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Nearly 10K Utahns lost power last year due to mylar balloons
Safety » If the metal-coated balloons touch power lines, outages and personal injury can result.
First Published Jun 30 2014 12:40 pm • Last Updated Jun 30 2014 03:52 pm

Rocky Mountain Power reminds the public that mylar balloons — because they have a metallic coating — conduct electricity very well and can cause power outages and personal injury if mishandled.

If these balloons get into power lines, the result can be the loss of electricity to homes, businesses, traffic lights and other services.

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"Last year 32 outages were caused by stray metallic balloons getting into Rocky Mountain Power’s electrical infrastructure," said Mike Felice, safety director. "Properly securing or weighting metallic balloons could have avoided the disruption of service to these 9,573 customers and additional safety concerns throughout the area."

Mylar balloons should be kept secured at all times and never released to float through the air. If they rise into electrical lines, they can cause sparks and arcing that can cause fires in addition to power outages.

Even if they miss power lines going up, these balloons have been known to stay aloft for several days before losing their helium and falling back to earth — still with the potential to fall into power lines and electrical equipment on the way down.

"It’s always a good idea to double check to make sure mylar balloons are properly weighted down and tightly secured," Felice said.

The following safety tips will help keep your celebrations safe when using metallic-based balloons:

· Always attach weights to mylar balloons and do not remove them.

· When possible, keep metallic balloons indoors.

· Never release mylar balloons into the air.

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· Do not bundle metallic balloons together.

· Never tie a mylar balloon to the arm of a child.

· If any type of balloon, kite or toy becomes caught in power lines, leave it alone and call Rocky Mountain Power at 1-888-221-7070 to report the problem.

Additional safety information and tips can be found on the company’s website atwww.rockymountainpower.net/safety.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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