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Power company issues warning about celebrations involving Mylar balloons

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 3:02 PM CDT
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COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (KWQC) - As many high schools and colleges celebrate graduations this month, utility company, Ameren Illinois, is bracing for potential problems.The power company is asking the public to properly dispose of Mylar balloons in an effort to reduce the risk for potential power outages.

Mylar balloons are metallic and conduct electricity and can knock out power, start fires and cause significant damage when coming in contact with the electric grid. Each year, Ameren Illinois responds to numerous power outages caused by Mylar balloons touching electrical equipment. They also pose a safety hazard to linemen needed to untangle and remove the balloons from energized power lines.

“We realize this is the time of year when everyone is outside celebrating new graduates, newlyweds, birthdays and spring holidays,” said George Justice, Vice President of Electric Operations for Ameren Illinois. “Keeping the balloons tethered and weighted while in use and then properly puncturing and disposing after the fact can help to ensure they do not get loose and end up in our power lines and substations.”

If you happen to notice a balloon or another toy entangled in electric infrastructure, always assume the line is live and do not attempt to remove the object yourself. Instead call Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000 and a crew will be dispatched to remove the item.

Ameren Illinois offers additional Mylar balloon safety tips:

· Do not intentionally release the balloons.

· It is safest to keep metallic balloons inside. In fact, some parks have banned metallic balloons on their property, so be aware of these warnings.

Never tie a metallic ribbon on your balloon. Also, never tie a metallic balloon to a child’s arm. These both can pose substantial electrical threats

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