Enjoy your celebration, just don't release Mylar Balloons

Submitted by sshockley on
A Mylar Balloon caught in a primary electric wire

Balloons have been setting our party since 1824. But did you know that Mylar Balloons, the decorative, metallic ones found at Party, grocery and dollar stores, can be damaging to neighborhoods if released near power lines?

Just one balloon coming into contact with a power line is enough to trigger an explosion or melt an electrical wire. Even though Mylar, in itself, is not a conductive material, the metallic coating on its surface is. Its metallic coating allows for current flow, which causes electrical arcs, which create short circuits. Electrical services in entire neighborhoods, as was the case last night, can be lost due to contact between a power line and a Mylar/foil balloon. The balloons not only can spark outages; they could even start electrical fires.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when handling Mylar balloons:

  • Keep balloons tethered at all times and attached to a weight.
  • When disposing of Mylar balloons, make sure to puncture them to ensure lingering helium doesn’t cause them to float and blow around if the garbage container overturns unexpectedly.
  • Keep Mylar balloons indoors and never release them outside.
  • Never attach metallic streamers to any balloon, latex or Mylar.
  • Never Bundle Mylar balloons together
  • If a balloon or another toy becomes entangled in an overhead power line, don’t attempt to retrieve it. Call your utility for assistance.
  • Keep metallic balloons away from power lines
  • Never release large/oversized latex balloons or large bunches of latex balloons. They can strike power lines when released or when they fall back to the ground.