- Since July 2021, there have been 332 incidents in the electricity network associated with kite strings getting stuck in the electrical wires.
Santiago, August 28, 2021 - For the purpose of preventing accidents related to razor-sharp kite string and avoiding interruptions to the electricity service due to kites flown in unsuitable areas near electrical lines, Enel launched the “Safe Kites 2021” campaign.
The launch activity, held at Parque O’Higgins, included the participation of the Minister of Social Development and Family, Karla Rubilar, presidential delegate Felipe Guevara, the mayor of San Miguel, Erika Martínez, the mayor of San Joaquín, Cristóbal Labra, and representatives from the Chilean Police, Firefighters, Red Cross, and Enel Distribución. The activity included a demonstration using a live wire to show the potential personal accidents that could be caused by the use of razor-sharp wire, electrocutions, and falls from high places when trying to recover kites.
“The Safe Kites campaign has been able to reduce both personal accidents and interruptions to the electricity distribution network. For over more than 30 years, we have assumed a commitment with the community to provide advice and practical tips so that this traditional family activity can be carried out responsibly and safely to avoid accidents,” says Ramón Castañeda, CEO of Enel Distribución.
Since 2010, there have been 17,437 events that have affected electrical lines and residential connections, associated with the practice of flying kites in areas not suitable for this activity, and particularly the use of razor-sharp wire in Chile known as "hilo curado."
“From the Ministry of Social Development and Family, we want to advise the community to have fun in safe and healthy ways this September 18. We not only make the usual recommendations of avoiding razor-sharp wire and not drinking and driving, but we also want people to protect themselves from Covid by always using a face mask and washing their hands frequently. The fact that we are moving forward in the Step-by-Step Plan does not mean the virus is no longer among us, and we need to continue taking care of ourselves,” says the Minister of Social Development and Family, Karla Rubilar.
During 2019, there was a 2% drop in kite-related events affecting the distribution network in comparison to 2018, and in 2020, these types of events decreased by 31% over the previous year.
Must outages in the distribution lines are due to the use of razor-sharp wire, which gets stuck in the lines or insulator supporting the wires, such that over time and with bad weather, they can lead to short circuits or severed electrical lines.
Since July 2021, there have been 332 incidents in the electricity network associated with kite strings getting stuck in the electrical wires.
Risks of flying kites and metallic balloons
Among the risks associated with this practice, there have been children who have been electrocuted or suffered serious burns from contact with high-voltage wires, and these situations can cause serious injury and even death.
Improper handling of the kite can also cause other accidents, such as pedestrians being run over when crossing the street suddenly without looking and falls, caused by chasing after kites or trying to recover them from posts, high-voltage towers, and trees.
Metallic helium balloons, which are quite popular among kids year-round, also represent a risk when handled near distribution lines. These products contain metallic fiber, which conducts electricity and can cause short circuits when in contact with electrical lines, leading to interruptions in the electrical supply and serious risks to personal safety.
The "Safe Kites" preventive campaign came about over 30 years ago as an initiative by Enel Distribución due to a large number of fatal accidents produced, primarily around the Chilean September 18 holidays, due to kite-flying without taking the necessary precautions.
In Chile, over 20 million kites are produced each year, most of which are sold in the month of September, thus increasing the risk of accidents around the National Holidays.
- Do not use metal or aluminum foil in the production of kites.
- Do not use a razor-sharp wire (using ground glass) or nylon.
- Make sure the air above you is safe.
- Do not fly kites near the electrical lines.
- Do not climb posts, high-voltage towers, or trees to recover a kite.
- Do not cross the street when flying a kite to avoid distraction-related accidents.