ELECTRICITY CAN CAUSE FIRES AT THE PUMP
BOISE, Idaho - Last
week, a very alarming incident occurred at a local self-service
gas station that serves as a reminder that gasoline is a
highly flammable product that demands some precautions when
it is transferred.
A woman, while fueling her
vehicle, got back into her vehicle to write out the check.
The automatic nozzle shut off, and she got out of her vehicle
to finish fueling. When she touched the nozzle, a static
electricity buildup discharged, igniting gas fumes in the
nozzle/fill pipe area. She was able to remove the nozzle
and extinguish the flames, but this is a sobering reminder
of what can happen when static electricity is combined with
a highly flammable product.
A simple precaution to avoid
this potential problem is to stay near the vehicle's fueling
point. If you must reenter your vehicle, discharge the static
electricity buildup when you get out by touching the outside
metal portion of your vehicle, away from the filling point,
before attempting to remove the nozzle.
Anyone interested in learning
more about how static electricity buildup can cause fires
at the pump can check out the Petroleum Equipment Institute's
video "Stop Static" by calling ISDA's Bureau of
Weights and Measures at 208-332-8690, or by accessing PEI's
website at www.pei.org/static/.
For more information contact
Tom Schafer, Idaho State Department of Agriculture, at 208-332-8690