Gassing Up Safely - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/18/02

Gassing Up Safely

You have probably heard the dangers of pumping gas with your car on or while talking on a cell phone, but another potential hazard arises as the weather turns colder. When it gets cold outside, it's hard to just stand outside while you are pumping gas in the wind and bitter cold, so many people start the pump then hop inside their car to stay warm. But the static electricity your body can produce against the seat can turn explosive when you reach for the pump.

"When you get back out of the car, your clothes can rub against the seat and get charged up then you approach the pump that's basically in progress, and if you touch close to where the fuel is you could ignite a fire," said Dr. Michael Giesselmass, a Texas Tech University Electrical Engineer.

That is not the only concern, just a few weeks ago in San Antonio a man was filling up his gas cans in the back of his truck when static electricity sparked a fire, he ran then dropped to the ground and rolled trying to put out the fire. Other people at the gas station rushed to help him put out the fire. The man suffered burns to his legs.

The problem was when he was filling up the gas cans, they were sitting on the rubber lining in his truck and it produced static starting the fire. So here's what you need to know to be a smart pumper. First of all, if you get in your car to stay warm while pumping gas when you get out touch the side of your car first so the metal will break off the static before touching the handle. And if your filling a gas can, always put it on the ground. These tips are listed on many gas pumps across town, and even if you think, well I've always done it this way, it only takes once for you to be in a certain type of clothing and rub against your seat and cause static.

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