AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – FirstEnergy is reminding people to properly use and dispose of their leftover Valentine’s Day foil balloons after they were to blame for the power outages in Austintown and Youngstown on Thursday night.

Balloons drifting in the wind can be quite dangerous, as the metallic coating conducts electricity making them hazardous around electrical systems.

FirstEnergy had 102 power outages last year due to foil balloons.

FirstEnergy wants to remind people:

  • Use caution and avoid celebrating with metallic balloons near overhead electric lines.
  • Securely tie helium-filled metallic balloons to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away. Do not remove the weight until the balloons are deflated.
  • Puncture and deflate metallic balloons once they are no longer in use because they can stay inflated for several weeks. Never release them into the sky.
  • Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or toy that becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone and immediately call FirstEnergy at 888-544-4877 to report the problem.
  • Stay far away from a downed or low-hanging power line. Always assume downed lines are energized and dangerous. Report them ASAP by calling 911.