Schuâ€™s News - Article
General Manager, Customer Relations Group
Almost daily we put ourselves in dangerous situations; such as talking on cell phones
while driving, smoking in gas stations or even walking your dog backwards into the
wind. These are things we know not to do but often happen anyway.
Sometimes there are things not often thought of as being dangerous but can result in
serious injuries. Recently I have read of one such example in the Successful Farming
Magazine, I believe that this story pertains to tow vehicles, R.Vâ€™S and generators
used while R.Ving as well.
This Article is By Lisa Faust Prater-Commerce Editor.
The Deadly Spark
Itâ€™s always difficult to lose a family member, but the sorrow is compounded when
the loss couldâ€™ve been prevented.
Farmers are bombarded with warnings about avoiding loose clothing around
augers, keeping kids away from machinery, and being cautious when working in
grain bins. But thereâ€™s another danger out there, one that is as preventable as it is
deadly: static electricity.
The same type of spark that builds up when sliding across the floor in stocking feet
can also cause gasoline containers and vehicles to ignite.
I never thought about the serious threat that static electricity poses until my cousin,
Wayne Foust, was severely burned last summer.
Wayne was mowing and needed gas. He parked his riding mower in the driveway
between his car and pickup, reached over the side of his pickup bed, and pulled a
gas container toward him. When the plastic can slide across the bed liner, static
electricity built up. If he would have placed the can on the ground, the static would
A Fatal Mistake
Not knowing, Wayne simply tipped the container to fill the tank. It exploded on the
spot. Taking two vehicles, the mower, and my cousin with it.
Wayne lived for two extremely painful months after the accident, but passed away
in September due to complications from the burns that covered most of his body. He
left behind a wonderful family who loved him, including his wife, Jane and two
young children, Ashley and A.J.
Our entire family was rocked by the accident, and I will never again pump gas or
fill up the lawn mower without thinking about my cousinâ€™s death. The lesson from
all of this, I think, is to cherish your life and family, and do whatever you can to
keep them safe.
Wayneâ€™s death moved me to learn more about static electricity. Please read the
following safety tips from Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI), and share this
information with your families and employees.
10 Simple Steps to Avoid Gasoline Fires
Caused by Static Electricity
 Turn off your engine while refueling. A running car (or tractor) presents a
number of ignition sources for fuel vapor. Also, if a fire does occur and burns
through a fuel hose, a running engine means the fuel pump will spray gasoline into
the open flame.
 Donâ€™t smoke or light matches or lighters anywhere near gasoline. This one should
 While refueling, do not reenter your vehicle. Sliding across the seat can cause
static electricity to build up, and it can discharge at the fill point, causing a fire.
 If you must reenter your vehicle while refueling, discharge any static before going
near the fill point. Place your bare hand flat on the door or another metal part of
your vehicle, away from the fill point and fuel tank. (Itâ€™s a good idea to do this even
if you donâ€™t reenter the vehicle, since static can also build in other ways during
 If a fire does occur while refueling, remove the nozzle from the gas tank. Back
away from the car and alert the attendant to operate the emergency shutoff.
 When dispensing gasoline into a container, use only an approved portable
container and place it on the ground when filling to avoid a possible static electricity
ignition of fuel vapors. Containers should never be filled while inside a vehicle or its
trunk, or the floor of a trailer.
 When transporting gasoline in a portable container, make sure it is secured to
prevent tipping and sliding, and never leave it in direct sunlight or in the trunk of a
 Fill portable containers no more than 95% full to allow for expansion. Likewise,
donâ€™t overfill or top off the tank when fueling your vehicle, which can course
 Place the cap tightly on the container after filling, and donâ€™t use containers
without a good seal. If gasoline spills on the container, make sure that it has
evaporated before placing it in your vehicle.
 Be equally as careful when using diesel and other fuels. Although the PEI hasnâ€™t
documented any cases of compressed natural gas igniting due to static electricity, it
says, â€ś The Higher flash point of diesel makes such an occurrence unlikely but not
For more safety tips and information on static electricity and gasoline, visit the
Petroleum Equipment Institute online at PEI Safety-Stop Static Campaign or call 918/494-9696.
The Institute also offers training and prevention materials and workplace safety
Please be careful and Iâ€™ll see you on down the road.