LADWP Urges Caution Around Power Lines During Winter Storms

January 5, 2007
LADWP Urges Caution Around Power Lines During Winter Storms
LOS ANGELES — With high winds expected to continue through this evening and tomorrow, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) urges customers to take special precautions if they encounter a downed power line or a power outage.
As of 2 p.m. today, more than 40 LADWP crews (more than 160 employees) were working to restore power to about 32,000 customers scattered throughout the city who lost power during the windstorm. Among the hardest hit areas are West Los Angeles, Westchester, Mid-city, Mt. Olympus, North Hollywood, Sunland Tujunga, and Studio City.
“Crews are working around the clock to restore power as quickly and safely possible,” said LADWP General Manager Ron Deaton.
Deaton said the safety of the public, as well as electrical workers and other LADWP and City of Los Angeles field crews are the highest priority.
“The message is don’t go near power lines, whether they are on poles or have fallen on the ground,” says LADWP General Manager Ron Deaton. “High winds and rain cause havoc for power poles and lines which are often knocked down by fallen trees or other hazards.
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.
The LADWP recommends the following electric safety tips:
Downed Power Lines

• 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. If you find someone who has been injured, call 911 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 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 – 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.

When the Power Goes Out

• It is especially important to stay calm in the event of a power outage.

• Always keep a flashlight and extra batteries nearby. Never use candles in a power outage or other emergency.

• Turn off and unplug any appliances or other electrical equipment. Unplug heat-producing items such as irons or portable heaters.

• Leave one light turned on so you will know when your power returns. It also helps prevent circuit overloading, which could delay restoration of service.

To report a power outage, call the LADWP 24-hour hotline at 1-800-DIAL-DWP (1-800-342-5397).
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest municipal utility, provides reliable, low-cost water and power services to Los Angeles residents and businesses in an environmentally responsible manner. LADWP services about 1.4 million electric customers and 680,000 water customers in Los Angeles.

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