You know how it happens at home: Walking on carpet creates a static charge that sparks when you touch something metal. The same thing can happen at the gas pump. Drivers, who slide back into the seat while waiting for their vehicle to fill, create the same static electricity - which can spark when they reach for the nozzle again - starting a fire!
Static electricity-related flash fires at gas pumps are extremely rare. While they can happen at any time of year, they're most likely to occur in cool and dry climate conditions, especially during the fall and winter months.
As part of an annual "Stop Static at the Gas Pump" safety campaign, the Los Angeles Fire Department joins the Petroleum Equipment Institute in encouraging safe refueling procedures so that you can avoid this:
Can you spot the many things in the full-length video that lead to a buildup of static electricity? What of the driver's actions when the fire erupts?
Here are some tips to help you stay safe when refueling:
- Turn off your engine.
- Don't smoke.
- Never re-enter your vehicle when refueling.
- If you must get back into your vehicle touch something metal, like the door handle, before returning to the pump.
- When filling a portable container, always put it on the ground before filling it to help dissipate the static.
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department