Let Feelings Fly this Valentine's Day, Not Foil BalloonsFirstEnergy reminds the public to handle balloons safely to keep electricity flowing
AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 8, 2024 -- As Valentine's Day approaches, FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) is reminding customers to handle helium-filled foil balloons safely to keep the energy alive this season and year-round. While the company experienced a decrease in the number of balloon-related outages in recent years, foil balloons continue to cause power outages when released outdoors because their metallic coating conducts electricity and poses a risk to the electric system.
February typically marks the onset of a dramatic increase in outages caused by metallic balloons that have floated off from their owners. The balloons often accompany popular Valentine's Day gifts like chocolates, flowers and cards. Last year, foil balloons were to blame for 108 power outages across FirstEnergy's six-state service area.
A video discussing the hazards posed by foil balloons and tips for safe disposal is available on FirstEnergy's YouTube channel.
Lisa Rouse, Director of Distribution System Operations at FirstEnergy: "The National Retail Foundation is predicting record spending on significant others this Valentine's Day, and that includes balloon purchases. While our community outreach has helped decrease balloon-related outages in recent years, this holiday provides an opportunity to educate people of all ages on the dangers foil balloons pose and how to help keep the lights on in our local communities."
To help ensure holidays and celebrations are enjoyed responsibly, it is important to keep these safety tips in mind:
- Use caution and avoid celebrating with metallic balloons near overhead electric lines.
- Securely tie helium-filled metallic balloons to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away. Do not remove the weight until the balloons are deflated.
- Puncture and deflate metallic balloons once they are no longer in use. Never release them into the sky.
- Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or toy that becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone and immediately call FirstEnergy at 888-544-4877 to report the problem.
- Stay far away from a downed or low-hanging power line. Always assume downed lines are energized and dangerous. Report them ASAP by calling 911.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving more than six million customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at firstenergycorp.com and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Siburkis – Ohio Edison, Toledo Edison, The Illuminating Company, Penn Power, (330) 203-8850, or Todd Meyers – West Penn Power, Penelec, Met-Ed, (724) 838-6650, or Hannah Catlett – Mon Power, Potomac Edison, (440) 554-5346, or Chris Hoenig – JCP&L, (609) 350-8599