Here are some reasons why we don't allow cell phones in operating areas, propylene oxide handling and storage area, propane, gas and diesel refueling areas. The Shell Oil Company1 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 their face when fumes ignited as they answered a call while refueling their car! And in the third, an individual suffered burns to the thigh and groin as fumes ignited when the phone, which was in their pocket, rang while they were fueling their 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, boat, 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...)
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. Out of 150 cases, almost all of them were women.
1. Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas. When finished, they went back to pull the nozzle out and the fire started, as a result of static.
2. Most had on rubber-soled shoes.
3. Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished. This is why they are seldom involved in these types of fires.
4. Don't ever use cell phones when pumping gas.
5. It is the vapors that come out of the gas that cause the fire, when connected with static charges.
6. There were 29 fires where the vehicle was re-entered and the nozzle was touched during refueling from a variety of makes and models. Some resulted in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer.
7. Seventeen fires 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.
1 The Petroleum Equipment Institute, along with several other companies now, are really trying to make the public aware of this danger.