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
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
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
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.