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This Valentine's Day, If You Buy Metallic Balloons to Say "Be Mine", Make Sure to Keep Them Away From Power Lines

Release Date: February 11, 2008
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930

SAN FRANCISCO – As people purchase helium filled metallic Mylar balloons for their valentine this Thursday, Pacific Gas and Electric Company urges customers to make sure that they are securely tied to a weight that will prevent them from floating away in the air. Unsecured metallic balloons that contact overhead power lines can disrupt electric service to an entire neighborhood, cause significant property damage and result in serious personal injuries.

Metallic balloons that drift into PG&E power lines cause between 100 to 150 outages each year, affecting electric service to thousands of PG&E customers throughout northern and central California. In the most dangerous circumstances, metallic balloons cause power lines to fall to the ground creating the potential for fires, property damage, injury and even death.

In order to significantly reduce these types of outages each year, and so everyone can safely enjoy their Valentine’s Day celebration, PG&E reminds customers to follow these important safety tips for metallic balloons:

  • "Look Up and Live!" – Use caution and avoid celebrating with metallic balloons near overhead electric lines.
  • Make sure helium filled metallic balloons are securely tied to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away. Never remove the weight!
  • Keep metallic balloons indoors and never release them outside.
  • Do not bundle metallic balloons together.
  • Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or toy that becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone and immediately call PG&E at 1-800-PGE-5000 to report the problem.
  • Never go near a power line that has fallen to the ground or is dangling in the air. Always assumed downed electric lines are live. Stay away, keep others away and immediately call 911 to alert the police and fire departments.
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