Unassuming balloons have potential to short circuits, cause power surges
EL CENTRO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - The Imperial Irrigation District (IID) Energy Department says it has experienced recent outages caused by balloons.
Specifically, metallic balloons made of Mylar.
During this time of year, IID says these balloons are popular graduation gifts, and for ceremonies such as Father's Day.
IID is now reminding customers not to release these balloons in the outdoors, due to their potential to cause outages.
“The metallic coating on these balloons conducts electricity, and can cause a short circuit or power surge when in contact with power lines,” says Marilyn Gilbert, IID’s Energy Department manager.
This can lead to large-scale power outages, melting of electrical wires, and fires, leading to possible injuries and property damage, says IID.
IID says this can also result in traffic congestion due to disrupted traffic signals, and cause significant inconvenience for residents and businesses.
If you see a Mylar balloon that has contacted a power line, IID reccomends to keep yourself, your equipment, and all other items and people at least 20 feet away.
Always assume the power lines are energized.
IID suggests the following tips to safely and properly handle Mylar balloons:
· Never release a Mylar balloon outdoors.
· Keep Mylar balloons away from power lines.
· Use balloon weights.
· Never use metallic ribbon with metallic balloons.
· Always deflate metallic balloons and dispose of them properly when no longer in use.