PG&E: Be careful using metallic balloons
With graduation season in full swing, Pacific Gas and Electric is reminding people to keep metallic balloons safely secured.
Metallic balloons should be properly weighted down so they are not released into the air. If they come into contact with overhead power lines, metallic or Mylar balloons can disrupt electric service to an entire neighborhood, cause significant damage and potentially result in serious personal injuries. Sometimes these outages interrupt electric service to important facilities such as hospitals, schools and traffic lights.
Last year, metallic balloons that drifted into PG&E power lines caused more than 300 outages affecting electric service to nearly 165,000 homes and businesses throughout Northern and Central California. More recently, a metallic balloon caused a power outage in the City of Santa Maria on Wednesday that impacted nearly 50 customers.
It is always important to remember the following safety tips when celebrating with metallic-based balloons:
- Make sure helium-filled metallic balloons are securely tied to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away. Never remove the weight.
- When possible, keep metallic balloons indoors. Never permit metallic balloons to be released outside, for everyone’s safety.
- Do not bundle metallic balloons together.
- Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or toy that becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone, and immediately call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to report the problem.
Never go near a power line that has fallen to the ground or is dangling in the air. Always assume downed electric lines are energized and extremely dangerous. Stay far away, keep others away and immediately call 911 to alert the police and fire departments.