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    API, PEI Align Against Pump Fires

    Groups launch campaign alerting motorists how to avoid causing static electrical flames.

    WASHINGTON -- Aiming to douse the rising number of dispenser fires, the American Petroleum Institute and Petroleum Equipment Institute are teaming up beginning with National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 6-12, to remind motorists how to avoid potential problems with static electricity at the gas pumps.

    PEI alone has received reports of more than 150 incidents of pump fires, most of them coming in the fall and winter seasons when the weather is dry and static electricity builds up. Both organizations say most of the fires occurred when a motorist reenters the car during fueling, then returns to the nozzle at the end of refueling, disseminating a charge.

    The best way to avoid a gas pump fire or flash is to stay outside the vehicle while refueling, the organizations said, adding that in the rare event a motorist experiences a fire when refueling, leave the nozzle in the fill pipe of your vehicle and back away from the vehicle. Notify the station attendant immediately to shut off all dispensing devices and pumps with emergency controls. If the facility is unattended, use the emergency shutdown button to shut off the pump and use the emergency intercom to summon help.

    For more information, go to API's and PEI's websites, respectively at www.api.org/consumer and www.pei.org/static.

    The organizations plan to introduce a special education program for attendees at the NACS-PEI convention to be held Oct. 5-8 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

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