Safety Should Not Be A Luxury

These are the type of stories that make us angry: When a family dies because of unlicensed, unregulated and therefore unsafe short-term rentals. From last week’s Des Moines Register:

“The Iowa family found dead in their vacation condominium suffocated after inhaling toxic gases, Mexican authorities said in a news release Saturday.

Prosecutors for Quintana Roo state said pathologists determined that the members of the Sharp family of Creston, Iowa, had probably been dead for 36 to 48 hours before their discovery Friday. They had been expected to leave the Tulum, Mexico, area on Wednesday to fly to the United States.

Further tests are being conducted after the autopsies of the Creston couple and their two children. The nature of what the family inhaled was not specified.

Authorities in Tulum inspected the gas connections in the condominium Saturday, but there was no immediate determination about what might have happened, according to the news release.

AirBnB VRBO Deathtrap

In 2010, the explosion of an improperly installed gas line at a hotel in the nearby town of Playa del Carmen killed five Canadian tourists and two Mexicans.

Iowa officials identified the family as Kevin Sharp, 41; his wife, Amy Sharp, 38; and their children, Sterling, 12, and Adrianna, 7. They were from Creston, Iowa.”

Let’s be clear. If you want to save a few bucks to stay at a house or condo instead of a licensed and inspected B&B like ours, that’s fine. But you shouldn’t have to risk your life and that of your children to do so.

Here in Vermont, the state legislature is debating a new law that would require all rentals to certify that they have insurance and appropriate fire and health inspections, as well as smoke and Co2 detectors. These are just some of the requirements real B&Bs have to follow.

It’s a good start, although there’s no mechanism to inspect that these rentals are actually doing what they say they’re doing. Hopefully down the road, there will be an inspection system for them identical to the ones we do here.

Bed and Breakfast Safety - AEDPart of what you pay for when you stay at a real B&B is safety. You know that the state department of health has inspected our rooms, our stairways, our kitchen, our hot tub. You know the fire marshall has made sure we have emergency lighting and Co2 sensors and fire detectors in every room. We also include things that aren’t required, such as having an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) on the property, and a staff trained to use it.

A vacation isn’t cheap. We know that. But it shouldn’t cost you your life.

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