Submitted By Katie Heck
Mylar balloons (balloons with a foil interior) are a common sight at celebrations. Oftentimes, the negative environmental effects are discussed to discourage people from releasing these balloons into the sky.
Following a small brush fire near a home on Haviland Ave, the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District is reminding residents to dispose of these balloons properly when the celebration is over because they can also be a community fire hazard. The brush fire, which encroached on a residence, was ignited by sparks caused by Mylar balloons striking a power line above the vacant lot next to the home. The charred balloons were discovered on the scene by investigators, and the caller reported hearing a loud pop or explosion just prior to seeing flames. Firefighters stopped this fire before it could damage any property, and now they are asking community members to be aware of the risk and keep these balloons under their control.
The metallic coating on Mylar balloons conducts electricity and can cause a short circuit or power surge when in contact with power lines. This can lead to large-scale power outages, melting of electrical wires, and fires, leading to possible injuries and property damage.
To reduce fire risk, here are some tips on how to keep Mylar balloons in your party and away from power lines:
- Never release a Mylar balloon outdoors
- Keep balloons tied down and attached to a weight
- Never use a metallic ribbon with metallic balloons
- Always deflate metallic balloons and dispose of them properly when no longer in use
If you see a balloon that has contacted a power line, assume the line is energized, stay away from the hazard, and notify the power company.
These tips, along with pictures from the fire, are posted to our website: https://www.lehighfd.com/community/page/mylar-balloons-and-brush-fires