By Robert Maloney
Firefighter safety is one motivator for his research into all aspects of the hoarder home phenomenon, Training Officer Ryan Pennington of the Charleston (WV) Fire Department told workshop attendees. At the Monday morning presentation, “Hoarder Fires: Lessons from Inside the Stacks of Dangers,” he drew on personal experiences and incident-related photos and video to illustrate the dangers. He noted that the hoarding condition is not limited to any particular demographic, area, or even nation, he said; it is a global phenomenon, and is growing.
Of particular concern are how firefighters approach such responses, and the tactics they use. A 360-degree survey is essential, he said, using photos to point out some clues indicating a possible hoarding situation. He also explained why such responses require firefighters to reconsider their tactics such as those related to search and rescue and ventilation.
READ: Hoarder Fires: Going Offensive on Traditionally Defensive Fires | The Dangers of Hoarder Fires
Pennington also reviewed aspects of the compulsive hoarding disorder that compels this behavior and the importance of respectfully communicating with such individuals regarding their collection.