Mylar balloons can complement any gift and brighten up anyone’s celebration, but they can also cause unexpected power outages if they are not properly tied down.
Balloon-related outages typically peak in June and July, during graduations, Father’s Day celebrations and Fourth of July parties. The helium-filled metallic balloons can accidentally drift into high-voltage lines, causing outages that can last a few minutes to hours.
“It’s imperative that they have a weight,” said Bill Messner, Southern California Edison (SCE)’s manager, Safety Operations. “Try to keep it indoors and never try to release it.”
In the last several years, SCE has experienced nearly 2,000 power outages caused by balloons. Last year, there were 580 balloon-related outages, the highest since 2007.
Here are some simple safety tips for handling metallic balloons:
- Never attach streamers — latex or metallic — to any balloon.
- Be sure to secure a helium-filled balloon with a weight heavy enough to prevent it from drifting away and coming into contact with high voltage lines. Please note that it’s unlawful to sell metallic balloons without an attached weight.
- Keep your balloons indoors and never release them outside.
- Remember to never attempt to retrieve a balloon or any foreign object that comes into contact with power lines. Call SCE at 800-611-1911 and 911 to report the problem.
SCE has more safety tips to use around your home to keep your loved ones safe. For more information, visit SCE.com/staysafe.