Don't Let Metallic Balloons Ruin The Party: Tips for Using them Safely
While Mylar balloons have increased in popularity as party and celebration decorations, they have also become the cause of many power outages. With summer celebrations in full swing, FirstEnergy is warning customers about the public safety risks associated with helium-filled metallic balloons.
“These balloons are attractive and relatively inexpensive decorations, but their metallic coating conducts electricity and poses a risk to our electric system,” said Lisa Rouse, director of outage management at FirstEnergy. “Stray balloons that drift into high-voltage equipment often cause power outages, fires and other safety issues that impact our system.”
Nearly 110 Mylar balloon-related outages occurred across FirstEnergy’s six-state service area in 2018, with about 60 similar outages recorded so far this year due to the balloons.
To help ensure outdoor celebrations are enjoyed responsibly, customers are encouraged to keep the following balloon safety tips in mind:
- Use caution and avoid celebrating with metallic balloons near overhead electric lines.
- Securely tie helium-filled metallic balloons to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away. Do not remove the weight until the balloons are deflated.
- Puncture and deflate metallic balloons once they are no longer in use because they can stay inflated for several weeks. Never release them into the sky!
- Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or toy that becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone and immediately call FirstEnergy at 888-544-4877 to report the problem.
- Stay far away from a downed or low-hanging power line. Always assume downed lines are energized and dangerous. Report them ASAP by calling 911.
"Electricity allows our customers to enjoy many activities, but it is important to remember that many summertime activities can present unexpected hazards near power lines," said Rouse. “Knowing where our equipment is and taking steps to avoid contacting it helps ensure a safe and enjoyable summer for all.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Siburkis, (330) 203-8850