As I logon to Firehouse.com and see another article about fires happening in homes with hoarder type conditions, I just stop and wonder, when will it happen to you? When I was writing my article on fighting fires in these conditions I never would have imagined that this problem would continue to grow. It has become the norm today to respond to someone's residence and be faced with these conditions.
Let's take an opportunity to address this problem during our month - Fire Prevention Month. October is the best time to address these issues with our residents because this is the time when we are most visible to our community. While educating the public on the dangers of fire, let's educate them on the dangers of hoarding. One of the best ways to get some pressure on the parent's is to use their children. We learned this lesson while teaching school-aged kids about escape plans and changing batteries on smoke detectors. When you give your next fire safety presentation it might be a good idea to add in the need for the removal of debris from exits and windows.
Talk to the kids about telling mom and dad to move or remove some of the stuff that is blocking primary and secondary means of egress. Also remind them to have windows accessible to be used in case the primary is blocked by fire.
One of the best fire prevention videos that I have ever seen is the one that uses the phrase "what color is fire?" It is black, and in blackout conditions kids can be inaccessible due to hoarding. Let's start being proactive with this problem, let's use their kids and some kid pressure to help reduce this problem before we pay with lives of firefighters!
Thanks for the visit to the jumpseat!