Vacation Rentals, Fire Safety and You

Dreaming of your next vacation? Thinking of staying in a vacation rental (ie. Airbnb, VRBO, etc.) instead of a hotel? Before you make your reservations, make sure you read this first!

A 2018 study published in the journal Injury Prevention found that many Airbnb properties lack basic fire safety features. According to the study, 20 percent of Airbnb property owners did not report having smoke alarms; 42.5 percent did not report having carbon monoxide alarms; and 58 percent didn’t report having fire extinguishers.

While fire safety advocates have urged Airbnb and similar vacation or short-term rental companies to enforce current National Fire Protection Association fire safety standards, without uniform regulation across the country, it’s essential that travelers be proactive about fire safety at their home away from home.

If you decide to stay at an Airbnb, VRBO or other rental property while traveling this spring/summer, make sure to review this safety checklist from the NFPA:

  • Do your homework before making a reservation. You should be able to find more information about local regulations online, which you can then discuss with the host before arrival. This is a good time to discuss the property’s preparedness for other emergencies (such as a power outage or natural disaster).
  • Make a list that includes the property’s address, local emergency numbers, emergency contact information for the owner and notes from the owner about all escape routes/exits.
  • Each room should have at least two ways to escape during an emergency.
  • Upon arrival, do a walkthrough of the property to check for:
    • Working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every sleeping room and outside each sleeping area, as well as carbon monoxide alarms on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area.
    • Portable fire extinguishers that are easy to reach.
    • Exterior doors and windows that are easy to open.
    • Pathways clear of any tripping hazards.

By following this simple checklist and acting as your own fire safety advocate, you can relax and know that your vacation won’t go up in smoke!