For Immediate Release: February 7, 2018

Reduce the risk of power outages by controlling helium-filled balloons

Enjoy, but control your Valentine’s Day balloons                

Helium-filled balloons make Valentine’s Day more special, and they make any occasion more colorful and festive. They can be dangerous and destructive, though—especially the metallic ones. Every year, homes and businesses lose electric power when they drift into and tangle with power lines.

When metallic balloons touch power lines, they often cause power outages, equipment failures and can even cause wires to fall to the ground. This can result in property damage, fires and even injury or death from electrocution.

Next time an event calls for balloons, please keep in mind these safety tips:

  • Never let helium-filled balloons drift away outdoors.
  • Never try to retrieve balloons caught in power lines.
  • Never go near a downed power line or dangling wire, and keep others away as well.
  • Never tie metallic string or streamers to balloons.
  • Never bundle balloons together.

Report downed lines immediately by calling SMUD at 1-888-456-SMUD (7683) or call 911. For additional electrical safety tips, visit