3/6/2006
Mylar Balloons and Kites Can Damage SWEPCO Power Lines

AEP Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) reminds its customers that metallic coatings on mylar helium balloons and on kites can cause damage to SWEPCO’s electrical system and cause power losses. An outage last month in Texarkana was caused by a set of mylar balloons, and this emphasizes the need to make sure these objects do not to interfere with the lines.

“SWEPCO also wants to remind youngsters, and adults too, that there are certain safety precautions that should be taken concerning kites and power lines,” says Scott McCloud, company spokesman.

• Never use wire, tinsel or any metal in kites or string -- they can conduct electricity.

• Never fly a kite near power lines. Electricity always takes the path of least resistance to the ground. It could go through the string to your body. Choose a wide-open field to fly kites.

• If a kite is caught in a power line, LEAVE IT THERE. Parents should call AEP SWEPCO toll-free for assistance at 1-888-216-3523, and properly trained personnel with safety equipment can remove the kite.

• Do not fly kites on rainy days where there is a possibility of lightning using the string as a conductor to reach the ground. Wet strings are good conductors of electricity.

“Remember to follow simple safety rules for a fun and safe kite-flying outing this spring,” adds McCloud.

Contact:
Scott McCloud
Communications Consultant
318-673-3532