Hiller Know-How: Detecting an Electrical Emergency

Did the electricity suddenly go out in your home? Has a family member been electrocuted or shocked? Knowing what situations constitute an electrical emergency can help you figure out what exactly to do—and potentially save a life.

In any kind of emergency, including electrical, a professional should always be called. However, it is helpful to know exactly what situations are emergencies so as to prevent harm. If you know what to look for in an emergency situation, you can safely remove your family from the situation before anyone gets hurt, and then you can call for help. Below are some tips for spotting an electrical emergency:


  • If your electricity goes out, first try and reset your circuit breakers. If the problem was just a short-circuit in your home’s electrical system, the power should turn back on.
  • Check the other homes in your neighborhood—if they are also dark, you are experiencing a power outage. In that case you should:
    • Turn off all your major appliances. This will protect them from any surges as the power is being turned back on.
    • Do not open your refrigerator or freezer—items will keep cool for a while if the doors remain shut.
    • When the power does go back on, wait a few minutes before using lights and appliances.
  • Be prepared—always keep flashlights and a battery-operated radio in an easy-access location in your home (and make sure every family member knows the location).


  • If someone inside your home comes into contact with an energized circuit, do not touch them.
  • If possible, turn the power off. If you can’t turn off the power, try to separate the person from the electrical current with a non-conductor (i.e. rope, dry wood—wooden broom handle or board).
  • After separating the person from the electrical source:
    • Check their breathing and heartbeat. If the person is not breathing and has no heartbeat, call 911 immediately and then start CPR.
    • Keep the victim lying down—if they are unconscious keep them on their side.
    • Cover the victim to maintain body heat.
    • Treat any burns with cold water.


  • Call 911.
  • NEVER use water for an electrical fire.
  • If possible, cut power from your home’s control panel.
  • If the fire is small enough, use baking soda or a dry chemical fire extinguisher.
  • If someone catches fire from an electrical fire, do not run. Stop, drop and roll—making sure to keep your face covered with your hands. If a family member near you catches fire, push them to the ground, rolling them over and over while smothering the flames out with a blanket.



  • If you or a family member detects a faint odor of gas, it could just mean an appliance light needs relighting. However, if the odor persists, open all windows and doors and call the gas company immediately.
  • If the smell of gas is strong, exit your home right away. DO NOT turn on any electrical appliances, or any light switches on or off.
  • Do not use the telephone.


In any life-threatening emergency situation, make sure to call 911. If you experience an electrical emergency in your home, Hiller-Electric will be happy to send professional assistance. We offer 24/7 Emergency Service, so do not hesitate to call us at (402) 339-0524.

photo credit: SmartSignBrooklyn via photopin cc