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Keep love in the air, not mylar balloons, this Valentine's day
APS urges customers to be safe with Mylar balloons, offers tips to prevent power outages
With balloon sales soaring ahead of Valentine’s Day, Arizona Public Service (APS) reminds customers balloons should stay grounded and away from power lines. Balloons released into the air can cause dangerous power outages and wreak havoc on the electrical grid when they come in contact with overhead lines and electrical equipment.
Every year, APS crews respond to many outages caused by balloons. In 2021, balloons were responsible for 116 power outages in APS’s service territory, impacting more than 76,321 customers. While most balloon-related outages take place between Valentine’s Day and graduation season, it’s important to be cautious with balloons year-round.
The metallic coating on Mylar balloons conducts electricity and can cause a short circuit or power surge that can lead to large-scale outages, melting of electrical wires, fires, property damage and even injuries to wildlife, pets and people.
To keep your lights on and stay safe this Valentine’s Day, APS offers the following tips:
- Only use balloons indoors and away from overhead power lines. Even non-metallic balloons can become entangled in lines and knock out power.
- Always attach a weight to metallic balloons or keep them tethered.
- Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or object that becomes caught in a power line.
- Puncture and deflate balloons to dispose of them properly when no longer in use.
- Always assume power lines are energized. Keep yourself and all items at least 100 feet away from power lines.
This video demonstration shows what happens when metallic balloons come in contact with overhead lines. (This video is for demonstration purposes only and was performed by a trained APS lineman using proper safety equipment in a controlled environment.)