Hoarding may result in large quantities of objects that cover all areas of a residence or other structure.


Hoarding may create hazardous conditions for firefighters. Exits may be blocked and fire loads may be excessive due to the amount of combustible material.

Actions for employers

Employers must:

  • make fire personnel aware of the potential hazards of hoarding
  • provide information, instruction and supervision to firefighters to protect their health and safety when working in hoarding conditions

Employers should:

  • develop a system to report hoarding locations and situations through pre-planning exercises
  • develop procedures for the safety of firefighters when responding to fires in hoarding locations and train fire personnel on procedures
  • consult with their joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative in the development of procedures and training


When developing procedures for responding to fires in hoarding locations, consider the following:

  • appropriate PPE selection depending on the circumstance
  • the additional weight of materials could compromise the structural integrity of the building and in a fire may result in premature collapse
  • fires may be complex due to an increased fuel load and require a change in fire fighting strategy and tactics
  • responders may not be able to stay in contact with walls
  • responders may have difficulty accessing the source of the fire and/or occupants
  • access or egress routes may be blocked
  • falling items may block the exit point or path of travel

Applicable regulations and acts


  • Occupational Health and Safety Act
    • clause 25(2)(a) for providing information, instruction and supervision to a worker
    • clause 25(2)(d) for making workers aware of hazards
    • clause 25(2)(h) for taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers


Learn more about hoarding disorder from the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation and view Clutter Image Ratings.