We are all worried about the power grid because of the hot weather.  There is another danger we have to worry about, especially this time of year.  Many people like to give recent graduates balloon bouquets.  Those bright silver Mylar balloons are a great gift.  However, there is a downside.

Photo: Arizona Public Service Via YouTube
Photo: Arizona Public Service Via YouTube
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Every year somewhere in the U.S. Mylar balloons get loose and end up tangled up in power lines.  The silvery coating on the balloons is actually conductive.  If those balloons make contact with power lines they can short transformers, melt electric wires and even cause fires.

Photo by Silvana Carlos on Unsplash
Photo by Silvana Carlos on Unsplash
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Last month in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington D.C., Mylar balloons got loose and came into contact with powerlines.  2085 customers were in the dark.  In Lansing, Michigan in April, Mylar balloons not only caused a power outage, but created a dangerous situation as powerlines caught fire and landed on the ground.

One energy company, Arizona Public Service, keeps track of power outages in their area caused by Mylar balloons.  They reported 11 outages in their service area, just this year, disrupting service to more than 6,000 people.

While we all worry here in Texas whether our power grid can stand up to the record heatwave, we certainly don't want to compound threats to our grid with things like Mylar balloons, which are totally preventable.

Photo: Arizona Public Service Via YouTube
Photo: Arizona Public Service Via YouTube
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Here are some tips for keeping Mylar balloons from setting off a major blackout in San Angelo:

  • Keep Mylar balloons inside
  • Metallic balloons should always be secured with weights.
  • Never attach metallic streamers to balloons.
  • Balloons should never be released outdoors.
  • When disposing of the balloons, puncture them to release the helium, which prevents them from flying away.
  • Do not try to retrieve balloons tangled in power lines or electrical equipment.

So Happy Graduation to all graduates of the "Class of 2022"  Enjoy your triumphs and soar to new heights in all you do.  Just remember, don't let your Mylar graduation balloons soar.  Keep them firmly planted on the ground.

 

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