Dangers of hoarding warning from fire chiefs - The Leamington Observer

Dangers of hoarding warning from fire chiefs

HOARDING in the home is potentially dangerous.

That is the warning from Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) which is supporting a campaign, which aims to safeguard people with hoarding tendencies.

It is estimated that hoarding affects between two and five per cent of the population. Excessive hoarding can contribute to health and safety issues, as well as underlying mental health issues, but it also increases the risk of fire in the home and the blocking of escape.

Hoarding is a recognised mental disorder, defined as collecting items and the inability to discard items, even though they appear to others as having little to no value.

It not only poses challenges to individuals and their families but can also lead to serious fire risks. Accumulated clutter in hoarded homes can obstruct exits and limit accessibility for both occupants and emergency services in the event of a fire, significantly escalating the potential for injuries and fatalities.

Some 1.2million people across the country are thought to be affected by hoarding.

Warwickshire County Council community safety spokesman Coun Andy Crump said: “Hoarding can present unique challenges when it comes to fire safety. Cluttered homes often have compromised escape routes that hinder evacuation during an emergency, as well as making it more difficult to fight fires at source.

“Our firefighters are well-trained to tackle such incidents, but prevention is always the best approach. We urge residents to be aware of the risks associated with hoarding, maintain clear exits, and ensure they have smoke alarms fitted that are in proper working order.

“We want to ensure that people have the support and resources they need to address this disorder while reminding them of the fire hazards that can arise from it. By increasing public awareness, we can prevent avoidable tragedies and keep Warwickshire communities safe.”

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service offers free home safe and well visits, where we visit your home and provide you with fire safety advice, check that your smoke alarms are working and replace/install new ones if needed.

Anyone with a friend or family member who they believe could be benefit from a safe and well check, can visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fire-safety/apply-safe-well-visit/1

For further fire safety tips and advice visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/firesafety

Residents looking to clear household rubbish can visit one of the county’s Waste and Recycling Centres. Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/waste-recycling to make a booking.

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