Thursday, February 11, 2016

Love is in the air, but party balloons shouldn't be

Dimming the lights on Valentine's Day can set a romantic mood. A total power blackout caused by a party balloon – not so much.

Party balloons can provide a nice romantic touch. However, they also could cause serious safety issues if not handled properly.

Helium-filled metallic or Mylar balloons caused more than a dozen power outages affecting more than 21,000 of our customers in 2015. The metallic surface of the balloon can act as a conductor that can create a short circuit in a power line.

“The balloons are basically aluminum foil filled with air,” explains Grant Melcher, one of our troubleshooters.

Melcher has had several experiences with Mylar balloons on power lines. He says that most of the time, the balloons are found on power lines in residential areas. That is cause for great concern because lines could fall across fences or in front of homes.

No matter what the cause, downed power lines can be energized and dangerous. Stay away and tell others to do the same.

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