Helium (also called balloon gas) is used to inflate balloons and give the effect they are happily floating in the air and kept in position with curling ribbon. The curling ribbon is very light so the balloons are not pulled down to earth. Balloons look great when they are positioned at standing eye-level position, but not blocking major views when people sit down at a table. Displays look at their best when a number of decorations are displayed around a room, all looking identical in size shape, helium inflation amount and colour.
Helium can be delivered in a disposable easy to use tanks for small amounts, or ordered from major helium suppliers by renting a refillable tank for larger displays. The disposable tanks are used by connecting the black valve, turning on the top green tap, pulling the balloon onto the valve then slightly bending the valve to release the helium into the balloon. This youtube clip gives a great demonstration.
The larger rented tanks work in a similar way. Air products supply a tank with a built in gauge showing how much helium is left in the tank. Ensure a valve inflator is fixed before turning the large tap anti-clockwise to the open position. Push the balloon onto the inflator and bend the inflator slightly to release the helium. The inflator is a variable switch so the amount of helium released can be speeded and slowed down depending on how much bend is placed on the valve.
Disposable helium tanks for small amounts
Rented balloons gas for larger amounts
Don’t inhale helium
Helium shouldn’t be inhaled. Breathing it in displaces oxygen from lungs and other vital organs. Although not common it can cause death if too much is inhaled. The warning have been highlighted in the media.
Grade A Helium and the NHS misunderstanding
The Guardian newspaper and Radio 2′s vine show in May 2012 questioned the use of helium within balloons as the NHS highted shortages of Grade A helium for essential key equipment. One scientist believed balloon helium should be used for MRI scans.
The reporting by such major organisations surprised the balloon industry with its inaccuracies. Balloon helium gas cannot be used by the NHS and is a by-product of Grade A helium. By selling the waste product to inflate party products, the balloon industry reduces the extraction costs. If the party and balloon industry didn’t use this by-product gas it would be deemed useless and released into the sky thus increasing the cost of the Grade A helium and would inevitably cost the NHS more money.
For more on helium visit wikipedia.
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