There is a greater risk of fire in hoarded homes. Additionally, possessions can block exit routes, which makes safe evacuation more difficult. If doors cannot be closed and flammable items such as newspapers or cardboard are lying around, fires spread much faster. Anyone who suffers from a hoarding disorder will benefit enormously from Trauma Clean 24Seven’s hoarding clean up service.
Is there anything I can do to help? Yes, there is usually a free fire safety home visit service offered by your local authority fire service. Fire technicians will talk to homeowners, providing advice and guidance without making judgments about their living situation. They can also sometimes offer a free smoke detector installation service.
Professional help is available for those who want to dispose of items and find the task daunting. There is a register of professional declutterers who can work with people to support them to remove excess belongings:
If you know someone who lives in a house full of belongings, you can help them live more safely by:
- Planning and practicing a fire escape plan with them. Be sure to emphasise the importance of having clear routes and exits in case of a fire. Be sure to practice your plan as often as possible. New items brought into the home may change exit routes.
- Smoke alarms should be installed in the home. It is recommended that you test them every week (or once a month at the very least).
- A way to prevent fires is to keep flammable items such as linens or paper away from portable heaters, cookers or any naked flames.
- Make sure the electrical wiring in the property is not damaged by the weight of their possessions – it may be old or worn out and pests can chew on wires; damaged wires can start fires.
- Assist them to manage their paperwork – newspapers and mail are particularly flammable. Recycle newspapers and post as soon as it is finished with. In the event of a fire, they would cause it to spread rapidly.
- Encourage safe smoking habits such as smoking outside, discarding cigarettes in a suitable ashtray and regularly emptying ashtrays.
For more guidance with helping someone with hoarding issues this website may be helpful:
If you are concerned about someone who may be living with a hoarding disorder we are here to help. Contact a member of our friendly office team who can give you advice and a free quotation for our hoarding clean up service. Call 0203 640 8247 or email your enquiry to [email protected]