Hold on tight to graduation balloons, HECO says

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With graduation season now in full swing, the Hawaiian Electric Company is urging friends and family members to hold on tight to the metallic plastic balloons that are commonly given as gifts to graduates.

HECO says the balloons over their shiny, silver surface to a type of material that can conduct electricity. When the balloons get caught in power lines, they can create short circuits that lead to power outages. Nearly 4,000 residents and businesses in Ewa Beach, Mapunapuna and Honolulu were affected last week by outages caused by balloons.

To help minimize the chances of stray balloons and the power outages that sometimes accompany them, here are a few tips from Hawaiian Electric:

• Always add a heavy weight on the end of the balloon string. If you have several metallic balloons, each balloon should have its own weight.

• At the point of purchase, make sure the retailer has securely tied the ribbon or string to the balloon at the sealing point.

• Use only non-metallic ribbon or string.

• Do not remove the weight until the balloon is properly deflated. The best way to deflate the balloon is to cut the balloon at the knot or sealing point.

• Most importantly, never release metallic balloons into the sky.

If you see a metallic balloon or any object caught in a power line, please leave it alone and call Hawaiian Electric's trouble line at 548-7961 to report it.

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