Happy Graduation! Hold On To Those Balloons!

Yu Shing Ting
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Wednesday - May 19, 2010

During graduation season, Hawaiian Electric Company urges everyone to hold on to those shiny metallic balloons because all it takes is one to cause a power outage affecting thousands of customers.

“Today’s metallic balloons are more elaborate, featuring various shapes, sizes and add-on balloons, but they should always have a weight attached to the bottom of the string or ribbon,” says Kaiulani de Silva, HECO director of education and consumer affairs. “The balloon weight can be a simple plastic ornament or a fancy wrapped ball of sand, but the main purpose is to prevent the balloon from floating up and away. On top of that, consumers should check to be sure that the string or non-metallic ribbon is tied securely to the balloon knot or sealing point. These quick tips will ensure metallic balloons can’t escape into the sky.”


Safety tips from HECO:

* Always attach a small weight - such as a heavy mug, toy or bag of candy - to the end of the string or ribbon that holds the metallic balloon.

* Do not remove balloon weights until the balloon has been deflated.

* Each metallic balloon should be individually attached to a weight. Avoid tying the balloons together, which has a greater chance of rising as a cluster and becoming entangled in power lines.

* Never use metallic ribbons with helium-filled balloons; an accidental release could cause the metallic ribbon to become entangled in power lines and cause a short circuit.

* Never release metallic balloons into the sky.

* Properly dispose of metallic balloons. Cut the balloon at the knot or sealing point to deflate it and put the balloon in the trash or save it in a scrapbook.

* If a metallic balloon is caught in a power line, do not attempt to climb a utility pole or pull the string to recover it. Leave it alone and call Hawaiian Electric at 548-7961.

For more information and tips about metallic balloons, visit www.heco.com and click on “Safety and Emergency.”

Pictured here are some crafty ideas to weigh down those metallic balloons from Ben Franklin Crafts and modeled by some Moanalua High School seniors. Congratulations, graduates! And don’t forget, hold on to those balloons!

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