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Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly. It's important to take proactive steps to protect yourself and your family from CO poisoning, especially when you're on vacation or staying in unfamiliar accommodations. Whether you are camping, RV’ing, or renting an Airbnb, the threat of CO poisoning shouldn’t be ignored. 

Each year, we investigate incidents involving CO — many of which could have been prevented. This year, whether you’re camping, RVing, or renting an Airbnb, many sure safety is at the top of your bucket list.

Pack a Portable CO Alarm 

When you're on vacation, it's a good idea to bring a portable CO alarm with you. These devices can detect CO levels in the air and sound an alarm if they detect a dangerous level. They are small, lightweight, and easy to pack in your suitcase or carry-on bag. They are also relatively inexpensive, so there's no reason not to bring one with you on your vacation. Make sure to pack the alarm in an easily accessible location, like your carry-on bag or your car's glove compartment. 

Choose an Airbnb Listing with a CO Alarm  

If you're staying in an Airbnb, make sure to choose a listing that has a CO alarm installed. Most modern homes and apartments have them, but it's always a good idea to double-check. Look for a listing that clearly mentions a CO alarm in the amenities section. If the listing doesn't mention an alarm, contact the property owner or manager, and ask if one is available. Airbnb does require an alarm in all properties listed but it doesn’t hurt to check in with your host to ensure that the alarm is installed and operational. 

Avoid Using Portable Fuel-Burning Appliances Indoors 

Many vacation activities involve the use of fuel-burning appliances, like portable grills and stoves. While these appliances can be convenient, they can also produce dangerous levels of CO if used indoors or in an enclosed space like a tent. Always use fuel-burning appliances outside or in well-ventilated areas . 

Recognize the Symptoms of CO Poisoning 

Even if you take all the necessary precautions, it's still possible to be exposed to CO. Make sure you and your family know the symptoms of CO poisoning, which include headache, dizziness, nausea, and confusion. If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately evacuate the area, call 911, and seek medical attention if needed.  

By following these tips, you can help protect yourself and your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning while on vacation. Remember, safety should always be your top priority, no matter where you are. 

If you own a vacation property, take a look at our CO safety guidelines to keep your future guests safe.