Tis' the season for graduations, weddings, and other summer parties that are commonly celebrated with Mylar balloon decorations.

While it's important to enjoy it all, PSE&G is urging customers to safely dispose of Mylar balloons.

Spokeswoman Rebecca Mazzarella said Mylars, which can stay inflated for at least two weeks, have a metallic coating that conducts electricity. When the balloon drifts into a power line, a transformer, or a substation, it can cause a short circuit.

That contact can lead to downed wires, power outages, fires, and injuries. She said it's also dangerous if these balloons float into the atmosphere because they can harm wildlife. Many can accidentally ingest balloon fragments or become entangled in the string.

Mylar balloons that were either cut loose or floated away have caused several noteworthy outages in the past.

"Last summer there was a power outage in Jersey City that impacted nearly 15,000 of our customers because a Mylar balloon floated into our substation equipment. That outage lasted 45 minutes and it could absolutely be avoidable if people would dispose of their Mylar balloons properly," Mazzarella said.

Simply take a few minutes and follow proper balloon safety procedures.

Always dispose of Mylar balloons properly by puncturing them in several places to release the helium, thus deflating them so they can't float away.

Keep the balloons tethered at all times. Make sure they are secured with a heavy weight so they won't take flight.

Do not hold a Mylar balloon in the rain, or during electrical storms. Remember they have a metallic coating on them that conducts electricity.

If a Mylar balloon does float away and touches a power line, Mazzarella said never touch the power line. Do not attempt to retrieve the balloon. Instead, call a local utility and let the experts handle removing the balloon safely.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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