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“You CAN use Rouse Roll Balloons safely and legally in every state of the USA. Here are considerations to help that happen all the time.”
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Metallic coatings on film balloons can be a hazard if filled with lighter than air gas and released into the environment. The metallic coating can conduct electricity that could harm someone or could short circuit power lines and kill electrical service to substantial business and residential areas.
(A) REMOVE THE METAL
The metallic coating serves to add “Glitz”to balloons. It also serves to hold in the gas better than the underlying film by itself. When we remove the metal, we remove the dangerous electrical conductors that are addressed by the California balloon law. But, in most cases, when we remove the metallic coating we also compromise the float time of the balloons.
One exception I know of is the film produced by Takarakosan in Japan for the Qualatex Bubble Balloons. This film not only holds helium very well but has elasticity that is uncommon with film balloons and withstands higher pressures than are normally used with film balloons.
I have also recently seen film balloons by M&D and by Anagram that appear to have no metallic coatings and hold gas well. If these three companies have such films, then others should have access to similar films that would be good for Roll Balloons and excellent for avoiding problems with California balloon law.
Balloons made with more standard films may not float as long without their metallic coating , but may still be used productively in Roll Balloon forms. It is so easy to add gas to strings of Roll Balloons that giving them a shot of gas every few days instead of every few weeks is not such a big deal. These Roll Balloons still retain their status as Bigger, Easier, Faster, Reusable and Longer Lasting than their latex competitors.
(B) GAPS IN THE METAL
There is another step that can be taken at the manufacturer level to reduce the risks associated with metallic coating on film balloons. There can be gaps left in the metallic coating within the string of inflatable chambers. This break in the conductive coating should reduce risks while minimizing the loss of float time for the balloons.
The gaps in metallic coating are not likely, however, to eliminate the need for other precautions. We could still have a floating conductor of electricity on the loose even though it be somewhat less hazardous.
(C) METAL COATINGS INSIDE
In similar fashion, metallic coatings on the inside of film balloons could retain the glitz and enhance float times while reducing hazards associated with metallic coatings. I do not know the intricacies of applying metallic coatings, but my expectation is that the technical difficulties associated with leaving gaps and/or applying the coatings internally have so far been a considerable barrier to these approaches.
When Roll Balloons do include electrically conductive materials then they should include weights to keep them from accidentally floating away and becoming a hazard.
(A) THE FIRST ROLL BALLOONS
There are very many variations possible in the configuration of Roll Balloons. Each will have it’s own advantages and questions related to the California balloon law. I expect the first and most popular configuration of Roll Balloons to be a simple series of inflatable chambers where the gas can flow freely among all of the chambers. Even though such a Roll Balloon might be quite long, it will still be just one balloon.
(B) CONSUMER ROLL BALLOONS
For the consumer market, I expect these basic Roll Balloons to be sold in prepackaged sets from 5 to 11 units (mock balloons) long. I expect them to have basic weights built into the ends. Consumers should be advised on the balloon, on the packaging and in person of appropriate safety precautions for the balloons.
(C) ROLL BALLOON ACCESSORIES
It should not take long before a new market develops for accessories to these Roll Balloons.
- Decorative weights to add on or to replace the basic ones that come with the balloons
- Clamps, adhesive tabs, Velcro, etc. to anchor the balloons where simple weights might not be satisfactory
- Connectors to join ends of prepackaged Roll Balloons to make larger arches.
- Audio “buttons” to add relevant music, speech, etc. to the display
- Stick on lights or even strings of mini lights to add to the display
(D) ROLL BALLOONS FOR PROFESSIONALS
Balloon professionals certainly can make use of the prepackaged, consumer, Roll Balloons with the weights built in. Balloon professional are likely, however, to prefer longer versions of Roll Balloons with no weights built in. This way they could “roll out” whatever length they need for a job, cut it off and add appropriate anchors of their own.
I would expect suppliers of such, unweighted Roll Balloons to require a signature of purchasers that they have read, understand and will abide by relevant safety precautions and legal requirements associated with the use of the balloons. It would also be prudent to include a copy of appropriate safety precautions and relevant legal requirements with each set of long Roll Balloons.
The law in the state of California is the most restrictive in the USA. It has become the standard for safe practices with lighter than air metallic coated balloons. The following is reproduced from the International Balloon Association web page: http://www.ibaonline.net/IndustryLegislativeIssues/CaliforniaBalloonLaws/tabid/111/Default.aspx .
CALIFORNIA LAW REQUIRES THAT STEPS BE TAKEN TO PROTECT ELECTRICAL POWER LINES FROM DAMAGE BY FOIL BALLOONS AND OTHER METALLIC BALLOON-RELATED ACCESSORIES. THE FOLLOWING STATES THE PENAL CODE THAT DETAILS THE EXACT WORDING OF THE LAW.
CALIFORNIA FOIL BALLOON LAW
(a) No person shall sell or distribute any balloon that is constructed of electrically conductive material, and filled with a gas lighter than air without;
|(1)||Affixing an object of sufficient weight to the balloon or its appurtenance to counter the lift capability of the balloon.|
|(2)||Affixing a statement on the balloon, or ensuring that a statement is so affixed, that warns the consumer about the risk if the balloon comes in contact with electrical power lines.|
|(3)||A printed identification of the manufacturer of the balloon.|
(b) No person shall sell or distribute and balloon filled with a gas lighter than air that is attached to an electrically conductive string, tether, streamer, or other electrically conductive appurtenance.
(c) No person shall sell or distribute any balloon that is constructed of electrically conductive material and filled with a gas lighter than air and that is attached to another balloon constructed of electrically conductive material and filled with a gas lighter than air.
(d) No person or group shall release, outdoors, balloons made of electrically conductive material and filled with a gas lighter than air, as part of a public or civic event, promotional activity, or product advertisement.
(e) Any person who violates subdivision (a), (b), (c) , or (d) shall be guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100.00). Any person who violates subdivision (a), (b), (c), or (d) who has been previously convicted twice of violating subdivision (a), (b), (c), or (d) shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(f) This section shall not apply to manned hot air balloons, or to balloons used in governmental or scientific research projects.
In simple layman’s terms, this means:
All foil balloons in California must be individually weighted to keep them from flying away.
Foil and Latex balloons mixed in a bouquet must be weighed individually to keep them from flying away.
Do not use metallized string or ribbon when attaching a foil balloon to a weight.
Roll Balloons that are filled with lighter than air gas are likely to be very popular. Manufacturers can make Roll Balloons without metallic coatings and avoid problems with California law. Making the metal-less Roll Balloons will also reduce risks in areas where California laws do not apply.
Since metallic coated balloons do tend to float longer and since there are currently so many popular designs with metallic coatings, it is very likely that many Roll Balloons will also have metallic coatings. They should be weighted to secure them from floating away.
It is likely that the first versions of Roll Balloons will be metallic coated single balloons that are shaped to look like many connected balloons. California law would require at least one weight on each of them, but normal use would have the Roll Balloon anchored on both ends. Consumer market Roll Balloons of this type are likely to be sold with weights built in. Professional market Roll Balloons are likely to be sold with the professional purchasing the balloon uninflated and assuming responsibility for its use.
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