FIREFIGHTERS in Staffordshire are throwing their weight behind a national campaign highlighting the potential risks of hoarding.
The Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has produced a leaflet to coincide with National Hoarding Week which runs until Sunday, May 25.
The pamphlet is aimed at the family and friends of people who collect and store a large number of items in their homes.
Head of Risk Reduction Glynn Luznyj said: “Since 2006 14 per cent of fatal fires in Staffordshire have involved hoarders.
“They face an increased risk of a blaze breaking out because they have a greater number of combustible materials in their homes. Because of this, if a fire did start, it would spread more rapidly.
“This leaflet aims to make the families and friends of people who collect lots of items more aware of the dangers.
“It is vital that occupants are able to get out of the property in the event of a fire so we would urge their relatives to identify an escape route with them and to keep it clear.
“This will not only help to keep them safer, it will also provide more protection for their neighbours as there will be less risk of a fire starting and spreading, not to mention the firefighters who would be responsible for putting the fire out and rescuing anyone who was trapped.”
The leaflet includes lowing potentially life-saving advice:
Leave the property immediately in the event of a fire
Keep the cooking area clear from clutter.
Don’t place items on, or near to, heaters, lamps or other electrical equipment.
Ensure cylinders are not stored in the home as they are a serious hazard during a fire. They should never be stored in basements, under stairs or in cupboards with electric meters/equipment.
Never leave lit cigarettes unattended.
Keep candles/tea lights away from anything flammable and never leave them unattended.
Newspapers and mail stored in bulk are highly combustible and will cause a fire to spread rapidly. Recycle them on a regular basis.
Check whether possessions are stored on stable surfaces and that items aren’t stacked to a height that they become unstable – they could fall over, blocking the escape route.