Electrical contact incidents

Kris passed away September 28, 2016. He was passionate about sharing his story and helping young burn survivors, through the BC Professional Firefighter’s Young Burn Survivors camp. Share his story with your friends and family, and help everyone stay safe.

Electrical accidents can injure, even kill

We all rely on electricity every day, but it can be dangerous if used incorrectly or in the case of an accident.

Electrical current can travel through people. If someone has been hit with electricity (electrocuted) and they're still touching the source, stay back and call 911.  

If someone receives an electrical shock:

  • Don't touch someone who's been hit with electricity if they're still touching the source of the electricity (such as a power line, transformer or electrical box). The current will travel through them into you.
  • Call 911.
  • If there's a fallen power line, keep yourself and others back at least 10 metres (33 feet), the length of a standard city bus, and call 911.

Common causes of electrical accidents at home and at work

  • Home wiring: Always use a certified electrician to inspect and upgrade any wiring around your home. Learn to use electricity safely.
  • Hitting power lines near your home: Working around your home (such as tree trimming or cleaning your gutters) can put you in close proximity to power lines. Maintain a safe distance from power lines.
  • Accidents involving high-voltage lines: Trades workers like roofers, painters and other trades can be working close to high-voltage lines. Know the 3 Keys of Electrical Safety and maintain your limits of approach.

Getting too close to a high-voltage line one night changed everything for Eric. Watch his story.


If you see a downed or damaged power line or pole:

Always consider fallen or damaged equipment to be live and dangerous even if it's not smoking, sparking or making a buzzing sound. Stay back at least 10 metres (at least a bus-length) and dial 911.  

See our visual guide to fallen power lines.