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The Shell Oil Company recently issued a warning Date:
Mon, 17 Mar 2003 09:39:55 -0500

The Shell Oil Company recently issued a warning after three incidents in which mobile phones (cell phones) ignited fumes during fueling operations.

In the first case, the phone was placed on the car's trunk lid during fueling; it rang and the ensuing fire
destroyed the car and the gasoline pump.

In the second, an individual suffered severe burns to her face when fumes ignited as she answered a call while refueling her car.

And in the third, an individual suffered burns to the thigh and groin as fumes ignited when the phone, which was in his pocket, rang while he was fueling his car.

You should know that:

Mobile Phones can ignite fuel or fumes. Mobile phones that light up when switched on or when they ring release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition. Mobile phones should not be used in filling stations, or when fueling lawn mowers, boats, etc.

Mobile phones should not be used, or should be turned off, around other materials that generate flammable or explosive fumes or dust i.e. solvents, chemicals, gases, grain dust, etc.

Now that you know that it's unsafe to smoke or use your cell phone while pumping gas, here's another safety warning you should know about concerning static electricity. Below is an email from Pat Cabling who works at Chevron Texaco's Richmond Refinery.

To sum it up, here are the: Four Rules for Safe Refueling:
1) Turn off engine
2) Don't smoke
3) Don't use your cell phone-leave it inside the
vehicle or turn it off
4) Don't re-enter your vehicle during fueling

Bob Renkes of Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a campaign to try and make people aware of fires as a result of "static electricity" at gas pumps. His
company has researched 150 cases of these fires. His 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 her vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas,
when finished and she 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 don't 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.

Mr. Renkes stresses to 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 I mentioned earlier, The Petroleum Equipment Institute, along with several other companies now, are really trying to make the public aware of this danger.

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.