For Immediate Release: February 10, 2020

Reduce power outage risk by controlling helium-filled balloons

Enjoy, but control your Valentine’s Day balloons

It’s soon Valentine’s Day and helium-filled balloons can make the holiday all the more special, colorful and festive.

Balloons can also be dangerous and destructive—especially metallic ones. Each year, homes and businesses lose electric power when balloons drift into power lines.

When metallic balloons touch power lines, they can cause electrical faults, which can 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