All holiday property landlords should install carbon monoxide detectors to keep paying guests safe
Whether renting out your spare room for festival-goers, a city centre apartment for culture vultures, or a coastal holiday cottage for a family and their pets, installing a carbon monoxide alarm helps save lives. But less than half the UK properties available on peer-to-peer rental sites have carbon monoxide alarm.
- The Safer Tourism Foundation is calling for all holiday property landlords to wipe out the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning for holidaymakers as research reveals less than half of the properties listed on peer-to-peer rental sites have a carbon monoxide alarm.
- AirBnB already makes it clear whether the properties listed on their sites have carbon monoxide alarms in place and Safer Tourism urges all other accommodation booking platforms to follow their lead.
- HomeAway® (part of Expedia Group), actively educates property owners on the importance of installing carbon monoxide alarms in their properties and to include this information on their property listing.
- Safer Tourism recommends all tourists ask holiday accommodation providers about the carbon monoxide measures in place when making their booking to raise awareness of the seriousness of this issue with landlords.
- Family members of victims who have died from carbon monoxide poisoning in holiday accommodation recommend all holidaymakers pack their own carbon monoxide alarms as it is the only proven method to identify whether poisonous gas is present.
- Safer Tourism Foundation is supporting Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (18-24 November 2019) to raise awareness of the risk to tourists and holidaymakers when they travel.
The Safer Tourism Foundation is calling for holiday homeowners and hosts listing property with peer-to-peer sites including AirBnB, HomeAway (part of Expedia Group), Under The Doormat and One Fine Stay, to help wipe out the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning for tourists and holidaymakers who are looking to ‘live like a local’.
People have been killed or injured by the deadly carbon monoxide gas while staying in a tent, caravan, holiday cottage or boat. Yet according to Safer Tourism’s own research less than half the holiday accommodation listed in the UK through peer-to-peer rental sites have a carbon monoxide alarm.
As part of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (18-24 November 2019) the Safer Tourism Foundation, a charity which aims to reduce the number of preventable deaths, injuries, and illnesses occurring to people on holiday, is urging holiday property landlords and hosts to save lives by:
- Installing a carbon monoxide alarm that complies with local legislation (for UK properties, alarms are available here*).
- Updating property information sheets to include the symptoms of carbon monoxide so guests can recognise the signs and know what to do.
- Get appliances serviced regularly and publish relevant certificates as part of the property information.
Carbon monoxide – a colourless, odourless, poisonous gas – caused by incorrectly installed or poorly maintained household appliances – delivers a potentially lethal impact for anyone who inhales it. This toxic gas can even seep in from adjacent properties, or portable barbecues and generators brought under-cover, so even if holiday accommodation providers have taken appropriate safety checks or is all-electric, without an alarm, guests could still be at risk.
Katherine Atkinson, CEO of the Safer Tourism Foundation, says:
“Whether you rent out a cottage, caravan, boat or campervan to visitors and guests in the UK or abroad, installing a carbon monoxide alarm that complies with local safety legislation is the only proven method to alert guests whether this toxic gas is present.
“Despite the tremendous efforts of listing sites to encourage holiday homeowners to provide a safer experience for guests, our research shows that less than half of the short term let accommodation available in the UK through peer-to-peer rental platforms has a carbon monoxide alarm installed. Yet in the last five years, cases of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning have increased by a quarter in holiday hotspots such as the south west and have doubled on the east coast**”.
Katherine continues: “We are calling on all listing platforms to reinforce the need for accommodation providers to install carbon monoxide alarms and for hosts and holiday homeowners to educate visitors about carbon monoxide and its effects by providing fact sheets that alert guests to the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and advising them on how to respond.
“And we want holidaymakers to improve landlords’ and hosts’ approach to carbon monoxide by asking about the risks at the property – whether there is an alarm? When were the appliances last serviced? Customer demand will raise awareness of this important issue.”
Patrick Robinson, Director of Public Policy at AirBnB, said:
“Our community’s safety is our priority and we are committed to supporting safe hosting. All AirBnB Plus listings are visited in-person and must have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Last year, we introduced global measures to provide additional resources and clarity, and flag to guests so they are aware of listing amenities, such as a fire or carbon monoxide alarm, and can take precautionary steps where needed. This, together with our work with the National Fire Chiefs Council, is all part of our continued efforts to protect hosts and guests on AirBnB, wherever they are in the world.”
HomeAway also advises its partners on essential holiday home safety measures on its website and will roll out a free online safety-self-assessment in the UK soon.
Whether travelling for business or pleasure, long haul or local, festival or five-star luxury, the families of people who have died from carbon monoxide poisoning say packing a carbon monoxide alarm is a must whenever you are staying away from home.
Mark’s daughter died of carbon monoxide poisoning while working abroad in 2015. He says:
“Holidaymakers, gap year students and tourists need to think beyond travel insurance and suncream as part of their travel plans. You have to take responsibility for your own safety and should never rely on others to keep you safe.
“I’d like carbon monoxide alarms sold in travel hubs such as airports and ferry terminals and travel sections of retail outlets of Boots. This visibility would raise awareness of the need for an alarm when travelling.
“I’d also like to see advice on the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning be more prominent and more forcefully presented on the Foreign and Commonwealth’s country advice website”.
Recognising the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning when away from home
Eating different foods and being in a different climate can often take some adjusting to. But it’s important to pay attention to symptoms that might indicate a serious problem. Carbon monoxide poisoning can feel like flu, but without the fever and the six main symptoms are headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness.
Dealing with carbon monoxide poisoning
If you or anyone with you start to show signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, or if your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, you should
- Go outside in the fresh air immediately
- Ask for medical support, telling whoever treats you that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and ask for a proper diagnosis.
- Service the appliances. If your tests confirm carbon monoxide poisoning, tell the people who are responsible for your accommodation immediately so they can carry out the necessary repairs and testing.
Notes to editors
The research is Safer Tourism’s own, based on a number of holiday properties available for 2 adults and 2 children in popular holiday locations, aggregated with industry data supplied exclusively to Safer Tourism.
*Safer Tourism Foundation has joined forces with Safelincs to provide a range of alarms suitable for holiday property landlords. Use the promotional code SAFETOUR for a 10% discount. £1 from the sale of each alarm is donated to the Safer Tourism Foundation.
**Source Project Shout