Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Hotels
The last three years have seen eight deaths and 170 other incidents of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in hotels unequipped with CO alarms, according to a USA Today investigation.
In fact, few states or municipalities have laws requiring hotels to be equipped with the CO alarms.
The National Fire Protection Association says that these devices should be near bedrooms in every home. With no complete statistics on how many people need treatments or die from CO poisoning annually, there are few records of the hotel casualty rate.
The investigation by USA Today covered more than 1,000 news accounts of hotel incidents and interviews with public safety officials. It found at least 30 carbon monoxide poisoning incidents during the last two years that required evacuation of more than 1,300 people.
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer as the toxic gas has no color, odor, or taste. It is produced as a byproduct of incomplete combustion in fuel-burning devices such as furnaces, motor vehicles, boilers, and water heaters used in swimming pools.
There are approximately 4.9 million guest rooms in 51,214 hotels and motels in the U.S., according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association. The association says that equipping each room with an alarm that costs $100 each would be a monumental expense considering that the alarm needs replacement every five years.