Safety is a top priority for both guests and property managers to ensure an enjoyable vacation experience. With safety now tied more closely to service delivery than ever before, operators must re-dedicate themselves to training housekeeping and inspection teams on how to perform professional-level property care that aligns with their company brand. Staying up to date on state and municipal regulations, and facilitating inspections can be a large undertaking, but creating a program of certain safety measures can keep your homes and ultimately your staff and guests safe. Here are five easy tips to help maintain safe and high-quality rental properties, prevent accidents, reduce liability, and maximize each guest’s experience.
1. Display An Emergency Safety Card
An emergency safety card is invaluable and includes information that every renter needs. This card should be placed on a refrigerator, or in a universal location, and should include information such as:
- The property address - so that guests are able to tell emergency contacts or first responders where they are in the event of an emergency.
- Where the first aid kit and fire extinguishers are located - so that guests don’t have to search for these life saving items in the event of an emergency.
- Where the electrical shut off is located, or any other emergency feature that is specific to your property that you think guests should be aware of.
2. Reduce Fire Hazards
With vacation properties offering amenities and appliances that can be unfamiliar to a guest, it is important to provide instructions for how to use any hazardous items like a stove, fireplace, pellet stove, or wood stove. A fire extinguisher should also be kept close by these appliances and mounted at least three feet off the floor for easy accessibility in case of an emergency. Candles should be removed from the rental altogether and any matches or lighters should be kept out of reach of children.
A brief overview on fire safety with Thank For Visiting's, Annette Grant
Electrical fires are also a cause for concern, and there are steps you can take to try to prevent them from happening at your short-term rental. Every outlet that is within 6 feet of a water feature, like a sink, shower, or bathtub, must be a GFI ground fault interrupter and should be inspected by a professional to make sure they are installed to code. In addition, extension cords should only be used temporarily. They should not be left out for guests to use, as they can easily become trip hazards, get worn down to expose internal wires, and become a dangerous heating coil.
3. Check Your Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
There are many factors to consider when installing smoke detectors in your short-term rental. They are required to be in every bedroom, in the hallway outside of the bedroom, and must be at least 36 inches away from bathroom doors and 10 feet away from any cooking appliances to prevent false alarms. Most importantly, when it comes to smoke detectors, you want to make sure all of them are interconnected so that a fire or smoke anywhere in the house will trigger the alarms all over the property.
When it comes to carbon monoxide detectors, they are also required to be placed in every sleeping area of the property. From a preventative maintenance preventative maintenance perspective, you should check both your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year to make sure they haven’t run out of battery and haven’t expired. Anything that you can do to provide early fire detection and protect your guests is very important.
4. Inspect Your Appliances, Tools, and Cleaning Supplies
While covering a vast span of inventory, it is hard to keep the details of each property and the maintenance of each home appliance on schedule. Doing so however can ensure guest safety as malfunctioning or faulty items can lead to larger complications and safety concerns. Smaller appliances, like a coffee maker or blender, you can simply test to make sure they are working properly. However for larger appliances, like a stove or oven, we recommend getting those inspected annually.
When it comes to naturally hazardous tools like knives or cleaning products, they should both be securely stored out of reach from children, and routinely inspected to make sure they are working properly. Knives should be checked for sharpness, as sharper knives actually reduce the risk of injury. Cleaning products should be checked to be sure they have not been recalled for any reason, have childproof caps, or be stored in a locked cabinet.
5. Secure Furniture and Decor
It is important to make sure that any furniture or decor you have in your short-term rental is properly secured or mounted. Take extra precautions with items like dressers or TVs that can be easily knocked over by children to ensure that they don’t become a safety hazard. Even rugs can be secured to the floor to prevent trips and falls. The number one complaint and source of injury in a vacation rental is actually from tripping hazards!
Interested in learning more about Breezeway’s safety programs? Check out our Safety Certifications or our Blog “Keep the Exterior of Your Property Safe with These Five Tips”.