'Hoarding' Host Gives Seminar In Roanoke

Roanoke, VA - He's the host of the Emmy nominated television series, "Hoarders."

Monday, Cory Chalmers educated first responders and others in Roanoke about the dangers of hoarding.

Chalmers was a firefighter and EMT before starting his specialized business.

Chalmers does much more than just help people clean up.

The number one lesson from his seminar is that people who suffer from hoarding need remedial plans to help them regain control of their lives.

The video can be hard to see, but once the smoke starts to clear, it takes just a second to realize that what you are watching are two firefighters navigating the home of a hoarder, in an effort to save that hoarder's life from toxic fumes.

Chalmers has been addressing the problem for years and has gotten so good at it, he now hosts his own show: "Hoarders" on the A&E Cable Network.

Chalmers' main concern is for the firefighters and other government officials that may end up in dangerous situations.

"They are kind of going in unprepared. So I think if I can educate them on the facts, how best to make progress, how best to even approach this subject, so moving forward, they will make good progress with the people they are working with," Chalmers said.

Battalion Chief Bill Duff is in charge of Roanoke County's EMS and is looking for ways to teach his crews what they need to look out for on medical calls.

"It may not be the EMS call that's in danger but if we go back to that house on a fire call then the means to get in and the means to get out and factors that affect fire spread can be an issue," said Duff.

Another key is tackling the problem as a mental health issue.

It was a message heard loud-and-clear by John Vaughan, of Floyd County, whose cleaning business is much more than just cleaning.

"They are getting people the help they need and getting them in contact with who they need as well as cleaning their house," Vaughan said.

"We are not dealing with the problem at all by just cleaning their house. We have to get the person ready to clean their house, make them a part of the clean-up process and then give them the tools to manage this disorder moving forward," Chalmers added.

Chalmers also runs a national database called , which helps people across the country find qualified help.

Hoarding is recognized as an obsessive-compulsive disorder that experts say needs to be addressed with specific treatments.

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