We’re all guilty of hoarding, even if it’s just a little bit. And getting rid of waste products seems like a chore and a half, but it really isn’t if you have the right waste management team in Melbourne to do it for you. Why is it so important to be thinking about this? Because there are serious dangers to hoarding clutter during these scorching summer months to come – and it’s more serious than you think. Here’s why:
Hoarding is the uncontrollable accumulation of and lack of ability to relinquish large numbers of objects or living animals. It results in extreme clutter in and around your home or work premises, taking up a vast amount of space. Although it might seem a bit silly, hoarding is actually a chronic condition.
Squalor is an unhygienic living environment that has come about from extreme neglect. It poses serious health and safety risks to people or animals residing in the affected area as well as others in the community.
Hoarding and squalor can exist in isolation or at the same time.
- Fire hazards
Were you even aware that keeping waste products in your home can cause a fire hazard? Look at it this way:
Fires in homes with hoarding increases the risks to occupants, neighbours and firefighters because:
- Non-functional gas or electricity may result in unsafe practices for cooking and heating.
- This, combined with high fuel loads, provides greater opportunity for fire ignition.
- Debris blocking exits and narrowing pathways obstructs escape for the occupants and access for firefighters.
- Accumulation of possessions results in an unusually high fuel load, creating excessive smoke and fire conditions, and possible structural collapse.
Under these conditions:
- Fighting these fires and searching for occupants is far more difficult.
- Neighbouring properties can quickly be affected.
Victorian fire services (CFA and MFB) recommend the following to eliminate the likelihood of catastrophe should a fire occur:
- Install smoke alarms and test them
- Unblock exits
- Widen internal pathways
- Check that utilities are connected
- Remove clutter from the stove top and around the cooking area
- Remove clutter around heaters and electrical items and limit the use of open flames
Hoarding is a complex issue which requires intervention and long-term support from those around you. One-off clean-ups are not effective. If the underlying issues are not addressed the accumulation of materials – for example, newspapers and magazines –will only occur again.