Fire service issues warning during National Hoarding Awareness Week

Share this content


Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service warns of fire risks during National Hoarding Awareness Week

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) is supporting National Hoarding Awareness Week, taking place from 13-17 May 2024, to help raise awareness of the fire risks associated with hoarding.

As reported by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, hoarding affects an estimated 2-5% of the UK population.

Fire risks linked to hoarding include blocked escape routes, accelerated fire spread, increased smoke development, and delays in reporting essential property repairs.

Additionally, hoarding presents extra risks for firefighters during emergencies.

Home fire safety visits

The free home fire safety (Safe and Well) visits offered by HIWFRS are crucial in identifying and supporting individuals with hoarding behaviours.

Laura Cane-Andrews, HIWFRS Safeguarding Lead, said: “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.

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

HIWFRS has shared stories of individuals they have assisted to highlight the impact of hoarding.

One such individual, B, had been overwhelmed by a high volume of books, newspapers, and videos.

Following a fire incident, a safeguarding referral led to joint visits from a Community Safety Officer and Adult Services team, resulting in regular support and significant improvements in B’s life.

Challenges and ongoing support

Hoarding is a complex mental health condition, requiring tailored approaches for each person.

Some individuals may refuse support, as seen in the case of H, who has been referred to HIWFRS but declined a home fire safety visit.

H faces risks including blocked escape routes and potential vermin due to spoiled food storage.

HIWFRS continues to collaborate with partner agencies through multi-agency risk management meetings to support H.

Progress has been made, with neighbours helping to clear some hoarded items.

HIWFRS is awaiting confirmation for a home fire safety visit to proceed with H’s consent and will keep supporting efforts to mitigate fire risks in the meantime.

Receive the latest breaking news straight to your inbox