Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) is supporting National Hoarding Awareness Week (13th-17th May) to help raise awareness of the fire risks associated with hoarding.

There is often a strong link between hoarding and fire risks and it’s estimated that hoarding affects 2-5% of the UK population (Hoarding Awareness Week, Clouds End CIC).

Fire risks associated with hoarding include:

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  • Escape routes may become blocked preventing easy escape in the event of a fire.
  • Fire spread and intensity can be accelerated by hoarded material.
  • Materials can increase smoke development.
  • Those with hoarding behaviours may not want people to access their space meaning essential repairs on property and utilities are not reported and fixed.
  • Hoarding also creates additional risks for firefighters.

In 2017, a 79-year-old man died inside his property on Pan Estate, Newport when radiant heat from a heater set fire to 1.2m high stacks of old newspapers and other items. The hoarder lived in self-imposed squalor with every room in the house full of items collected over a 35-year period.

The free home fire safety (Safe and Well) visits offered by HIWFRS play a huge part in identifying and supporting those who may be displaying hoarding behaviours.

Laura Cane-Andrews, HIWFRS’ Safeguarding Lead, says:

​“Our home fire safety visits play a huge part in identifying and supporting members of our community who may be displaying hoarding behaviours, to ensure they remain safe but can also receive any support they may want and need.

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“We work closely with the individual and multi-agency partners to reduce the fire risks in the home.”

Hoarding is a complex mental health condition and each person’s individual circumstances have to be taken into account when deciding on the best approach. In some cases, the referred person who’s displaying the hoarding behaviour may refuse support. The Fire Service’s role then becomes advisory as part of a multi-agency approach.

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Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper
1 month ago

“Hoarding is a complex mental health condition and each person’s individual circumstances have to be taken into account when deciding on the best approach”
Obviously, so the fire service saying “don’t hoard stuff” is not going to make a jot of difference. Engage your brains before sending out stupid press releases.

Kevin Pidwell
Kevin Pidwell
Reply to  Gary Cooper
1 month ago

You’re so right on this Gary. Hoarders are usually recluse people who never have visitors and their compulsion is much stronger than heeding advise from the HIWFRS.


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