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How-to

Fire and carbon monoxide safety

It's important for you to feel safe and secure wherever you choose to stay. Before taking a trip, here's some advice to consider.

Know before you go

We encourage Hosts to put smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in their places, but it's also important to take your own safety precautions whenever you travel.

Be sure to check if a place has smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, both before booking and upon arrival. You can find this out in the list of amenities under Home safety.

Carbon monoxide alarms aren’t common in many parts of the world, so we recommend bringing one with you, especially if the place you’re staying in doesn’t list one.

About carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odourless, colourless gas created when fuels (such as petrol, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane) burn incompletely. It can be produced by fuel-burning appliances in the home, such as boilers, cookers, water heaters, and room heaters. High levels of carbon monoxide can be fatal.

Preventive steps from the American Red Cross

  • Never use a generator, barbecue, camping stove or other petrol, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside a place, garage, basement, confined space or any partially enclosed area.
  • Keep such devices outside and away from doors, windows and vents that could let carbon monoxide inside.
  • Opening doors and windows or using fans doesn’t stop carbon monoxide building up indoors. Although carbon monoxide can't be seen or smelled, it can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death. If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak, get to fresh air right away – don’t delay.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in central locations on every floor of a place and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of a carbon monoxide buildup.
  • Ask if your Host tests batteries regularly and replaces them as required.

If a carbon monoxide alarm sounds:

  1. Move quickly to a fresh air location.
  2. Never ignore the alarm.
  3. Call local emergency services.
  4. Remain outdoors until emergency staff arrive to help.

Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for more information.

* To reach a global audience, we often use “alarm” and “detector” interchangeably.

The American Red Cross name, emblem and copyrighted materials are being used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement, express or implied, of any product, service, company, opinion or political position. The American Red Cross logo is a registered trademark owned by the American National Red Cross. For more information about the American Red Cross, please visit redcross.org.

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