MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The start of summer also means the start of the Atlantic Hurricane season, which delivered more than $280 billion in damage last year through Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. With NOAA’s just-released announcement about a near- or above-normal season, the disaster restoration experts at ServiceMaster Restore, one of the largest residential and commercial disaster recovery companies in the U.S. and a part of the ServiceMaster (NYSE:SERV) company, say it’s crucial to prepare now and be sure you know what to do before and after a tropical storm or hurricane.
“With the devastation of 2017’s storms still fresh in the minds of many, now is the time to get prepared for the upcoming hurricane season,” said Peter Duncanson, a 30-year disaster recovery veteran of ServiceMaster Restore. “We care deeply about public safety and don’t want anyone to get caught off guard. If you live in a coastal region, take time now, ahead of this year’s tropical storms and hurricanes, to ensure your entire family knows what to do. A good plan can also help you avoid more costly damages down the road.”
An effective pre-storm plan, according to Duncanson, includes things such as a list of all medications and copies of relevant medical records and other important documents; details of evacuation routes and pre-determined meeting locations for family members; essential supplies such as non-perishable food and first aid items; and an updated list of contacts, including insurance providers, and qualified professionals such as tree trimmers and restoration companies.
If you have to evacuate, wait for authorities to declare it's safe to go home. When it is, keep these steps in mind:
1. Safety first. Avoid driving or even walking in floodwaters. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving waters can sweep your vehicle away. Not only is floodwater contaminated with all sorts of debris and pollutants, it might be electrically charged by downed power lines. If you see any fallen power lines, contact your utility company immediately – do not assume someone else has.
2. Check the power. When you return home, if you can safely reach the breaker box, turn off the power to your house, or ask your power company to cut power remotely. Standing water inside your home can create an electrical shock hazard.
3. Check the structure. If your home's structure or foundation appears unstable, do not attempt to go inside. Immediately call for professional help and get a thorough assessment of the damage. Water damage can cause walls, ceilings and floors to swell, decay or collapse, in addition to other storm damage that may have affected your home’s structure or foundation.
4. Take inventory and contact your insurance agent. Photograph and document all damage to your home and your belongings to support insurance claims. Better yet, do a complete inventory of the contents of your home now and electronically scan or take photos of important documents; these will come in handy if you need to file a claim. Once the storm has passed, it’s important to contact your insurance company immediately to confirm your coverage and start the claims process.
5. Partner with professionals. Professional restoration companies like ServiceMaster Restore offer 24-hour emergency assistance to minimize the impact a storm can have on your home or business. Water damage restoration experts follow industry best practices and come equipped with the tools to extract water, effectively dry your home and belongings, restore damaged items and help prevent or remediate the development of mold so you can get back to normal as soon as possible after a major storm.
6. Download the American Red Cross Emergency mobile app: This app, which is sponsored by ServiceMaster, not only provides expert advice on what to do before, during and after severe weather events, but it also includes real-time local weather radar, maps of nearby shelters and notification capabilities to let friends and family know you’re safe. To download, text “GETEMERGENCY” to 90999, search “American Red Cross” in the app store or go to redcross.org/apps.
About ServiceMaster Restore
With approximately 2,000 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, smoke or mold. SRM is the large-scale commercial catastrophic disaster restoration unit of ServiceMaster Restore. ServiceMaster Restore and SRM have operations and consulting experience on countless disasters, including clean-up after Hurricane Katrina and the Pentagon after September 11, 2001. ServiceMaster Restore is a business unit of 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 http://www.srmcat.com/. ServiceMaster Restore is the Official Disaster Restoration Specialist of Minor League Baseball™.
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 include 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. ServiceMaster is the Official Home Services Provider of Minor League Baseball™.