We think of static electricity as a minor annoyance, but it can lead to major fires. At a gas station, a spark of static electricity can start a fire that engulfs you in flames. There have been at least 130 confirmed cases of static fires in the last three years.

52 -year-old Bob Clewis was filling gas cans in his truck in San Antonio when a spark of static electricity set fire to a cloud of gasoline vapor and bathed him in flames. “It’s a miracle to be able to sit here today,” he said from the hospital, where he?s recovering from third-degree burns.

In 1996, a 33-year-old woman burned to death at an Oklahoma gas station, in a fireball that was also caused by a static spark. Both of these incidents were filmed by security cameras.

People need to pay attention when they’re pumping gas because ?they can kill themselves and the person standing next to them,” says electrical engineer Steve Fowler. Most fires occur when someone goes back into the car while the gas is still pumping. Just brushing against the car’s interior can give you a static charge. If the first thing you touch when you return to the pump is the nozzle, the static charge you?ve built up can set you on fire. Even taking your jacket off can give you enough static charge to start a fire.

If a fire does start, don?t take the gas nozzle out of the car. “Never pull the nozzle out ? never,” says researcher Jim Pharr. “Leave.” If the nozzle is left in the car, the fire will be less explosive.

Never fill gas containers unless they?re on the ground because a container?just like a person?can become statically charged. Bob Clewis learned this when he tried to fill containers that were in the back of his pickup.

Now you know how to protect yourself against static electricity, but what about psychic attacks? Find out from Practical Psychic Self Defense.

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