PNM holds annual safety demonstration before Balloon Fiesta

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – We’re less than two weeks from Balloon Fiesta and organizers are making sure everything’s in place. PNM is preparing by reminding the public that hot air balloons and power lines are a bad combination.

PNM demonstrated the power in power lines hoping to keep people safe even when they want to step in to help when balloons are in trouble.

“Our first response is to help out in a situation but if you were to create a path to ground, which the human body is very conductive, you would end up grounding the power line through the balloon, the gondola and your body and – not a good idea,” said Andrew Cusimano, PNM supervisor. 

Just last year, a devil balloon lit up some power lines in the North Valley.

PNM says it’s human nature to want to run and help in situations like this but the best way to help is to keep your distance and pick up your phone.

“The most important message for onlookers is, if you see a balloon entangled in power lines, don’t approach it. Just first call 911,” said Cusimano. 

According to PNM, even if a power line is not sparking or arcing, always assume it’s energized. They say people should call 911 or 888-DIAL-PNM.

PNM reminded people of another danger — distracted driving. Every year drivers get distracted with all those balloons, often getting hurt and causing power outages after hitting power poles.