Flood Controls Channel Safety Circular

November 6, 2000

Los Angeles – When it rains, rivers, debris basins and flood control channels quickly fill-up with water moving at high rates of speed. This creates a potentially life-threatening situation for anyone caught in flood control channels. The public is advised to stay outside fenced areas of flood control channels. Additionally persons should not enter flood control channels even if they are dry. It is against the law. To protect the public and help reduce flood control channel-related accidents and deaths, the Los Angeles Police Department offers the following flood control channel safety tips.


Remain calm;
Conservation of energy is important. Screaming and yelling should be avoided;
Get ready to be rescued, attempt to float on your back with your legs straight and your feet pointed downstream;
Use your legs to keep yourself clear of any obstructions;
Keep your head up so you can see where you are going;

Watch out for obstacles and debris. If a tree or other stationary object is blocking the flood control channel, forcing water over it, try to turnover on your stomach and approach the obstacle head-on, crawling over the top of it. Most victims in swift water currents die when  they get pinned against obstacles, or get trapped in submerged debris and vegetation.


Immediately contact 9-1-1 and advise the emergency operator of your observations;
Always provide the operator with the last location where you saw the victim, and a detailed description of the victim;
Do not jump into the water and attempt to rescue the victim;
Do not try to pull the victim out with your hands, rope or similar device;
Do not attach a rope or anything to yourself and then toss it to the victim in the water, by doing this you will be pulled in by the force of the current;

If possible, throw a flotation device to the victim, such as a boogie board, styrofoam ice chest, basketball or other unattached object.

Commander Sharon Papa, the Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson, stated “The residents of the City of Los Angeles can reduce serious injuries or deaths related to river, debris basin and flood control channel accidents by adhering to the safety tips. The Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works would like everyone to share the safety tips with their family and friends. It always pays to be careful, prepared and aware.”

There are many more helpful hints outlined in the Los Angeles Police Department’s “Flood Control Channel Safety Circular.” For more information, or to obtain copies of the safety circular, contact the Community Liaison/Crime Prevention Unit, at 213-485-3134, or visit our Web Site at www.lapdonline.org and open the “Building Safer Communities icon.

This press release was prepared by Officer Lyle Michelson, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.