Reunions, birthdays, weddings, graduations, anniversaries—outdoor celebrations are about spending time with friends and family, recognizing accomplishments, and creating a festive atmosphere with food, music, and decorations. These decorations can include Mylar balloons. Grand Haven Board of Light & Power wants you to know about the potential dangers of Mylar balloons so that you and your loved ones can safely enjoy outdoor celebrations.
Mylar balloons are shiny, metallic balloons, which are often filled with helium. The shiny coating is a good conductor of electricity. If a balloon comes in contact with an overhead power line, it will cause a surge of electricity. These surges cause electrical arcs, explosions, and fires. This creates a dangerous situation for people and can cause power outages that require expensive repairs.
In 2011, one Philadelphia woman experienced the danger of Mylar balloons first hand. According to Fox 29 in Philadelphia, the woman walked out of her home and found her car on fire in the street. The fire was so hot it turned rocks around her car into glass. The blaze started when a power line fell out of place because of a Mylar balloon.
In California, Mylar balloons are so frequently involved in widespread blackouts that state legislators considered banning them in 2008. Pacific Gas and Electric Company reported that in 2010, more than 800,000 Californians experienced outages because of the balloons.
With a little care, you can avoid the disastrous aftermath a Mylar balloon can cause. Follow these tips from Grand Haven BLP when using Mylar balloons:
- While using balloons, keep them weighted down or tethered far from power lines.
- When you are done, deflate the balloon and throw it away. Do not release Mylar balloons.
- Never tie a Mylar balloon to a person’s wrist.
- Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon, or any object that becomes entangled in electrical equipment. Contact the BLP Emergency Line at 616.842.2241 to help remove the balloon.
To see a video of what happens when a Mylar balloon comes in contact with overhead power lines, and watch Kyle Finley’s Live Line Demonstration visit http://bit.ly/14vPR4W
For more safety tips on Mylar Balloons visit our partner SafeElectricity.org