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We are raising awareness about hoarding to promote understanding and safety. By learning about hoarding and its challenges, we can work together to create safer environments for everyone.

National Hoarding Awareness Week banner

Hoarding presents significant risks, especially in case of a fire. Having a large amount of highly combustible items can cause a fire to spread faster and lead to a rapid increase in temperature. Additionally, hoarded possessions can obstruct exit routes, making it challenging for occupants to quickly escape during an emergency. Firefighters entering the premises may be at risk of items falling on them or blocking their way out of the property.

If you or someone you know is dealing with hoarding, your first step should be to contact your GP, further information and support can be found on the NHS website.

Helping hoarders reduce the risk of fire – top tips

If you store large amounts of possessions in and around your home, you can help keep yourself safe from fire by following these simple steps:

  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every floor and test it regularly.
  • Make it a priority to keep the cooking area clear.
  • Do not place items on or close to heaters, lamps or other electrical equipment.
  • Do not store cylinders in your home as they are a serious hazard during a fire.
  • Put ashtrays on flat, stable surfaces so that they can’t tip over easily. Don’t leave lit cigarettes unattended.
  • Put candles/tea lights in heat resistant holders that hold the candle/tea light firmly and ensure it is placed on a flat, stable, heat resistant surface.
  • Keep candles/tea lights away from anything that can catch fire, and never leave them unattended.
  • Plan and practise how to escape from your home if there were a fire. Choose an escape route and keep it clear.
  • Ensure possessions are stored on stable surfaces and do not stack items to a height that they become unstable.
  • Newspapers and mail stored in bulk are highly combustible and will cause a fire to spread rapidly.
  • In the event of a fire, do not attempt to put it out yourself. Do not stop to collect possessions and do not go back inside once you have escaped.
  • Get Out - Stay Out - Call 999.