SALT LAKE CITY — Rocky Mountain Power is advising Utahns to use caution when using Mylar balloons during summer celebrations.

Mylar balloons have a metallic coating, conduct electricity very well and can cause power outages and personal injury if mishandled, the utility said in a news release. If the balloons get into power lines, the result can be the loss of electricity to homes, businesses, traffic lights and other services.

"Last year, 32 outages were caused by stray metallic balloons getting into Rocky Mountain Power's electrical infrastructure," said Mike Felice, Rocky Mountain Power safety director. "Properly securing or weighting metallic balloons could have avoided the disruption of service to these 9,573 customers and additional safety concerns throughout the area."

Mylar balloons should be kept secured at all times by attaching weights and never released to float through the air. If they rise into electrical lines, they can cause sparks and arcing that can cause fires, as well as power outages.

Even if they miss power lines going up, balloons have been known to stay aloft for several days before losing their helium and falling back to earth, still with the potential to fall into power lines and electrical equipment on the way down.

Balloons should never be bundled together or tied to the arm of a child.

If any type of balloon, kite or toy becomes caught in power lines, leave it alone and call Rocky Mountain Power at 888-221-7070 to report the problem.