What to look for in your overnight accommodations
Recent studies and warnings have led homeowners and employers to take preventative measures against carbon monoxide poisoning. Many hotels and motels, however, haven’t taken the necessary steps toward detecting and preventing carbon monoxide leaks, which can put hotel guests at risk in the event of an accident.
Despite nearly a dozen deaths and over 150 hospitalizations in recent years due to carbon monoxide leaks at hotels across the country, most hotel rooms are still not equipped with CO detectors. From 2010 through 2012, more than 1,300 hotel guests have been evacuated in carbon monoxide-related incidents. In close quarters such as a hotel, a single leak can put dozens of people at risk.
Part of the problem stems from legislation. Very few states require hotels or motels to install CO detectors in guest rooms. Maryland currently has no such law in place. In February 2014, nine guests in a Baltimore hotel had to be hospitalized after carbon monoxide was detected at deadly levels inside the building.
The lack of carbon monoxide detectors is also a matter of risk management for hotels. Detectors typically cost about $100 per unit and last only five years before they must be replaced. As a result, many hotel owners determine that the cost is too much for their facility to bear compared to the risk of a CO incident. Instead of focusing on prevention, hotel owners will insure against evacuation and treatment costs in the case of a carbon monoxide leak.
The next time you are looking for overnight accommodations, it may be worthwhile to ask if the hotel has carbon monoxide detectors installed in each room. The extra cost of having an alarm at hand could prove invaluable in the case of a CO gas leak. If your hotel is not equipped with detectors, you may want to check for windows you can open for ventilation, and be sure to know your most direct route to fresh air.
Hotels have a responsibility to their guests to keep them safe from health hazards like CO gas leaks. The attorneys at Mallon & McCool, LLC, in Baltimore have extensive experience representing victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, and know how to handle organizations like hotel chains and their legal counsel. They understand causes and consequences of improper ventilation and detection, and they encourage anyone who is a victim of CO poisoning to contact them for a legal consultation. Their law offices are located at 300 East Lombard Street in Baltimore, Maryland.