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Fowler Associates Labs

 

 

Static Fire Stories Articles & Technical Papers Current News

Static Fires at Gas Pump Warning Alert!

The following letter, has been sent to countless people via email in an effort to alert the public to the dangers of static fires at the gas pump. We at the ESD Journal salute the powers to be that are responsible for this warning and are providing it here to keep our readers informed. The PEI did not send this email. However, it was due to their and our efforts that someone sent the email in an attempt to warn the public of a real danger. PEI lists a statement on their web site about the email:

"The e-mail you may have received did not originate from PEI. Remarks regarding cellular phones, gender and footwear are inaccurate. Refueling fires that appear to be started by static electrical discharge are detailed in our report.

Please review our report or consult the Related Information links for the facts. Our FAQ section is also being constantly updated to reflect accurate information."

Whehter or not the PEI report states the issues in the email, the facts are mostly true of refueling fires in general except for the cell phone issue. The problem with the email is its absoluteness. The PEI report did not say words like "most", "almost all", etc.

Neither the ESD Journal nor the PEI believes cell phones have been shown to cause any fires. However, re-entry fires are the most common types of static induced refueling fires and women are more likely to re-enter a vehicle than a male. Rubber soled shoes help keep a static charge on a person after they re-exit a vehicle and are therefore are more of a problem.

Now, with everyone's head clear on the email, it still reads true as a warning


The Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a campaign to try and make people aware of fires as a result of "static" (that is, static electricity) at gas pumps. They have researched 150 cases of these fires. The results were very surprising:

1) Out of 150 cases, almost all of them were women.
2) Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas, when finished and they went back to pull the nozzle out the fire started, as a result of static.
3) Most had on rubber-soled shoes.
4) Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished. This is why they are seldom involved in these types of fires.
5) Don't ever use cell phones when pumping gas
6) It is the vapors that come out of the gas that cause the fire, when connected with static charges.
7) There were 29 fires where the vehicle was reentered and the nozzle was touched during refueling from a variety of makes and models. Some resulting in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer.
8) Seventeen fires that occurred before, during or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began.

NEVER get back into your vehicle while filling it with gas. If you absolutely HAVE to get in your vehicle while the gas is pumping, make sure you get out, close the door TOUCHING THE METAL, before you ever pull the nozzle out. This way the static from your body will be discharged before you ever remove the nozzle.

As mentioned earlier, The Petroleum Equipment Institute, along with several other companies now, are really trying to make the public aware of this danger. You can find out more information by going to http://www.pei.org. Once here, click in the center of the screen where it says "Stop Static".

I ask you to please send this information to ALL your family and friends, especially those who have kids in the car with them while pumping gas. If this were to happen to them, they may not be able to get the children out in time. Thanks for passing this along.

The ESD Journal is not affiliated with any trade organization, Association or Society

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