Ameren IL offers tips to handle and dispose of metallic balloons

COLLINSVILLE, IL (KFVS) - Ameren Illinois workers are reminding the public so properly handle and dispose of balloons.

According to Communications Executive Brian Bretsch, on May 31 there was a power outage in the Metro East area caused by Mylar graduation balloons.  More than 3,300 Ameren Illinois customers in Maryville and Collinsville experienced a two-hour power outage because the balloons became entangles in a power line.

Tina Gibbs a community relations coordinator for Ameren says that due to the metal content used to make Mylar balloons when they come into contact with electrical wires it can cause damage to electrical systems. She spoke about how to avoid getting Mylar balloons caught in electrical wires.

"When you are done using any kind of metallic balloon, we seem them on a float in parades all the time or weddings or other kinds of celebrations, always puncture the balloon and let them air out and dispose of them that way," said Gibbs.

Ameren presented some reminders and tips to handle and properly dispose of the shiny, metallic balloons to avoid safety hazards and damage to the electric grid.

  • Keep balloons tethered at all times and attached to a weight.
  • When no longer in use, puncture and deflate the balloons before creatively reusing or disposing of them.
  • If a balloon or another toy becomes entangled in an overhead power line, do not attempt to retrieve it. Call Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000 for assistance.

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Safe offers these additional tips:

  • Do not intentionally release the balloons

  • Be aware of warnings. If you see a metallic balloon in contact with a power line, never attempt to disconnect it yourself. Notify the electrical company immediately.

  • 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.

  • Always assume power lines are live, and keep yourself and all other items at least 10 feet away.

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