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So Cal Edison: Be Careful With Valentine's Day Balloons

Southern California Edison urges its customers to be careful with Valentine's balloons.

Drifting metallic balloons caused the 656 power outages last year in Edison's service territory.

Valentine's Day balloons traditionally lead to an increase in power outages in February, so SCE is urging customers to make sure their balloons are always tied to weights to prevent them from floating into power lines and causing outages, injuries and property damage.

Last February SCE experienced 30 balloon-related outages, down nearly 50 percent from the 59 in February 2013. But, last year's 656 overall outages were down only 5 percent from the 689 in 2013. This led to 2,965 hours of interruption to customers compared to 2,455 hours in 2013.

Oother safety tips for handling metallic balloons:

- Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon or anything else tangled in power lines. Call SCE at 800-611-1911 and report the problem.

- Never tie a metallic balloon to a child's wrist. If the balloon contacts electricity, it will travel through the balloon and into the child, causing serious injury or death.

- Never attach streamers to any balloon - latex or metallic.

- Don't touch any downed line or dangling wire - even if it appears not to be live. Call 911 immediately.

- When done with balloons, do not release them. Puncture them several times or cut the knot and throw them in the garbage to prevent them from floating away.

Source: SCE press release

- Brad Haugaard

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