Survey: Only a quarter of summer houses have carbon monoxide detectors ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Carbon monoxide detector (photo is illustrative).
Carbon monoxide detector (photo is illustrative). Source: Rescue Board (Päästeamet)

According to a recent survey, just 27 percent of all holiday homes and 29 percent of cottages using solid fuel heating or gas appliances have a carbon monoxide detector.

The survey was commissioned by security firm G4S.

"If people spend the night [in such propertiesr] or light a fire in the stove or furnace, those staying must be protected," commented G4S spokesperson Villu Õun.

"Carbon monoxide does not forgive a first mistake; it kills every time it is let loose in a room," Oun continued, according to BNS.

A carbon monoxide detector immediately gives a signal when smoke or carbon monoxide comes enters a room from the heating stove or similar.

The survey also revealed that 41 percent of those who do not yet have a carbon monoxide detector in their summer house are not planning to install one in the near future.

"The reason given as to why the installation of detectors in a summer house is not planned is primarily that it is not heated, and that residents do not go there during the heating period (i.e. winter-ed.) or only stay for a very short time," Õun continued, noting that a carbon monoxide detector in such properties was essential even if they were visited only a few times per year.

According to BNS, there is also a tendency to take a more relaxed approach to the maintenance of summer home heating elements themselves,

As a money-saving measure along with the fact that properties are not often used, chimney sweeps are not being hired, meaning possible problems in the heating elements go unnoticed.

G4S says it can provide both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, which also notify the company when sounded.

G4S says it has 70 patrols across Estonia, in addition to cooperating with volunteer rescuers, and can attend properties where an alarm has been given, BNS reports.

"The most important factor, of course, is to keep your summer house stoves or boilers in good condition and maintain them regularly. But to further keep people safe, a carbon monoxide detector must be installed even when the chimney sweep has done their work. Just as we cannot see or smell life-threatening carbon monoxide, people often do not notice the problem in their heating stoves," Õun said.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a reported uptick in the use of summer and second homes even in spring, as many members of the public prefer to self-quarantine there rather than their city home.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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