We all look forward to our holidays with a sense of excitement, we save and wait all year for the chance to relax and re-charge our batteries. There are, however, some safety aspects that we need to consider. It is important to remember not all countries have the same level of safety standards as are required in the UK. This can have tragic consequences, such as the avoidable deaths of two children at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel in October 2006 due to the silent killer that is carbon monoxide poisoning. You can read the Telegraph report on this heart breaking story by clicking here.
The CDC describes the most common symptoms of Carbon Monoxide or CO poisoning as “headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they present symptoms.”
David Hinchliff who investigated the deaths in Corfu of Bobby and Christi Shepherd said, “There is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken." An inquest ruled that the two children, whilst on holiday with their parents, were unlawfully killed by a faulty boiler.
He also called for:
Safety checks to be carried out by qualified health and safety specialists - not "often inexperienced and overworked" tour reps
Publicity campaigns to encourage tourists to take portable carbon monoxide detectors on holiday
All brochures to contain "clear and easy-to-understand" warnings about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning”
Mary Creagh, the family's MP in Wakefield has declared that 43 holidaymakers had died of carbon monoxide poisoning since Christi and Bobby's deaths.
In order to minimise the risks, it’s worth taking a few precautions and asking some questions of your travel agent, such as these from ITV News, before you book.
Check your travel company's credentials and reputation - is it a member of ABTA?
Make yourself aware of the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning
Don't block the ventilation in the room
Pack an audible carbon monoxide alarm, which can be purchased for around £20 from most homeware stores
Campaign group CO-Gas Safety say people should use a "common sense approach" when inspecting their holiday property, advising holidaymakers that "if something looks out of place, it probably is - complain!"
Despite new measures that could see compulsory carbon monoxide alarms and independent safety inspections being discussed in July 2014, there is currently no plans for these to be introduced into EU rules.
If in any doubt raise your concerns with your tour operator or holiday representative. Think of it less like complaining and more like being safety conscious. If you have experienced clear breaches of your safety whilst on holiday, which has resulted in injury or loss to you and/or your family, then talk to Tollers. The initial discussion is free and confidential and we will be able to advise if you have a case to make a Personal Injury claim. Call 0333 414 9123 Tollers - We are not personal injury lawyers by accident!