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Metallic balloons can darken Valentine’s Day

first_imgWhen metallic balloons and power lines kiss, the result can be explosive and leave hundreds of people in the dark. That’s according to Southern California Edison, local power provider, which issued a Valentine Day’s warning to hold on to metallic holiday balloons. Last year, drifting Valentine’s balloons caused Feb. 14 outages in Lancaster and seven other Southern California communities. “Unfortunately, we’ve been plagued in recent years on Valentine’s Day with clusters of power outages caused by metallic balloons floating into power lines and electrical equipment,” said Ron Ferree, SCE’s director of grid operations. “All of these outages could have been prevented if people had simply handled their balloons properly.” Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon or any foreign object tangled in power lines. Instead, call SCE at (800) 611-1911 and report the problem. Keep metallic balloons indoors, and never release them outside. Never attach metallic streamers to any balloon. Never bundle metallic balloons together. Secure a helium-filled balloon with a weight heavy enough to prevent it from drifting away. It is unlawful to sell metallic balloons without a string weight. Never go near a downed or dangling wire. Keep others away and contact the police or fire department, and call SCE for help.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The number of metallic balloon-caused power outages has risen sharply in the state in recent years and spikes around Valentine’s Day, he said. Even nonmetallic balloons can cause problems when they get tangled in power lines, according to SCE. With 37 balloon-caused outages last February, SCE experienced a total of 403 balloon-caused problems in all of 2006. A record 414 service interruptions occurred due to balloons in 2005. Between 2000 and 2006, SCE customers experienced a total of 2,223 balloon-caused outages. Electricity can arc across balloons, causing a short circuit, which can burn wire, damage equipment and interrupt service. SCE recommends these safety rules for handling helium-filled balloons: last_img read more