Today is  Valentine’s Day, and while you’re celebrating the holiday, keep in mind there are some public safety risks associated with helium-filled foil balloons if you’re giving your beloved a cluster.

Popular But Risky

While these balloons have increased in popularity as decorations, they continue to cause power outages each year when released outdoors because their metallic coating conducts electricity and poses a risk to the electric system.

Due to the popularity of Valentine’s Day balloons, February typically marks the onset of a dramatic increase in outages caused by adrift metallic balloons that peak in June, when warm weather takes celebrations and picnics outdoors.

Safety Tips

To help ensure holidays and celebrations are enjoyed responsibly, customers are encouraged to keep the following balloon safety tips in mind:

  • Use caution and avoid celebrating with metallic balloons near overhead electric lines.
  • Securely tie helium-filled metallic balloons to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away. Do not remove the weight until the balloons are deflated.
  • Puncture and deflate metallic balloons once they are no longer in use because they can stay inflated for several weeks. Never release them into the sky.
  • Never attempt to retrieve any balloon, kite, or toy that becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone and immediately call your area energy company and report the problem.
  • Stay far away from a downed or low-hanging power line. Always assume downed lines are energized and dangerous. Report them ASAP by calling 911.

With a bit of care and precaution when handling foil balloons, we can all do our part to help keep the energy alive this Valentine’s Day and all year long!

Source: FirstEnergy Corp.