Time for a sort out?
It’s easy to accumulate extra items that you don’t need. However, extra clutter is a massive fire hazard; it blocks exit routes, it provides fuel for fires and makes it easier for them spread. It also makes it tough for firefighters trying to tackle the blaze and help people escape your building.
This is one of the reasons why those from poorer backgrounds are more likely to be harmed in a house fire; houses are smaller and more heavily populated, making them more prone to becoming cluttered.
Those that hoard items are also at a greater risk, not just because of the amount of clutter, but because it’s often flammable, too (newspapers and magazines, for instance).
So, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from being harmed in a house fire is to clear it of clutter, keeping your escape routes clear. This is particularly important in homes occupied by people with mobility issues and children.
During the Uk Hoarding Awareness week, May 2014, Karl Turrill, deputy community fire safety manager for Lincolnshire said:
“The problem is hoarding could significantly increase the possibility of a fire occurring in your home, and it is likely it would spread faster.
“If we need to go into a house in an emergency, it is vital that we can reach people quickly and fight a fire before it gets worse. Anything blocking a doorway or a hallway could cost us valuable time.
“If you notice that a relative needs some boxes moving, or a friend needs help clearing out a room, please give them a hand – it could greatly improve their chances of being saved from a fire, like having a working smoke alarm.”
Hoarding tends to be a very private issue and tough to address. However, if you do have a problem, you can contact your local fire service for support.
photo credit: Earthworm
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