Best Western Hotels to Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms in All Guest Rooms

In the wake of at least two major carbon monoxide leaks over the last couple years, which have killed three of its guests and exposed 200 others, Best Western has decided to place carbon monoxide detectors in all of its guest rooms. 

The hotel chain’s board of directors reportedly voted last week to require all Best Western hotels in North America to require carbon monoxide alarms in every room. However, officials from the company have not commented on the action. All hotels using the Best Western name reportedly have until December 1 to put the CO detectors in place.

The decision comes just one month after at least 30 people were hospitalized and 200 exposed to carbon monoxide gas in a Best Western in Dunmore, Pennsylvania. The entire hotel was evacuated near the end of August when dangerously high levels of the gas began to fill the hotel due to a malfunctioning furnace.

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It is more than a year after three guests died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a Best Western in Boone, North Carolina.

In April 2013, Daryl Dean Jenkins, 73, and his wife Shirley Mae, 72, were found dead in Room 225 of the Best Western Blue Ridge Plaza. The cause of their deaths remained a mystery until an 11 year-old boy, Jeffrey Lee Williams, died in the same room in early June 2013. His mother was severely injured by the exposure.

Investigators discovered that the deaths were caused by carbon monoxide leaking from a pool water heater located in a mechanical room directly under the hotel room they all occupied. The hotel did not have carbon monoxide detectors and had been cited earlier for deficiencies in ventilation of the mechanical room. The medical examiner who looked at the Jenkins’ bodies resigned amid allegations that the investigation into their deaths was botched and delayed.

The case also led to new North Carolina laws requiring hotels to have the carbon monoxide detectors.

Carbon Monoxide Health Risks

Carbon monoxide is a significantly toxic gas that has no irritating factors that can allow someone to detect its presence.

Because people often fail to promptly recognize symptoms of carbon monoxide, it is a leading cause of fatal poisonings in the United States.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carbon monoxide poisoning kills about 500 people in the U.S. annually, and is linked to about 15,000 emergency room visits. In many cases, the injuries or deaths could have been prevented by the use of carbon monoxide detectors and proper maintenance of heating systems and generators.

Although many states have passed legislation requiring carbon monoxide alarms in rental properties and homes, it remains rare for hotels to have carbon monoxide alarms to alert guests and staff when there is a problem.

According to a report in 2012 by USA Today, at least 170 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning injuries at hotels were identified between 2009 and 2012, including at least 8 deaths.

 

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