From in person to virtual, celebrations from Mother’s Day to proms to birthdays have continued during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, despite the virtual celebrations, so have the power outages and electrical safety hazards caused by adrift metallic balloons, though fewer in number but still troubling.
Graduations, however, are upon us and the May and June festivities always drive a peak in the release of the helium-filled balloons that can drift for miles and weeks before destructively ending up in power lines and electrical equipment.
Southern California Edison — which experiences on average nearly three balloon-caused outages daily, including 1,022 last year — has seen that number rise to nearly four outages a day in May and nearly five a day in June over the last five years.
Metallic balloon can endanger public safety and potentially cause a power outage. When metallic balloons make contact with electrical equipment, the balloons’ metallic coating is the conductor that leads to short-circuits, outages and sometimes downed power lines — as they did 98 times last year — potentially leading to wildfires, serious injuries and property damage. Metallic balloons should never be released outdoors, they should always be kept tied to a weight as state law requires to prevent them from even unintentionally floating away.
SCE reminds customers to stay away and call 911 if they ever see downed lines, continues its safety ad campaign to educate customers about the hazards of released metallic balloons and supports the state’s secure-is-safe laws against their release.
Metallic Balloon Safety Tips
- Metallic balloons should never be released outdoors.
- Metallic balloons should always be tied to a weight.
- Stores and vendors should only sell properly weighted balloons.
- Keep the balloons indoors when possible.
- Cut the knot or puncture balloons before disposing of them.
- Never try to retrieve balloons tangled in power lines or electrical equipment. Call 911 instead.
More on metallic balloon safety can be found at on.sce.com/staysafe.