With Valentine’s Day coming tomorrow, many people will celebrate with helium-filled metallic balloons.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) urges customers to securely tie a weight to all metallic balloons containing helium to prevent them from floating away. Metallic balloons that contact overhead power lines can disrupt electric service to an entire neighborhood, cause significant property damage, and potentially result in serious personal injuries.
Last year, metallic balloons that drifted into PG&E power lines caused nearly 300 outages, affecting electric service to more than 150,000 PG&E customers throughout Northern and Central California. In order to significantly reduce such outages, and so everyone can safely enjoy their Valentine’s Day, PG&E reminds customers to follow these safety tips for metallic balloons:
- “Look Up and Live!” Use caution and avoid celebrating with metallic balloons near overhead electric lines.
- 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 release them outside.
- 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 live. Stay far away, keep others away and immediately call 911 to alert the police and fire departments.