Equipping your home property with safety devices, safety kits and emergency plans

Updated 1 month ago | 5 min read time

We take the safety and security of you and your guests very seriously - and we'd like you to as well. That’s why we’ve created this safety advice to help you proactively address safety issues for guests, ensure the safety of your property and prepare for emergencies. In addition to planning for safety, we encourage you to review some options around security for your property. 

These safety tips are geared towards homes and vacation rentals that may have different rules and regulations from hotels and hostels. Whether or not your local laws highlight these issues, we encourage you to understand your legal responsibilities as a host. You should be confident that you're providing guests with the safest experience possible so they can enjoy their stay. This includes letting them know you’ll be accessible to connect them to local resources in the event of an emergency. 

Preparing for the unexpected is crucial, and it will only take you a few minutes to review your property's safety features. Your preparation and diligence could make a dramatic difference in someone’s life. Every home is different, but we’ve listed a few basic safety devices that every property should have. We recommend being proactive with guests and communicating about every safety measure and device that you offer. 

What’s in this article

  1. Smoke detectors
  2. Carbon monoxide detectors
  3. Fire extinguishers
  4. Escape ladders and emergency plans
  5. Emergency supplies
  6. First aid kit
  7. Safety card

Smoke detectors

Fire prevention laws vary widely from location to location, so you should familiarise yourself with your local regulations. We encourage you to install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and one inside, or just outside, every bedroom. Test them at least once a month and install fresh batteries regularly.

Carbon monoxide detectors

Carbon monoxide is a gas with no colour, flavour or odour, and it can be deadly if inhaled over time. This gas is produced by fuel-burning devices such as furnaces, stoves, heaters or appliances that may be running inefficiently. These detection devices can be placed anywhere, but you should include one in every room that has a fuel-burning device, at the very least. You should test the batteries once a month and install new batteries regularly. These devices should be replaced every five to seven years. You can find devices that combine both smoke and carbon monoxide detection.

Fire extinguishers

You should have at least one fire extinguisher in your home that’s prominently displayed and easily accessible. Fire extinguishers are designed to fight specific types of fires, so pay close attention to the grade of the device before purchasing. Most house fires start in the kitchen, so consider putting an extinguisher right next to the stove. Want to go further? You can purchase low-cost, fire extinguishing aerosol spray cans to supplement full-sized fire extinguishers.

How should I tell guests about available safety devices?

  • Indicate the presence of safety devices in the extranet in the Facilities & Services section of the Property tab
  • Show guests the location of safety devices during check-in
  • Include these details in a safety card for your guests
  • Encourage guests to report any device noises or flashing lights – false alarms could indicate a low battery or malfunctioning appliance

Escape ladders and emergency plans

Not all homes need an escape ladder, but if your home spans more than one level, you should have a plan in place for emergency evacuations from the upper floors. Consider drawing an escape route map or listing detailed steps for guests to take in the event of an emergency. 

Emergency supplies 

It’s impossible to anticipate every emergency, but you can make sure your guests are prepared for the unexpected by supplying them with a well-equipped first aid kit and a safety card that lists emergency numbers, as well as procedures for them to follow. If your geographic location is prone to a specific type of emergency, such as floods, forest fires or earthquakes, your guests will appreciate a survival kit as well as information on how to respond to those emergencies.

First aid kit

You can find many pre-packaged first aid kits that contain the essentials your guests will need for minor cuts and bruises. If you want to make your own, the Red Cross suggests including:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings
  • 25 adhesive bandages of assorted sizes
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin
  • 1 emergency blanket
  • 1 breathing barrier with a one-way valve
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pairs of non-latex gloves
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets 
  • 2 assorted roller bandages
  • 5 sterile gauze pads 
  • An oral thermometer 
  • 2 triangular bandages 
  • Tweezers
  • Emergency first aid guide

Your guests may see you as an especially thoughtful host if you include extras like antacids or laxatives. Consider adding items that can help alleviate the discomfort of an injury or illness that are also child friendly and available for purchase without a prescription. No one likes to pause their vacation to take care of a cut or sprain, and having a well-stocked first aid kit when injuries occur can be a real stress reliever.

Safety card

If something goes wrong, your guests should have more than just your phone number to rely on. We recommend creating a safety card that collects all your safety info on a single piece of paper, which you can laminate and place in a prominent spot. 

What to put on your safety card:

  • The official address of your property
  • Location of smoke detectors 
  • Location of fire extinguishers
  • The location of the first aid kit
  • Gas/water/electricity manual shut-off instructions
  • Detailed emergency exit instructions 
  • Contact list with emergency phone numbers of the police, fire department and hospital, as well as your own contact number and a backup number in case you’re unreachable

How should I tell guests about available safety and emergency supplies? 

  • Show guests the location of emergency supplies during check-in
  • Include the location of the first aid kit in a safety card for your guests
  • Encourage guests to report any injuries to you directly, so you can provide them with additional help if necessary

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