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LADWP Newsroom

Safety Around Downed Power Lines

To the unsuspecting person, power lines look harmless enough. Yet coming in contact with power lines or other electrical equipment can cause serious injuries or even 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.

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 - 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 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.