As people prepare for Mother’s Day this weekend, utility officials today reminded Southlanders that power outages are often caused by metallic balloons that float into power lines. Like water and electricity, metallic balloons and power lines don’t mix,” Southern California Edison spokesman Paul Netter said. “And, just like last year, power outages caused by floating balloons are on a record pace.”

After experiencing an all-time high 924 balloon-caused outages last year, Southern California Edison, through March, is already 17 percent ahead of that pace with 212 outages compared to 182 at the same point last year. With all of this coming even before the months with the most outages -May and June and their celebrations of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations and proms — SCE urges its customers to make sure their balloons are always tied to a weight, as required by California law, and to never

release them outdoors,” Netter said. The risks to public safety include serious injuries and property damage that can occur when the balloon contact is severe enough to bring down power lines, which happened 96 times last year for SCE, Netter said. “Anyone who sees a downed line or dangling wire even if it appears not

to be live should not touch or approach it or anything in contact with it and call 911 immediately,” Netter said. To prevent outages and injuries, SCE recommends some other safety tips for handling metallic balloons: do not attempt to retrieve a balloon or any foreign object tangled in power lines. Instead, 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 can travel through the balloon and into the child, causing serious injury or death;

never attach streamers to any balloon, whether latex or metallic. And when done with balloons, puncture them several times or cut the knot and throw them in the garbage to prevent them from floating away.

More on metallic balloon safety can be found at on.sce.com/staysafe. SCE can be followed us on Twitter and Facebook.