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Another Close Call with ESD and a Gas Pump

This true account was submitted to the ESD Journal by Ron Hudson as a warning to be careful and stay aware.

It was a cold, dry, day in Florida, and I stopped at a gasoline station on the way home from work at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

I slid out of the front seat of my Geo convertible, and received a nice ESD as I pushed the door shut. Thinking I was totally discharged, and maybe I was, I proceeded to fill the small gas tank from the new-style credit-card-type pump. I filled to the brim spilling some gasoline on my hand and on the area around the filler pipe. I withdrew the nozzle from the pipe, replaced it in the gas pump receptacle, and picked up the locking gas cap (plastic) which had the keys still inserted in it.

Apparently, either from the area around the gas pump, or from the act of picking up the gas cap I was again at a different ES potential than the car. Because, when I reached to replace the gas cap (with the gasoline still wet on my hands and the splashed gasoline around the gas filler pipe) I received another hard ZAP. I immediately checked to make sure that I was not on fire and moved quickly away from the car. The gasoline on the car did not ignite. Thankfully, there were no other reportable actions.

Incidentally, I have over 35 years experience in RFI, EMI, ESD, EMP, and TEMPEST, so I can serve as an example to others who may think they know 'most everything about electrostatic discharges.

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