MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Severe storms cause billions of dollars in damage each year, yet a new survey from ServiceMaster Restore shows homeowners still aren’t prepared for weather emergencies, and they’re overlooking simple precautions that could help them get back on their feet more quickly, should severe weather damage their home or property.
With the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicting an above-normal hurricane season this year, and tornado season off to its deadliest start in nearly 10 years, ServiceMaster Restore is urging homeowners to be prepared.
“Our crews are often among the first onsite after a severe weather event, whether flood, tornado, straight line winds or hurricane,” said Peter Duncanson, director of business operations for ServiceMaster Restore, one of the largest disaster restoration companies in the nation, and a ServiceMaster (NYSE: SERV) company. “Over and over again, not only do we see the destruction, but we see homeowners who have no idea what to do next. They’re lost. They thought it wouldn’t happen to them.”
Unfortunately, Duncanson’s experience is far too common.
The company today released results from its 2017 ServiceMaster Restore Weather Emergency Survey, in which nearly 40 percent of homeowners surveyed admitted to having no idea how to prep their house for a potential weather emergency. In addition, the survey found that:
- Less than one third of homeowners prep their home before a potential weather emergency
- More than 40 percent of homeowners don’t set aside emergency funds for potential damages.
- Homeowners are almost 80 percent more likely to charge their cell phone than to secure their personal valuables and keepsakes ahead of a potential weather emergency.
- Fewer than one-in-five homeowners review their homeowner’s insurance policy ahead of a weather emergency. Flooding is not covered under most homeowner’s policies, leaving people unguarded against thousands of dollars in potential damages.
- Less than 25 percent have an inventory of their home’s contents, something that will be invaluable in the event it sustains severe damage.
In light of these findings, the experts at ServiceMaster Restore offer four important strategies to help you be prepared for what Mother Nature might send your way in the coming months.
1. Make a plan: Create a response plan for your family so when severe weather hits, you can react quickly. Practice it at least twice a year so everyone knows where to go and what to do. Designate a safe place in your home for shelter, and if you’re in an area that’s prone to hurricanes, know your evacuation routes. Download the American Red Cross Emergency mobile app to stay up-to-date on severe weather and nearby shelters. Review your homeowner’s insurance plan and know what’s covered under your policy.
2. Inventory your home: At least once a year, take note of what’s in your home. While several apps offer easy-to-use formats and cloud-based storage, photos and videos, spreadsheets with serial numbers and other details are also helpful.
3. Gather supplies: Assemble an emergency kit for your home. Include any essential medications, along with first aid items such as bandages, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer and gauze. Also stock several flashlights, a transistor radio and extra batteries. Remember to include bottled water, a can opener and ready-to-eat canned foods or other items with a long shelf-life. A large tarp can also come in handy should you need to protect damaged areas from rain damage.
4. Know who to call: Store important numbers in your phone, such as local emergency response agencies, the number for your homeowner’s insurance agent and a restoration company like ServiceMaster Restore that can help you safely assess the damage and help put a restoration plan in place for you and your family. ServiceMaster Restore experts will walk you through the process and work with your insurance providers, taking some of the stress and worry off your plate.
For more expert tips and information on how to prepare for and recover from severe summer weather, visit ServiceMasterRestore.com or visit us on YouTube or Facebook. For immediate assistance and clean-up, call a live ServiceMaster Restore operator 24/7 at 1-800-RESPOND.
About ServiceMaster Restore
With approximately 1,800 franchised and licensed locations around the world, ServiceMaster Restore and ServiceMaster Recovery Management (SRM) serve customers through a global network of franchises available 24/7/365 to provide residential and commercial restoration services resulting from damage caused by water, fire or smoke. SRM is the large-scale commercial catastrophic disaster restoration unit of ServiceMaster Restore. ServiceMaster Restore is a business unit of the Memphis-based ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SERV), a leading provider of essential residential and commercial services. More information can be found at www.servicemasterrestore.com and www.servicemasterrecoverymanagement.com.
ServiceMaster (NYSE: SERV) solves the homeowner’s dilemma. Every day, we visit more than 75,000 homes and businesses through our extensive service network of expert professionals. Technology powers our trusted experts to engage with customers so they can order, buy and receive services when, where and how they want them. Our well-recognized brands includes American Home Shield (home warranties), AmeriSpec (home inspections), Furniture Medic (furniture repair), Merry Maids (residential cleaning), ServiceMaster Clean (janitorial and residential floor cleaning), ServiceMaster Restore (disaster restoration) and Terminix (termite and pest control). Like, follow or visit us at facebook.com/ServiceMaster, linkedin.com/ServiceMaster, twitter.com/ServiceMaster, or servicemaster.com.
About the Survey
The 2017 ServiceMaster Weather Emergency Survey presents the findings of an online survey conducted by Toluna from April 18-20, 2017 among a sample of 1,555 American homeowners 18 years of age and older. The margin of error for a sample of this size is ± 2.5 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Some numbers may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.