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LADWP Newsroom


DATE: August 22, 2012 11:34:46 PM PDT

LADWP Letterhead


LOS ANGELES — Following the tragic deaths of two women in Valley Village Wednesday night who died after making electric contact at the scene of a traffic accident on Magnolia Avenue, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reminds all of its customers to use safety and extraordinary caution near downed power lines and light poles.  Power lines carry thousands of volts of electricity and anytime a wire, pole or light stand is down it should be treated as "LIVE".  Power lines downed in water pose an even more dangerous threat to innocent bystanders who may not know that the water is electrified and deadly.

"Our hearts go out to those who were injured and to the families of the good samaritans who lost their lives so tragically in Valley Village tonight," said Joe Ramallo, LADWP spokesperson.  "This tragedy gives us all pause and serves as a powerful reminder to always use extraordinary caution near downed power lines." 

To the unsuspecting person, power lines and light poles may look harmless enough. Yet coming in contact with power lines or other electrical equipment can cause serious injuries and death. The lines often carry thousands of volts of electricity. That magnitude of electricity can seriously harm or even kill a person who touches or even comes close to a wire. The hazard is the same whether the person touches a wire directly or does so with any object.

When faced with a downed power line, the LADWP recommends the following electric safety tips:

  • Never touch a downed or dangling wire or anyone or anything in contact with it. Always assume a downed line is still energized. Report any downed power lines immediately by calling the LADWP at 1-800-DIAL-DWP. If you or someone else is in danger, call 911.

  • Don't touch anyone in contact with a power source: you could be killed or seriously injured. Instead, turn off power at the control panel if possible - then call for help and tell them it's an electrical injury.

  • If a power line falls on your car, stay in the car and wait for help.  If standing water is present, stay in your car and wait for help.  If you must get out, make sure you do not touch the metal parts of the car and the ground at the same time.  The safest exit method is to open the door, stand on the door sill and jump free without touching the car.

  • Stay away from metal fences, such as a chain link fence, as there may be a power line down and touching the fence somewhere beyond your sight.

  • If there is damage to the connection from the power pole to your house, you should go to the electrical box and turn off the main switch or shut off the fuse switch. Again, always assume electric lines are live.

  • In case of an electrical emergency, stay calm and think before you act. Don't become a victim while trying to help others. Call 911.

  • If someone is shocked or not breathing, apply cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR.) Then cover the victim with a blanket, keep their head low and get medical attention.

To watch the LADWP’s short informational video on electric safety, please click here.  To view the full, five part series of short LADWP electric safety videos, please click here.

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For more information contact:
Joseph Ramallo
Communications Director, LADWP
(213) 367-1361