MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- The city Office of Consumer Protection is offering residents tips on to how to prevent fires at the fuel pump.
Smoking while pumping gasoline, entering and exiting the car while pumping, and talking on cellphones while refueling are dangerous. No explanation needs to be given why anyone should smoke while pumping gas, but not many are aware of the danger involved when drivers start to fill their vehicle, enter and exit their vehicle, and then touches the gas nozzle. When you get into your vehicle, your clothes pick up static electricity from the carpet and seats. When you get out of the car, you are susceptible to a static shock. This static shock could and has ignited gas vapors.
To date, the Petroleum Equipment Institute has documented 150 cases of this type of fire. If you must exit your car while fueling, make sure you touch metal before you reach for the nozzle. Touching metal will cause the static electricity that has built up in your body to discharge. You can touch your car door or the pump itself. Warnings regarding the use of cellphones while refueling have been issued by oil companies.
Here are a few rules for safety at the pump:
- Always turn off your engine.
- Never smoke while refueling.
- Leave your cellphone in the car and do not use it until you have finished refueling your vehicle.
- Do not enter you car in the midst of fueling it.
- If you must, touch a piece of metal to discharge yourself before touching the nozzle.
- Do not fill plastic storage containers, such as those for lawnmowers while they are in the trunk of your vehicle.
- Take them out of the trunk and place them on the floor, grounding them.
- Do not use your vehicle's gas cap wedged in the nozzle handle so you don't have to squeeze it.
- If a fire should occur during your refill, back away from the vehicle and leave the nozzle in the fill pipe of the car.
- Use the appropriate storage container for transporting gasoline.
- Do not use any plastic container.
For more information, contact the Mount Vernon Office of Consumer Protection at 914-665-2433.
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