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If you show your love on Valentine's Day with metallic balloons, Pacific Gas and Electric urges customers to securely tie a weight to prevent them from floating away.

Metallic balloons that contact overhead power lines can disrupt electric service to an entire neighborhood, cause significant property damage and potentially result in serious injuries.

Last year, metallic balloons were the cause of 503 power outages across PG&E's service area in Northern and Central California, disrupting electric service to more than 265,000 homes and businesses. Two of those outages were in Napa, affecting 1,000 customers.

Unlike latex helium balloons, metallic balloons can stay inflated and floating for two to three weeks – posing a hazard to power lines and equipment even days after being released outside.

Safety tips include:

-- When possible, keep metallic balloons indoors. Never permit metallic balloons to be released outside, for everyone's safety.

-- Do not bundle metallic balloons together.

-- Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or toy that becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone, and immediately call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to report the problem.

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City Editor

Kevin has been city editor since September 2010. He joined the Register in 1973 as a reporter. He covered Napa City Hall and assorted other beats over the years. Kevin has been writing his Napa Journal column on Sundays since 1989.