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EWEB Safety Tip: Celebrate responsibly with balloons

June 09, 2023 Robyn Smith, EWEB Communications

balloon stuck in power lines

Graduations and other outdoor celebrations are in full swing. During these joyous occasions for grads and families, it’s important to think about the safety risks associated with common party decorations, especially helium-filled metallic balloons.  

If your graduation celebration involves balloons, make sure they are secured with a weight. Otherwise, they can float away and come into contact with overhead power lines. While balloons may seem harmless, they can cause a public safety risk if not properly secured. 

“Safety is EWEB’s number one value, and that includes the safety of our community, our customers, and our crews,” said Robyn Smith, EWEB Communication Specialist. “EWEB employees are excited to be celebrating graduations this season like so many other members of our community. We urge people to celebrate safely by making sure metallic balloons are well secured so they don’t float into power lines, where they can potentially cause outages, damage, and danger.” 

Metallic balloons have a silvery coating, which is a conductor of electricity. If the balloons float away and contact power lines, they can short transformers, cause power outages, and melt electrical wires, causing public safety risks. For example, last year, almost 9,500 residents in Long Beach, CA endured nearly eight hours without power when balloons landed in and brought down a power line. 

To help ensure celebrations with balloons are enjoyed responsibly, EWEB is reminding customers to follow these important balloon safety tips: 

  • "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 permit metallic balloons to be released outside, for everyone's safety. 
  • 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 EWEB at 1-844-484-2300 to report the problem. 
  • If you encounter a power line that has fallen to the ground or is dangling in the air, never go near it. Always assume downed electric lines are energized and extremely dangerous. Stay far away, keep others away, and immediately call 911 to alert the police and fire departments. Other tips can be found here. 

Celebrate responsibly and keep your metallic balloons tied to something heavy or keep them inside and avoid the unnecessary risks and outages created by their release. 

Congratulations to all 2023 graduates!