What is hoarding?
Hoarding is the excessive collection of items, along with the inability to discard them. This can result in serious health and safety risks to those in the home.
Hoarding may require action
Hoarding can be a medical condition that requires mental health treatment. It also needs practical strategies for de-cluttering and maintaining a healthy home environment.
Why is hoarding an issue for the fire department?
- Hoarding can be a safety hazard. Many occupants die in fires in these homes. Often, blocked exits prevent escape. In addition, many people are injured when they trip over things or when materials fall on them.
- Hoarding can put fire fighters at risk. Obstructed exits, falling objects and excessive fire loading that can lead to collapse increase the danger. Hoarding makes fighting fires and searching for occupants more difficult.
- Those living next to an occupied structure can be quickly affected when a fire occurs, due to excessive smoke and fire conditions.
Hoarding Education and Action Team (HEAT)
HEAT uses a collaborative approach to help hoarders in Greater Victoria. HEAT includes:
- Saanich and Victoria Fire Departments
- Island Health
- municipal services
- concerned non-profit groups
- de-cluttering services
If you or someone you know needs support, call HEAT at 250-361-0227 or visit their website.