Local Inventer Solves A Safety Problem

Thursday, June 15th 2006, 3:37 pm
By: News On 6

You've probably seen video from gas stations where static electricity causes cars to burst into flames. It's a rare but scary problem and a local inventor has a solution. He calls it the static shield. Business Reporter Steve Berg has more on this new idea.

Steve Nunn: "The installation for this probably takes about 5 minutes... it doesn't take long at all."

It's a simple little device that's meant to prevent a fire caused by static electricity. Steve Nunn says he got the idea after seeing news reports of fires that are sparked when static electricity set off the gasoline vapors around cars and gas pumps. The static shield is a pad that fits inside the gas cap lid. The pad discharges the static electricity from your body to a wire that's connected to the car's grounding system, so that by the time you grab the gas cap, you're discharged.

Steve Nunn: "And then we take a special sealant and apply over the wire, and that's pretty much it. You can see it doesn't hinder your door at all."

Nunn says by putting it inside the gas cap lid, you don't even have to think about it.

Steve Nunn: "You have to open your door anyway to refuel you car, so it just becomes part of the process of refueling your car."

The old trick of touching your car before you gas up can discharge you, but Nunn says sometimes it doesn't.

Steve Nunn: "They say touch your car, but these cars that are made today... some of them have so much paint on them that it doesn't discharge you."

Nunn is the first to agree the problem is rare…but.

Steve Nunn: "But if you're the one who goes up in flames, it's not too rare... It is a rare thing, but when it does happen, it's a big event."

Nunn says they've installed prototypes on sheriff's vehicles and insurance agent's cars and gotten good feedback. Now they hope to spark the interest of a retailer.