Tie Them TightJune 26, 2023
With summer upon us, the mylar, or foil, balloons we love to use for graduation and other celebrations need to be kept under control so power outages can be avoided and celebrations can be as fun as possible.
The seemingly harmless decorations found near many supermarket checkout aisles cause hundreds of electrical incidents every year. Different from rubber or latex, mylar balloons are made of a plastic such as polyethylene or nylon and coated with metal foil.
If a mylar balloon encounters a power line, surges or outages may occur. There have been 115 mylar balloon outages year-to-date through May 31, affecting approximately 25,000 ComEd customers. Of which, 72 percent or 18,000 were ComEd’s Chicago customers (78 outages).
Compared to 2022, this is 13 fewer balloon related outages for the first five months of the year. In addition to power hazards, these balloons have a deadly impact on wildlife, and can float for days if not properly disposed of. It is important to understand the potentially dangerous aspects of these fun decorations in order to stay safe and decrease electrical outages.
Mylar balloons are popular for daytime events or celebrations, but steps can be taken to avoid issues with power lines and wildlife habitats:
Fly Mylar balloons indoors. If outside, make sure they are tied tightly to a weight that will hold them to the ground.
Properly dispose of Mylar balloons once an event is finished by puncturing – never release them into the air.
Visit PreventBalloonLitter.org to find out ways to celebrate events and people with alternative decorations to balloons.
Never engage with power lines, and always assume they are live. If a balloon or other object is entangled or interfering with a power line, call ComEd at 1-800-334-7661.
Check out this video on summer safety tips or visit comed.com for more.