Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Steps to prevent electrical injury depend primarily on the age of people involved.
For children younger than 12 years, most electrical injuries are caused by power cords. Inspect your power cords and extension cords. Replace any cords that have broken or cracked external covering and any cord that has exposed wire.
Do not allow children to play with any electrical cord.
Limit use of extension cords and be sure the cord is rated for the current (measured in amps) that will be drawn by the device being powered.
Use outlet covers to protect infants from exploring electrical outlets.
Update old, ungrounded electrical outlets to grounded (3-prong) systems. Replace outlets near any water (sink, tub) with fused (GFCI) outlets.
In children older than 12 years, most electrical injuries result from exploring and activities around high-power systems. Explain to adolescent children that they should not climb on power towers, play near transformer systems, or explore electrified train rails or other electrical systems.
Among adults, use of common sense can help reduce electrical injury. People who work with electricity should always check that the power is off before working on electrical systems. Avoid use of any electrical device near water. Be careful of standing in water or when working with electricity.
Use caution when outdoors during a thunderstorm containing lightning. Protect yourself from lightning strikes by seeking shelter in a sturdy building or crouching low and away from trees and metal objects if caught outdoors.