Mon Power is warning customers about the dangers of improperly handling foil balloons. The metallic coating on foil balloons conducts electricity and poses a risk to the electric system.
Numbers show a decrease in damage caused by foil balloons over the last few years – perhaps a sign of success in educating the public about the damage the balloons can do. In 2022, there was an 18% decrease in balloon-related outages when compared to 2021 and a 25% decrease when compared to 2020.
However, balloon related outages still happen more often than a person would think. Last year, foil balloons were to blame for 102 power outages across FirstEnergy’s six-state service area. Therefore, it’s important to continue educating people about handling foil balloons.
February typically marks the onset of a dramatic increase in outages caused by adrift metallic balloons that peaks in June, when warm weather takes celebrations and picnics outdoors.
“Our communities have done a great job helping us raise awareness of the dangers of power outages caused by metallic balloons, and FirstEnergy has experienced year-over-year decreases in the number of these outages as a result,” said Lisa Rouse, director of outage management at FirstEnergy. “However, we must continue to educate people of all ages on how to use these balloons responsibly to keep electricity flowing safely and reliably year-round.”
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 type of balloon, kite or toy that becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone and immediately call FirstEnergy at 888-544-4877 to 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.