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Use Metallic Balloons Safely at Outdoor Celebrations

Updated: Jan 18


Photo image of Metallic Balloons that spell “YAY”.
Metallic balloons can be festive but can also be good conductors of electricity.

Reunions, birthdays, weddings, graduations, anniversaries—outdoor celebrations are about spending time with friends and family; recognizing accomplishments; and creating a festive atmosphere with food, music, and decorations. These decorations can include metallic balloons. Safe Electricity wants you to know about the potential dangers of metallic balloons so that you and your loved ones can safely enjoy outdoor celebrations.


“Metallic balloons can destroy overhead power equipment. This causes power outages and creates a dangerous situation,” says Erin Hollinshead, executive director of the Energy Education Council’s Safe Electricity program. “If you use metallic balloons carelessly, you could literally be left in the dark.”


These shiny, metallic-coated balloons are often filled with helium. The shiny coating is a good conductor of electricity. If a balloon encounters an overhead power line, it will cause a surge of electricity. These surges cause electrical arcs, explosions, and fires. This creates a dangerous situation for people and can cause power outages that require expensive repairs.

With a little care, you can avoid the disastrous aftermath a metallic balloon can cause. Follow these tips from Safe Electricity:

  • Keep metallic balloons weighted down or tethered far from power lines.

  • When you are done, deflate the balloon and throw it away. Do not release metallic balloons.

  • Never tie a metallic balloon to a person’s wrist.

  • Don’t attempt to retrieve a balloon or any object that becomes entangled in electrical equipment. Contact your utility for assistance.

To see a video of what happens when a metallic balloon comes in contact with overhead power lines, visit SafeElectricity.org and watch Steve Hancock’s Live Line Demonstration.

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