Following the April 5 power outage in Lansing and parts of Delta Township, which affected approximately 3,000 customers from 2:40 p.m. to 3:39 p.m., the Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL) discovered that the failure was caused by a mylar balloon filled with helium. who became entangled in a power line on Waverly Road, just south of Michigan Avenue.
Mylar balloons often have a shiny outer coating that contains aluminum, which easily conducts electricity. When tangled in power lines, metal-coated mylar balloons can cause fires and falling lines, which are dangerous to the public and BWL employees. In yesterday’s case, the power line caught fire, snapping in two, with a section of the line in contact with the ground.
“This incident, although rare, is a good reminder that mylar balloons can be dangerous if caught in a power line,” said BWL chief executive Dick Peffley. “We encourage area residents to be aware of these potential dangers and to avoid releasing mylar balloons outdoors, especially near power lines.”
Peffley continued: “Any time a live power line is down, it creates a significant safety hazard to the public and BWL employees responding to the incident. Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately to BWL so we can secure the area around the power line and get it repaired as soon as possible. »
Downed power lines can be reported to BWL by calling 877-295-5001. If you see or suspect a downed power line, stay at least 20 feet away and keep children and pets away. Always assume that a wire is dangerous, even if it is stationary.
BWL asks area residents to follow these mylar balloon safety tips:
- Keep balloons indoors.
- Metallic balloons should always be fixed with weights.
- Never attach metal streamers to balloons.
- Balloons should never be released outside.
- When you throw the balloons, pierce them to release helium, which prevents them from flying away.
- Do not attempt to retrieve balloons entangled in power lines or electrical equipment.