Hoarding too many things in the home can be a fire hazard. West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is backing a national awareness campaign in a bid to keep the community and firefighters safe.
Properties filled with flammable mate- rials like newspapers, mail and clothes can increases the risk of a fire starting and spreading quickly.
Hoarding makes getting out of a building during a fire more difficult because
escape routes like hallways, windows and doors become blocked.
It also makes it difficult and more dangerous for crews to get into a property and tackle a fire.
West Sussex assistant chief fire officer Gavin Watts said: “Fire safety is something every householder needs to take seriously, but because the risk of a fire starting increases and opportunities to escape decreases it is even more important for those people whose homes are overloaded with possessions.
“Hoarding is an issue that as a nation we are just only beginning to understand and we know it isn’t as straightforward as simply advising people to de-clutter.
“However this gives us a good opportunity to increase awareness of the dangers from fire and try and offer people some simple advice on how they can reduce the risk for themselves, their loved ones and our fire crews.”
Advice on reducing fire risk:
Install a smoke detector on each level of the home and carry out a weekly test to ensure they work
Keep the cooker and cooking area clear
Newspapers and mail stored in bulk are highly combustible – try to sort these on the day they arrive and recycle regularly
Don’t place items on or close to heaters, lamps or other electrical equipment.
Smokers should put ashtrays on a flat, stable surface so they can’t tip over easily. Empty ashtrays regularly and ensure cigarettes are extinguished properly.
Make sure candles and tea lights are kept in heat-resistant holders, placed on a flat heat-resistant surface and kept well away from anything that could catch light.
Only leave candles or tea lights burning when you are in the room People worried about whether their home is safe can have a free check carried out by calling 0800 328 6487 or visiting www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire.