least resistance
        5. Severity influenced by
          1. type of voltage of circuit
          2. amperage of current
          3. resistance of the body
          4. pathway of the current
          5. duration of the current
        6. Types of injury
          1. thermal due to burning of clothing, etc
          2. arc-type – causes high skin temperature leading to burns
          3. electrical injury – as it travels through body it heats up causing tissue necrosis with entrance and exit wounds
      2. Special assessment finding
        1. Review previous knowledge
        2. Cardiac arrest
        3. Neuromuscular injuries
          1. peripheral nerve deficit
          2. muscle coordination and strength
        4. Spinal cord involvement/injury
      3. Special management considerations
        1. SCENE SAFETY
        2. Cardiac arrest management
        3. Cervical spine protection
        4. IV fluids if hypotension is present
        5. Transport to appropriate facility
  2. Electrical injury – Lightening strikes
    1. Pathophysiology
      1. Pathophysiology similar to electrical burns
      2. MOI
        1. Direct strike
        2. Side flash “splash”
        3. Ground current or step voltage
        4. Blunt trauma
        5. Contact
      3. Major problem is cardiorespiratory arrest (massive DC countershock)
      4. May cause head trauma, cardiac damage, burns, extremity vasospasm, paresis or parethesias.
    2. Special Assessment considerations
      1. Scene safety
      2. Assess for cardiac arrest
    3. Special management considerations
      1. AVO
      2. Cardiac arrest management
      3. Burn wound care
      4. Transport

Content Creator: Carli Wymore
CAPCE Course Number: 20-EMTP-F3-2303
NJ Course Number: 141153
Total CE Hours: 1
Level: Basic
EMT-CE uses the NEMSES guidelines as the foundation for every course outline.