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The National Fire Protection Association recently released an article that details what hoarding is and how the condition can adversely impact homeowners.

As the NFPA defines it, hoarding is a condition that’s characterized by having excessive amount of clutter in the house, which results in a person’s inability to conduct basic living activities. In addition, hoarders typically find it difficult to discard these items.

Bill Cummings, a fire captain in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, related to the NFPA that while hoarding is a problem from a health perspective, it can be particularly dangerous in the event of a fire.

“You can’t search in a normal way,” Cummings told the NFPA Journal. “You can’t find the walls because there’s too much stuff. You wouldn’t even know where you were if the place were filled with smoke.”

The source reports fire services around the country are teaming up with social agencies to address these types of challenges, who may be able to offer help to people suffering from the condition.

Large amounts of clutter can be a fire hazard, which is why it’s important for individuals suffering from this condition to not only seek out help but also make sure they’ve taken fire safety precautions. These include making sure smoke alarms are in working order and ensuring that their homeowners insurance policy is current.