Hoarding and Fires do not mix
So you have a lot of stuff. It is your home you can do with it what you want right? Well technically yes, however that stuff can become a very dangerous and real hazard very quickly. Fire danger is a very real thing in any home exacerbated by excessive stuff can really posse a larger danger.
Fires on a normal day run through homes at a rapid rate. When your home is full of clutter and excessive stuff it can move that much faster. In as little as 30 seconds a fire can be well underway. Once you reach 1 minute the room can be full of thick black toxic smoke. The fire itself can reach temperatures of more than 600 degrees in no time. If this does not sound like an ideal environment for living things you would be right. These statistics are under normal living conditions things move a great deal faster when there is excess.
Many times, when you have things lining the walls you find that telling yourself it is stacked neatly so its not a hoard. This means you can be blocking an outlet, visibility to things plugged into those outlets mat be hindered. You may even have chemicals for cleaning lined up. Are they next to a heat source? Did you even think of that? Have you forgotten about one and the cap was off and spilled as you piled a bag of newspapers on top? As you add to the piles you can be pushing a plug into an outlet fraying the cord.
But it is neat and organized. If you cannot sweep a floor all the way over to the edges it is not neat and organized. If you have a hallway for example that has boxes running on each side and you have a pathway through the middle. While moving through this on a normal day you may something you can do with ease. If the home were to be full of smoke and you have to rely on feeling your way through that same hallway. As you reach for an edge the precariously stacked boxes may begin to tumble. You continue to reach, and they continue to fall. The smoke can hinder your breathing, you try to get lower to the ground because that was what you were taught. You are met with a pile of boxes that you cannot crawl through. Your path is now blocked.
Homes are set up for a reason with multiple entrance and exit routes. While on a daily basis you may not use them with frequency or maybe not at all. They still provide a valuable exit from a home. If you have decided the back door is not used so you will just pretend it is a corner, you can be in real trouble. Your main point of entry and exit could be blocked via the fire or items that have fallen. This could become a deadly decision in minutes.
In addition to the reduced entry and exit ways there is something to be said for the weight of the items that you keep within the home. While each floor has a specific load weight that it can hold. Once there is a fire involved these items will be doused with water adding significant weight to the floor load Often times this will cause a collapse that would not have normally happened. This adds to the danger, cost of the damages and can even prohibit rescue.
Large quantity of items add fuel to your current fire. It also creates a more difficult rescue attempt. It puts rescuers lives in danger, adds to the time it takes to reach you. If you are now trapped and having trouble getting out, they too are having trouble getting in. These blocked areas could be entry ways/ hallways/ stairwells. Your items could not only be blocking a pathway they could in fact be on fire.
Work on keeping hallways, and doorways free and clear of clutter and excessive furniture. Old mail, newspapers, magazines need to be discarded with the trash once they have been read or not needed anymore. Do not just put them in a bag or a box to save for later. The internet allows you to look up and reference most information saving you from needing a printed copy in your home.
Another key thing to helping reduce fire risk in your home is keeping electrical outlets free and clear of blockages. Do not pack items in front of them especially if you have things plugged into them. Not overloading an outlet and not using too many power strips or extension cords can also reduce potential for fires.
Please know that while we are living in a consumer driven time it is essential to keep your home in control. This will not only save you money, time and peace of mind. It just might save your life.