Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 9:30 AM

Hoarding and Fire: Reduce the Risks

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Many fire departments are experiencing serious fires, injuries, and deaths as the result of compulsive hoarding behavior.

The St. John’s Regional Fire Department (SJRFD) wishes to remind residents that the excessive accumulation of materials in homes can pose the following risks to both firefighters and escaping occupants.

  • Access through the home can be impeded thereby slowing rescue or fire attack.
  • Burning clutter will intensify the amount of fire and heat within the building, increasing the risk to occupants and firefighters.
  • Exits may become obstructed.Falling objects can cause injury.
  • A building may collapse earlier under the weight of the clutter, trapping or seriously injuring occupants or firefighters.

The following tips will help:

  • Combustibles should be kept away from cooking areas, heaters, lamps or other electrical equipment.
  • Keep non-essential pressurized cylinders out of your home. Medical cylinders, if needed, should be secured upright and/or outdoors if possible. Never store cylinders in basements or storage spaces with electrical meters/equipment.
  • Don’t leave lit cigarettes unattended and place ashtrays on a stable surface.
  • Use candles/tea lights only in proper holders on a heat resistant surface. Never leave them unattended.
  • Gasoline cans and propane barbeque cylinders should stay outdoors.
  • Minimize flammable and combustible liquids, products and debris both inside and around the outside of your home. Do not burn debris without a proper burning permit in accordance with your municipality’s policy.
  • Make sure you have a regularly tested smoke alarm and practice your escape plan, keeping all escape routes clear.
  • In the event of a fire, leave and call 9-1-1 once you are safely outside. Do not stop on your way out to collect possessions and do not go back inside once you have escaped.