The Danger of Mylar Balloons

Recently, approximately 160 Bryan residents experienced power outages lasting longer than two hours. These outages were caused by Mylar balloons that drifted into power lines. Bryan Texas Utilities (BTU) officials are asking for the media’s help in raising awareness of the dangers and significant inconvenience posed by Mylar balloons and oversized latex balloons when they are released.

Mylar balloons are made of a metallic material that can cause short circuits and eventually lead to equipment failure when they come into contact with power lines. The most recent outage occurred on March 23, 2011when Mylar balloons became tangled in power lines near the intersection of Rock Prairie and Bird Pond Roads.

BTU General Manager Dan Wilkerson said he is very concerned about customer safety and the number of outages caused by Mylar balloons. "In this most recent incident, energized wires burned and fell to the ground posing a serious threat to our customers," explained Mr. Wilkerson. “With graduations and other ongoing celebrations coming up, it’s important to remind people of problems associated with Mylar balloons.”

To reduce the risk of these incidents, BTU offers the following safety tips:
• Always attach a weight to metallic balloons
• Never release a metallic balloon outdoors
• Keep metallic balloons away from power lines
• Never use metallic ribbon with metallic balloons
• Always deflate metallic balloons and dispose of them properly when no longer in use
• Never release large/oversized latex balloons or large bunches of latex balloons. They can strike power lines when released or when they fall back to the ground

Florists and other merchants should always make certain that metallic balloons are properly weighted and should remind their customers not to release them outdoors. Metallic balloons and ribbons are such a threat to power lines that in some states, there are laws restricting their use and mandating that they be weighted.
Another word of caution: Always assume power lines are energized. Keep yourself, your equipment and all other items, at least 10 feet away from power lines. If a balloon or any object becomes entangled in an overhead power line, don’t climb the pole or make any other attempt to retrieve the balloon.

For Details, Contact:
Bob Wheeler
Public Information Officer
Phone: (979) 821-5888
Fax: 979-821-5795
object, contact BTU at (979) 822-3777.

Mylar balloon related outages can cause power lines to fall and pose a significant threat to public safety. If a power line falls on a vehicle while you are driving or riding as a passenger, stay inside of your vehicle and call 911. Do not open the door and do not exit the vehicle. Wait for help to arrive.

Careless handling of these balloons can cause serious injury, including to utility employees working on equipment. Just one balloon can cause a short circuit, which may melt an electrical wire and cause it to fall. We should all do our part to help prevent these types of incidences.