The dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning in holiday rentals

The dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning in holiday rentals

David Blevings.

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With holidaymakers set to spend £340million on staycations in Northern Ireland this year, OFTEC, the organisation that represents the liquid fuel heating industry here, is urging landlords to ensure their rental properties are equipped with carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.

The public are also being warned to be on their guard for this ‘silent killer’ as thousands of us head off to spend time in unfamiliar holiday accommodation this summer.

CO can be produced within any type of heating system as a result of fossil fuels not burning correctly. It is a colourless, odourless gas and poisoning can result in severe long-term health complications, or even death. Critical symptoms to watch out for include tiredness, dizziness and headaches, with younger and older people most at risk.

OFTEC, has issued a simple ABC safety checklist to guide holiday property owners on the key steps to reduce risk:

  • Alarm – purchase a CO alarm for every room which has a fuel burning appliance such as a boiler, wood burner or open fire. Where a new or replacement combustion appliance (solid fuel, gas, oil), is installed in a dwelling, a carbon monoxide detector/alarm should be provided in the room where the appliance is located.
  • Batteries – regularly ensure all the alarms are functional by holding the ‘test’ button.
  • Check – Properties with incorrectly installed or poorly maintained appliances are at a great risk of exposure to CO. It is crucial to have your boiler serviced at least once a year by an OFTEC registered technician to check it is in working order.
     

In the event of a CO alarm going off, OFTEC’s advice is to open the windows, leave the building immediately and call the emergency services.

OFTEC Ireland Manager, David Blevings, said: “An annual service of the boiler by an OFTEC registered technician is your first line of defence. The technician will check the appliance to make sure it is operating efficiently and safely.

“It's extremely important that people realise that there is potential risk from all fossil fuel appliances and take sensible safety measures. We want to ensure everyone has a wonderful staycation this year and, most importantly, return home safely feeling refreshed.”

To find your nearest registered technician visit www.oftec.org

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