High levels of clutter make it much easier for a fire to start. The clutter means that a fire has a greater risk of spreading, which increases the risk of injury and death.

Clutter can also make it very difficult to escape.

Clutter/hoarding - fire safety tips

  • Whether you use a traditional oven and hob, or other methods of cooking like a portable stove, make it a priority to keep the cooking area clear.

  • Do not place items on, or close to, heaters, lamps, or other electrical equipment.

  • Do not store gas cylinders in your home as they are a serious hazard during a fire. If you have a medical need for gas cylinders, you require oxygen for example, they should be kept upright and outdoors where possible. Do not store cylinders in basements, under stairs or in cupboards with electric meters/equipment.

  • If you smoke, use a proper ashtray that won't burn and put it on a flat, stable surface so that it can't fall over easily. Do not leave your lit cigarettes unattended.

  • Put candles or tea lights in heat resistant holders that hold the candle or tea light firmly. Ensure the holder is placed on a flat, stable, heat resistant surface. Keep candles and tea lights away from anything that can catch fire, and never leave them unattended.

  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm and test it as part of your regular clearance sessions. You can contact us for advice.

  • Plan and practise how to escape from your home if you were to experience a fire. Choose an escape route and keep it clear of possessions - in the event of a fire this will help you to escape quickly or allow firefighters to reach you if you are unable to escape.

  • Ensure possessions are stored on stable surfaces and do not stack items to a height that they become unstable - they could fall over and block your escape.

  • Newspapers and mail stored in bulk are highly combustible and will cause a fire to spread rapidly. Sort mail and newspapers on the day you receive them and recycle them on a regular basis.

  • In the event of a fire, do not attempt to put it out yourself - leave your home straight away and call the fire and rescue service 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.

  • Further information, advice and support in relation to hoarding can be accessed via The MIND Charity (opens in new window


Last updated: Wednesday, 26 July 2023