George Quintero and Peter Lacagno sell balloons for a living. Easily hundreds of thousands a year.
The co-owners of Balloon Haven in Chino are glad customers enjoy their elaborate designs, but they also want those customers to handle them responsibly and safely.
“Customers are pretty receptive because they know we’re doing it for the betterment of balloon safety,” said Quintero, who is actively involved in training programs with The Balloon Council and the Qualatex Balloon Network. “And it prevents balloons from releasing into the atmosphere.”
It’s a message that resonates with Southern California Edison, especially in light of the dramatic increase in metallic-balloon–related power outages around Mother’s Day, graduations and proms.
During a recent visit to Balloon Haven, a business that has operated since 1983, Quintero and Lacagno discussed everything from their start in the industry, love of the industry and their balloon arrangements.
However, they took equal pleasure in discussing party industry safety standards, including encouraging customers to “make sure balloons are securely anchored to a weight at all times.”
The two certified balloon artists demonstrated smart balloon practices that they advocate as store owners and in their travels, including always selling balloons secured to a weight, encouraging supervision of children playing with balloons and disposing of balloons properly by puncturing them.
SCE urges similar safety measures, particularly since it has experienced an all-time high of 268 balloon-related outages through March and those outages can potentially lead to serious injuries and property damage when the balloon contact is serious enough to sever power lines.
“At Southern California Edison, and we want our customers to always be informed and aware about safely handling metallic balloons,” said Phil Nelson, SCE director of Distribution Construction.