People and their Hoarding - PATH Program

People And Their Hoarding - PATH Program

- a pathway to home fire safety for people that hoard.

Hoarding and Home Fire Safety

House fires are life threatening to the occupant and can cause significant financial loss. On average, 64 lives are lost each year in Australia in preventable house fires.*

Hoarding may occur in 2 - 6% of residential properties. In South Australia, that could be between 15,000 and 45,000 properties may involve hoarding. 24% of fire fatalities occur in hoarding properties.*

Fires in hoarding properties may be bigger, more intense and more difficult to control and extinguish. Fires in hoarding properties have lower survivability rates.

Who Can The MFS Assist?

In home service providers;

In home care providers;

Environmental Health Officers;

Local council officers;

Housing providers / managers;

Individuals concerned about their own situation.

Do You Have Clients That Hoard?

The South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) has a program to assist you to work with people that Hoard. It's called the 'People and Their Hoarding' (PATH) Program and it's aim is to reduce the risk of fires in the homes of people that hoard.

The MFS can provide a fire risk assessment tool, the Hoarding Fire Risk Scale (HFRS) PDF File 469KB, that, when completed, can give an indication of the overall fire risk a person is living with.

MFS Image - download the MFS HFRS form here

(Hoarding Fire Risk Scale, PDF File 469KB)

An MFS Officer can meet with you and your client to discuss how to reduce the risk of fire. These educational conversations with clients are followed up with a letter including recommendations.

MFS Suggested Process For Managing The Fire Safety Risks Of Clients

Establish rapport with your client through visits and phone conversations.

Explain to your client the dangers of fire that exist in their home.

If the client doesn't respond to your advice, download and complete the Hoarding Fire Risk Scale (HFRS) form above and discuss it with your client.

Make an action plan with your client to reduce their fire risk.

If this isn't effective, call the MFS to arrange a combined home visit with yourself and your client.

At the visit, we will have an educational chat with your client.

A Letter of Recommendation will be sent to your client and you will also be sent a copy of it.

Make an action plan from our recommendations with your client, to reduce their fire risk.

We will follow up with you three and six months later to evaluate your clients progress living in a safer home.

Hoarding Through A Firefighter's Eyes

We can deliver the MFS Hoarding Through a Firefighter's Eyes training presentation to your organisation. It is designed for professionals working in the community. It covers a range of subjects including:

  • Early warning with smoke alarms;
  • Clear access and egress for quick action;
  • Reduction of ignition sources;
  • Fuel load management.

To book the MFS Hoarding Through a Firefighter's Eyes training presentation, download and complete this booking request form.

MFS Image - download this document

(MFS Hoarding Awareness Training Request Form, PDF File 274KB)

When To Contact The MFS

Do you have concerns that the risk of fire may be too high?

Have you discussed fire safety with your client, the resident or a loved one?

Are you concerned for the resident's fire safety?

Is the occupant making no changes to improve their fire safety?

Do you want the MFS to deliver a presentation to your staff?

Support through the MFS PATH Program is free and has its best outcomes when everyone is working together.

The actions you take contacting the MFS may reduce the fire danger in your client's home and may even save someone's life.

*Source: Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC: Preventable residential fire fatalities in Australia July 2003 to June 2017.

Information About Home Fire Safety

MFS has a range of fact sheets providing detailed advice on many home fire and life safety issues in the home.

View these sheets here.

Hoarding Non Fire Related Referral List

There are many reasons why hoarding can increase the fire risk in a home. However, in some situations, the risks to the resident are not related to fire safety. The organisation on this list may provide assistance or advice with other aspects of personal safety.

MFS Image - download

Hoarding Non Fire Related Referral List (PDF 44KB)


Interpreters are available free of charge if required.

Contact the MFS Community Engagement Team:

Phone: 8204 3611
Country callers: 1300 737 637