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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Is Hoarding a Fire Hazard

4/13/2021 (Permalink)

A pile of messy papers and books on a table Clutter caused by hoarding can be a fire hazard in a home.

Do you have a person in your life who may be a hoarder?  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) fires are bigger and costlier than typical residential fires https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Publications-and-media/NFPA-Journal/2012/January-February-2012/Features/The-Dangers-of-Too-Much-Stuff/Bigger-and-Costlier.  Hoarding is a condition where a person has persistent difficulty discarding personal possessions.  The large amount of possessions fill the home and prevent the normal use of the space.  Living space becomes cluttered making it unusable as the space was designed.  Hoarding can lead to fire hazards in the home.

Why Hoarding Increases Fire Risks:

  • Cooking is unsafe if flammable items are close to the stove or oven.
  • Heating units may be too close to things that can burn. They might also be placed on dangerous, unstable surfaces. If a heater tips over into a pile, it can cause a fire.
  • Open flames from smoking materials or candles in a home with excess clutter are very dangerous.
  • Blocked pathways and exits may hinder escape from a fire.

How Hoarding Impacts First Responders:

  • Hoarding puts first responders in harm’s way.
  • Firefighters cannot move swiftly through a home filled with clutter.
  • Responders can be trapped in a home when exits are blocked. They can be injured by objects falling from piles.
  • The weight of the stored items, especially if water is added to put out a fire, can lead to building collapse.
  • Fighting fires is very risky in a hoarding home. It is hard to enter the home to provide medical care. The clutter impedes the search and rescue of people and pets.

SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor has experience with cleaning hoarding homes.  If a family member is struggling and you need assistance, please call our office at (970) 353-1388.  We answer our phones 24/7/365, and would be happy to assist you in making your home a safe place.

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