During May 2014, the first ever UK Hoarding Awareness Week will be undertaken by Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) across the UK.
Hoarding can create significant risks to the individuals, the community and firefighters and East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service are working with partner agencies to promote a wider awareness of hoarding facts and a greater understanding of the risks involved.
The 2014 campaign is focusing on increasing awareness of hoarding amongst the Fire and Rescue Service community and its strategic partners as well as highlighting this important issue to the public.
Community Safety Team Manager, Steve Wright, said: “East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service will be raising awareness at a local level, and working with organisations from the fire sector and many others such as the housing sector, health sector, and adult and community services, who can also help to increase the awareness of hoarding and of issues that are specific to individuals that display a tendency to hoard.
“If you know someone who stores large amounts of possessions in and around their home and you feel that they may benefit from help, there are many organisations that will support you through the process. For details go to: www.helpforhoarders.co.uk/resources
“To request a home fire safety visit for a suspected hoarder, contact East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service on 0800 177 7069. Alternatively, you can contact Adult Social Care (East Sussex) on 0345 608 0191 or Access Point (Brighton & Hove) on 01273 295555 for help and advice.”
Help keep highly vulnerable individuals safe from fire by following the advice below.
Our ‘top tips’ are small, simple steps that can easily be included in a day-to-day routine.
- Whether using a traditional oven/hob, or other methods of cooking such as a portable stove, 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 the home as they are a serious hazard during a fire. If there is a medical need for cylinders, they should be kept upright and outdoors where possible – never store cylinders in basements, under stairs or in cupboards with electric meters/equipment.
- Smokers should use a proper ashtray that won’t burn and put it on a flat, stable surface so that it 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.
- Make sure there is a working smoke alarm and test it as part of regular clearance sessions.
- Plan and practise how to escape if there were a fire.
- Choose an escape route and keep it clear of possessions – in the event of a fire this will aid a quick escape or allow firefighters to rescue anyone inside.
- Ensure possessions are stored on stable surfaces and do not stack items to a height that they become unstable – they could fall over blocking the escape route.
- Newspapers and mail stored in bulk are highly combustible and will cause a fire to spread rapidly. Sort mail and newspapers on the day they are received and recycle them on a regular basis.
- In the event of a fire, do not attempt to put it out yourself –leave straight away and call the fire and rescue service once safely outside. Do not stop to collect possessions and do not go back inside.