A cluttered home can quickly become unmanageable, especially when life feels overwhelming. While hoarding may only seem like something you’re familiar with because of the popular TV show, it’s actually quite common with around 2% to 6% of the population suffering from hoarding disorder. This common disorder typically affects older adults (55-94 years of age), although symptoms may first emerge for children as young as 11 and are often hard to identify unless you have access to a person’s home, car, or office.
While hoarding disorder can cause minor problems in everyday life from relationship issues to difficulty with social activities, more serious consequences may result in health and safety concerns and it’s important to know when it’s time to seek outside help at home. From fire hazards to health code violations, here are some of the most common hazards often associated with hoarding.
One: Difficult to navigate pathways
When the accumulation of things becomes overwhelming, it’s easy for stuff to pile high and wide throughout a room. As more and more things are brought into a home, escape paths are easily blocked which can make it difficult to exit. If there were to be an emergency in the house, it also makes it challenging for law enforcement and EMS to navigate the home and get to anyone needing help. Without clear and easy pathways leading to the outside, evacuation times are longer which could be dangerous and, in extreme cases, deadly.
Two: Fire hazards and risk of increased severity
Another hazard that’s important to note is that having an excess of things in your home could lead to an increased risk of fire ignition due to combustibles near ignition sources such as appliances. It could also mean that a small fire has the potential to become much larger and more severe due to an excessive amount of combustible material.
Three: Obstructing smoke detectors
A hoarding hazard identified by the National Institute of Health is that having too many things piled on top of each other can obstruct smoke detectors or fire alarm devices. With such an obstruction, you may be in danger of receiving delayed warnings to emergency situations.
Four: Risk of becoming trapped
In extreme cases of hoarding piles can go from floor to ceiling throughout the entire home. With this much stuff, there’s always a risk that anyone living in the home (or entering the home) could become trapped under or injured by anything that happens to fall.
Five: Potential for structural damage
If hoarding has gone on for an excessive length of time and/or the hoarding has made it so the occupant can’t properly use appliances and utilities, there is potential for structural damage. It’s important to note that if the damage goes untreated for a long while, it could lead to the structure being deemed unsafe and, in extreme cases, could lead to the building collapsing.
When to hire a biohazard cleanup company
Hoarding disorder is a very real disease and can be emotional and frustrating for anyone to deal with. For most people, cleaning, donating, and throwing things away is easy to do and for others it is nearly impossible. When a situation turns from clutter to dangerous hoarding, it’s important that the scene is handled by skilled biohazard cleaners and that the affected person receives the professional care needed to avoid having the home become unsafe again.
Our team of highly trained technicians at Xtreme Cleaners understand how critical it is to be sensitive, discreet, and professional when cleaning up after hoarding. We are here 24/7 to help so anyone affected by hoarding can safely return to their home with the peace of mind that you deserve. If you or someone you know needs help cleaning a hoarding situation in Louisiana, give our team a call anytime at 800-524-9591.