Mylar balloons should spark celebrations – not power outages

Spring and summer are filled with many special events often celebrated with Mylar balloons – graduations, weddings, Mother’s and Father’s Day, religious ceremonies, and Independence Day! During your celebrations always remember – proper handling and disposal of Mylar balloons prevent them from drifting into power lines and causing power outages.

Mylar balloons have caused several noteworthy power outages for our customers. Last summer over 15,000 customers in Jersey City lost power for 45 minutes when Mylar balloons drifted into a substation. Incidents like this are why keeping such hazards away from power lines is essential for public safety.

Mylar balloons, which can stay inflated for two weeks or more, have a metallic coating that conducts electricity. When a Mylar balloon touches a power line or floats into substation equipment it can cause a short circuit. This contact can lead to downed wires, power outages, fires and injuries. Balloons also can harm wildlife when they accidentally ingest popped balloon fragments or become entangled in the balloon string.

Your safety is always our top priority. To keep the power on and your family safe, keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • NEVER touch a power line. Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon, kite, or other types of toys or debris entangled in an overhead power line or substation. Call PSE&G to report the problem at 1-800-436-7734 so our crews can remove the item safely.
  • Keep Mylar balloons and other decorations away from overhead power lines and all utility equipment.
  • Do not fly kites or hold Mylar balloons in the rain, during electrical storms or while crossing streets.
  • Keep balloons tethered at all times. Make sure balloons are secured to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away.
  • Always dispose of Mylar balloons properly by safely puncturing the balloon in several places to release the helium that otherwise could cause the balloon to float away.

For more information, visit pseg.com/safety.

Rebecca Mazzarella, Lead Writer - PSE&G

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