My EMT instructor showed his ignorance today. We were discussing hazards at scenes and gas/fumes was a big issue – for good reason. Everything he said made lots of sense – until he said cell phones could cause explosions. Then he went so far as to say it happens often. Therefore, you should not go to rescue a patient near a large gas spill with fumes because you never know if your phone might inadvertently ring. It took everything I had not to laugh out loud.
Cell phones causing an explosion at gas stations is a huge urban legend that has been proven false many times – by Mythbusters (the discovery channel tv show that evaluates urban legends), by gas companies, and by snopes (a website that investigates urban myths – Wade introduced me to it). Yet people still believe it. I had a guy stop me the other day in the middle of my conversation at the gas station to warn me. I told him I was an EE and cell phones couldn’t cause explosions. He huffed off.