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Fire Risk Increased By Hoarding

An accumulation of possessions, or hoarding, can increase the risk of fire.

Hoarding is a serious problem that can cause a home to be filled with possessions which limit daily living, present a fire risk and prevent reasonable access to the property.

Following an accidental fire at a hoarders home in Cornwall yesterday, at which 45 fire-fighters with 5 appliances had to attend the scene, we thought we’d help shine some light on this often unheard-of fire risk.

What is Hoarding?

Hoarding is the result of medical condition where the sufferer feels the need to accumulate a large number of possessions with no apparent value or function. Rooms are gradually filled with the accumulation of items, rendering the rooms in the property no longer suitable for their purpose.

Hoarders are often isolated and unwilling to accept offers of help to reduce the volume of items in their home. They can also present an inexplicable emotional attachment to their possessions.

Hoarding Fire Risks

  • Items hoarded include old furniture, clothing, newspapers and even rubbish – all of which make ideal fuel for fire.
  • With so many items in a room potential fire risks can be hidden from view. These typically include scorched sockets, frayed wires and covered heaters.
  • Once a fire has started it can spread silently through the volume of items in a room, only becoming apparent when it reaches a critical level.
  • Hoarding is not restricted to rooms that are not in use – items are stored in hallways, staircases, landings, bathrooms and kitchens which can make accessing the entirety of a home difficult, especially in an emergency.

In the home of a hoarder swift fire detection is key to reducing the danger and damage of fire. Regularly tested fire alarms are a must (these should be positioned in every room in the property) and exits should be kept clear at all times.

Discount Fire Supplies are online retailers of fire alarms and other safety accessories including fire extinguishers.

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