National Hoarding Awareness Week 20 - 24 May

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National Hoarding Awareness Week: 20 - 24 May 2019

The first National Hoarding Awareness Week (NHAW) was a campaign run by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) in 2014. It was not continued beyond this initial year but in 2016 on behalf of The Pan London Hoarding Taskforce Julie Wilson, from Amicus Horizon (now Optivo since the merger with Viridian), one of UK's largest housing providers, led the initiative to continue with National Hoarding Awareness Week as an annual event. 

NHAW webpage

NHAW resources 

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Hoarding and the fire and rescue service

Estimates suggest more than a million people in the UK may have hoarding issues and although this is an issue in itself it can also be indicative of other mental health issues. Hoarding presents additional fire risks to individuals affected by the disorder

  • Individuals may not be able to easily escape in the event of a fire incident
  • Fire spread and intensity can be accelerated by hoarded material
  • Materials can increase smoke development
  • May not want people to access their space which means repairs on property and utilities not reported and corrected

Hoarding poses a high risk to operational fire fighters when attending the scene in the event of an incident.

  • There may be increased heat and flashover can occur earlier and at a lower temperature
  • Reduced visability
  • Access and ingress within the property can be restricted to narrow channels
  • Imposed load from the possesions which will increase when water applied which can result in earlier structural instability
  • Entrapment of crews
  • Search patterns hampered and restricted by volume of possesions

NFCC is concerned that information relating to hoarding fires is not collated in a uniform manner across the UK and so we can only estimate the problem. A study in Wales showed the fire service was aware of around 670 hoarders - these were the ones known to the authorities. 

Better sharing of information between organisations may mean hoarding issues can be addressed and hopefully resolved.  Fire services may be able to assist identified hoarders with prevention advice, carry out safe and well visits and work with other organisations so people can get the help they need. 

Multi-agency protocol for working with people who display hoarding behaviour - Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service   (PDF Download)

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service - Hoarding Presentation (PP Download)