Safety First: Evaluating and Addressing Safety Risks at Your Vacation Rentals
On an early January morning in 2021, a devastating fire broke out in a vacation rental home in Malibu where smoke alarms had not been installed. Just 111 days earlier, the Malibu City Council had enacted an ordinance that, among other things, mandated smoke alarms be installed in all short-term rentals. This ordinance was overdue because the state had accepted the International Building Code’s guidance that smoke alarms be installed in all transient rentals in the state years ago.
The tragedy in Malibu exposes that without precautions, occupying a dwelling—whether a hotel, condo, vacation rental, or house— poses many risks.
To address the potential hazards of staying in a hotel or motel and acknowledge the evolving need for fire safety in the hospitality industry, the U.S. government adopted the Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990. The act recognizes that correctly installed and maintained smoke detectors and safety markers provide the most effective safeguards against fire incidents at hotel properties. Sprinkler heads, smoke detectors, maps of fire exits, and fire extinguishers in the hallway are some of the many features that hotel guests commonly encounter as a result of this act.
Contrast this with occupying a vacation rental or someone else’s home; sadly, similar government precautions have not been put in place. The number of fire-related tragedies and other accidents at rental homes are on the rise, and because mandatory safety elements such as hallway lighting, exit markers, and clear indicators of where fire extinguishers are located have not been established, many renters who are unfamiliar with a property could be in danger.
Understanding Fire Safety
So how do you keep your guests safe in your vacation rentals and keep your team safe when doing the same? Smoke alarms are simple but vital home safety features and can make all the difference when properly installed. The National Fire Protection Association says that three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms, and 38 percent of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present at all. When looking to install or update a smoke alarm, there are several ways to ensure you are meeting this safety standard.
1. Choose the best smoke alarm on the market. Consumer Reports ranked smoke alarms in 2019 and revealed that dual detectors (which use ionization …….