How often do you train with your portable radios? In today’s fire service most all firefighters carry portable radios, how often do you review what is important traffic. One such transmission should be Heavy Contents.
From a street level, jumpseat riding, firefighter like me to the chief of the department allowing them all to transmit a discovery of hoarder conditions should be encouraged if you are face with an extra amount of contents, such as those found in a hoarder home. Compulsive hoarding can be found at many different levels (1-5) that have their own characteristics. Using you cues and clues from the first alarm to the backing in of the last truck will help you all come home safe. Let’s take a look at vital transmitions that should be made if hoarding conditions are discovered.
1) Blocked Entrance points: Often in hoarding conditions entry doors and exits are no longer able to be used. From a level 3 or above multiple doors and windows will become blocked as their hoard accumulates and block them.
2) Overloaded yards: Many times a hoarded environment will spill over into their yards. These are the easiest conditions to identify, but keep in mind that building codes inside city limits front yards will not show, but backyards can.
3) Overloaded attic spaces: In the beginning of a collection of belongings the attic space can be the beginning. If a firefighter finds an overloaded attic space, the Heavy Content should be transmitted.
4) Hoarded Cars: Why this is not a concrete declaration, a discovery of a hoarder condition in their car can clue you into a possible heavy content environment inside the home.
These are some quick tips to review with your firefighters, both young and old. If you see something say something. Make the call to announce a heavy content environment to everyone on scene and responding to make sure we all identify, adjust, and attack these Hoarder Fires.