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FirstEnergy reminds public of outdoor safety tips when using foil balloons

A spike in balloon-related power outages has occurred as COVID-19 has led to an increase in outdoor celebrations.

As outdoor celebrations have increased with drive-by parades, birthdays and graduations, FirstEnergy is reminding the public to be cautious of foil balloons getting caught in power lines.

"Just this past weekend, FirstEnergy experiencced a four-hour power outage on the eastside of Cleveland due to balloons making contact with our power lines in two separate locations. This outage impacted nearly 700 customers," FirstEnergy Media Relations team member Lauren Siburkis told 3News.

Due to the metallic coating of foil, these balloons conduct electricity and can can cause disruptions with the electric system when released outdoors. There have been dozens of outages over the last month alone caused by foil balloons floating into high-voltage equipment.

FirstEnergy has come up with a list of to keep in mind when using foil balloons at an outdoor celebration. 

  1. You should always use caution when celebrating with foil balloons near overhead power lines. 
  2. Always be sure to securely tie helium-filled foil balloons to prevent them from drifting away. 
  3. Properly dispose of foil balloons by puncturing and deflating them when your celebration is over, never release them into the sky. 
  4. And lastly, never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or toy that drifts into a power line. You should report any object caught in a power line directly to FirstEnergy at 888-544-4877.

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