Can a Balloon Shut Down Your Business?

June 07, 2018

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

Balloons are an extremely popular part of parties, parades, promotions, and other events.  They come in all sorts of colors, sizes and shapes and can be customized for specific occasions.  They are also the biggest cause of power outages, according to Palo Alto (News - Alert) Utilities spokesperson Catherine Elvert, because they can come in contact with power lines causing transformers to explode. 

While there was no damage to transformers, the Midtown and South Palo Alto, California area experienced a power outage in the middle of the day this past Saturday.  The culprit?  A mylar ballon that came in contact with power lines causing a short in the lines. 

While power was only out for a few hours, business operations were disrupted as systems were knocked offline.  Fortunately, a weekend outage creates fewer operational issues for businesses, but the potential for damage to technology beyond down time doesn’t change.  Surges and spikes can instantly overload circuits or cause an electrical arc inside equipment, damaging any of the electrical components.

Even if there is no apparent damage, surges and spikes can cause less damage with each instance, but will eventually cause the same components to fail.  This is one of the reasons servers, switches, storage devices, and other network equipment may stop working for no obvious reason, resulting in extensive repair or replacement costs, in addition to potentially days or weeks of down time.

The most effective way for businesses to insulate themselves from extended damages due to power outages and fluctuations is to install a power protection system.  A UPS system will not only provide power to shut down equipment properly in case of an outage (or provide extended runtime, depending on the type of power solution), but will also regulate line voltage to prevent surges and spikes from damaging technology.

Don’t let a balloon, snake, helicopter, bobcat, or anything else put your business operations at risk.  Make sure your down time is limited to the length of an outage and not longer by installing an appropriately sized power protection system.  

Edited by Erik Linask