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Answer: When a metallic balloon contacts a power line, electricity can arc across the balloon and create a large flash. This can cause a short circuit that burns wires and causes power outages. These balloons should always be tied to a weight and never released outdoors. If you see a metallic balloon near a power line or stuck in a tree, please report it to SCE by calling 1-800-611-1911.
Answer: The situation that you are asking about is quite rare, Diego! Power lines are firmly connected to the utility poles that support them and are unlikely to fall directly on top of people. It takes a very strong wind and/or serious damage to a utility pole to knock a power line down. (That’s why you should always be alert for fallen power lines during and after windstorms.) You should never approach or touch anyone or anything in contact with a downed power line. Call 911.

In the unlikely event that a power line comes down on or near you, you should shuffle far away from the line with small steps, always keeping your feet close together and on the ground. Warn other people to stay away from the line and ask them to call 911 and the local electric utility for help.

Answer: Carbon is a chemical element with the symbol C and atomic number 6. It is the second most abundant element in the human body. Every single organic molecule in your body contains carbon. It is the basis of life and energy itself.

All plants and living creatures are formed by organic compounds where carbon is combined with hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and other elements.

Carbon makes up about 0.025 percent of the Earth’s crust. Carbon is also in the sun, stars, comets and the atmospheres of most planets.

Carbon moves from place to place as part of the carbon cycle. For instance, when we breathe, we exhale carbon dioxide. Plants take in that carbon dioxide to grow, which removes it from the atmosphere. A balance of carbon in the atmosphere is needed to have a hospitable living environment on Earth.

When plants and animals die and decompose, sediment containing carbon is formed. Some of this sediment becomes fossil fuels, such as coal, oil or natural gas. When fossil fuels are burned, they release carbon-emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. According to scientists, the burning of fossil fuels is upsetting the atmosphere’s carbon balance, leading to extreme weather and climate change.

Answer: I, the Expert, am not an AI bot! I am a real person named Reece who swims, rides a bike, and dances. And for even more fun I answer your questions, as I love science education and care about energy safety!
Answer: There are many forms of energy, Hailey, but since you’re asking me, the SCE Expert, I will answer for one form of energy: electricity. Most electricity used in the United States is produced at power plants or at solar and wind farms, and to get to your home, it must travel a great distance over high-power transmission lines. Electricity loses some of its strength (voltage) as it travels, so transformers, which boost or “step up” its power, must help it along. Different kinds of transformers at utility substations will then “step down” electricity’s power to just the right voltage for the overhead or underground distribution wires that bring it to your neighborhood.

Answer: Water and certain chemicals can conduct current from electrical equipment, creating a shock and fire hazard. Keeping electrical equipment dry and clean helps it run safely.  

Answer: Ella had this same question, and I will answer it again for you. Yes, the human body is a good conductor of electricity! This is because the body is 60-70% water, and water is an excellent conductor. Since the water in our bodies can help electricity flow through us, we need to be extremely careful to not contact electricity.
Answer: A good question, and you’re not the first person to ask it! Most electricity in this country is made (or produced) at power plants where fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) or renewable energy sources (such as water, wind, biomass, or geothermal) are used to turn turbines. The turbines turn electromagnets that are surrounded by heavy coils of copper wire. The moving magnets cause the electrons in the copper wire to move from atom to atom, generating electricity. Electricity can also be produced from sunshine, using special panels that convert sunlight into electricity. You can see these panels on the rooftops of many Southern California homes, businesses, and warehouses.
Answer: If you step in a puddle that contains a fallen power line, you could be badly injured or even killed! Downed power lines can electrify puddles, wet grass and the surrounding area. Be especially alert for power lines in puddles after stormy weather, and NEVER touch anyone or anything in contact with a downed line. Stay far away and call 911.
Answer: I have never seen a balloon with hair, but I can tell you that releasing any balloon near power lines is definitely a bad idea! A balloon that gets stuck in power lines can cause a power outage or fire, and can also pose a shock hazard to someone who tries to grab its string. Always keep balloons, kites and flying toys far away from power lines.
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