Market Overview

Use These 10 Tips to Help Prepare Your Family and Your Property Before Hurricane Sandy Strikes

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MEMPHIS, Tenn., Oct. 29, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As residents across many states brace themselves for rapidly approaching and potentially devastating Hurricane Sandy, ServiceMaster Clean first responders stand ready across the northeast to assist storm victims contain and reduce water damage after the hurricane.

ServiceMaster Clean has mobilized a fleet of vehicles, dryer trucks, on-site mobile command centers and industry-certified technicians through our nationwide network of franchisees to immediately respond to those communities which are directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The company has been helping people get their lives back on track following such catastrophes for more than 60 years, and can provide rapid response 24/7/365, giving property owners the power to get their home or business back to normal as quickly as possible.

"Before a hurricane strikes, it's important to carefully map out a response," says Pete Duncanson, director of training and technical support for ServiceMaster Clean, a subsidiary of The ServiceMaster Company, one of the world's largest residential and commercial service networks. "The amount of planning you do upfront is going to play a significant role in the post-storm clean-up."

As industry experts in disaster restoration, the professionals from ServiceMaster Clean shared the following recommendations in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy:

1. Map out an evacuation route
Secure a community hurricane preparedness plan through your local emergency management office or Red Cross chapter. Make sure to fill your gas tanks, as you may have to travel long distances inland to find a hotel or shelter.

2. Have an out-of-state contact
Identify an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the official family contact point, and be sure all family members have this person's contact information to check in following the storm.

3. Identify meeting places
In case family members are separated during a disaster (for example, when adults are at work and children are at school), identify two places to meet: one right outside your home and another outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home. Make sure everyone knows the address and phone number of your second meeting place.

4. Have a plan in place for your pets
Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate. Understand that most shelters and hotels will not allow them on the property, so it is critical to determine early on where to house them during a pending storm. Photograph them and make sure they are wearing identification collars in case you lose them during the storm.

5. Protect valuables from water damage
Photograph and/or videotape both the interior and exterior of your home for a record of all valuables. Make sure to store originals of important documents, including birth certificates, banking and credit card information and medical records in a waterproof container as well. 

6. Use different forms of communication
Purchase a battery-operated AM/FM radio and/or battery-operated television to keep updated on events. Since telephones may be out of order when the storm hits, weather radio will be your best source of information. However, make sure your cell phone is fully charged and have a phone charger in the car in case land lines are out for an extended period.

7. Stock Emergency Supplies
Your emergency supply list should include:

  • Three days worth of non-perishable, ready-to-eat canned food items and a manual can opener
  • One gallon of water per person per day for three days
  • First aid kit that includes pre-moistened antibacterial wipes and insect repellant
  • List of medications and prescriptions for each member of the household
  • Flashlights and plenty of fresh batteries
  • Disposable flash camera to take pictures of post-storm damage to home and/or vehicles
  • Pen and paper
  • Extra blankets and clothing
  • Alternate cooking source
  • Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members, including one-week supply of medications and foods for infants or those with special diets
  • Crescent or pipe wrench to turn off gas and water
  • One quart of unscented bleach or iodine tablets (for disinfecting water if ordered to do so by health officials) and an eyedropper (for adding bleach to water)
  • Personal hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Fire extinguisher

8. Protect your property
Close and board up windows with half-inch marine plywood and make sure to remove all outside antennas. Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed of dead wood and clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts. You should keep extra plywood and plastic for repairs you may need to make after the storm. Be sure to hold onto all receipts to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. 

9. Know how to shut off your utilities
In the event that electricity is lost, be sure to turn the main switches in the circuit breaker box to the off position. Make sure all household appliances are turned off, as no one may be home when power is restored. Appliances left on could cause a fire when power returns.

10. Review and understand insurance coverage
It is important to understand what deductibles in your policy are in place for hurricane damage. You will need to investigate flood insurance, as homeowners policies do not cover water damage that results from a hurricane. Check out the National Flood Insurance Program, which is designed to provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves when catastrophe strikes.

"If disaster strikes your home or business, all you want to do is get your life back to normal…fast," said Duncanson. "Our local service technicians are trained to respond immediately, because damage from water and bacteria growth can begin within hours."

If your home or business is impacted by Hurricane Sandy, call 1-800-RESPOND (737-7663) or visit www.servicemasterclean.com to reach a disaster restoration specialist in your area. ServiceMaster Clean disaster restoration specialists can help thoroughly dry and clean everything from important documents to carpeting, and prevent damaging mold growth. ServiceMaster Clean technicians are prepared to handle jobs of all sizes, from a single room in a house to small businesses to large office buildings.

About ServiceMaster Clean

With more than 4,000 franchised and licensed locations around the world, ServiceMaster Clean and ServiceMaster Recovery Management serve customers through a global network of franchises that provide a range of residential and commercial services including cleaning and restoration resulting from damage caused by water or fire, janitorial services, commercial carpet cleaning, hard surface floor care, and residential carpet and upholstery cleaning. ServiceMaster Clean is part of the Memphis-based ServiceMaster Company, one of the world's largest residential and commercial service networks.  Visit www.servicemasterclean.com and www.srmcat.com for more information.  

About ServiceMaster

With a global network of more than 6,900 company-owned, franchise and licensed locations, Memphis-based ServiceMaster is one of the world's largest residential and commercial service networks. The company's high-profile brands are Terminix, TruGreen, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Through approximately 21,000 corporate associates and a franchise network that independently employs over 31,000 additional people, the ServiceMaster family of brands serves more than 8.4 million customers every year. Our market-leading brands provide a range of residential and commercial services including termite and pest control; lawn, tree and shrub care; home warranties and preventative maintenance contracts; furniture repair; home inspections; home cleaning; janitorial services; and disaster restoration. Go to www.servicemaster.com for more information about ServiceMaster or follow us at twitter.com/ServiceMaster or facebook.com/TheServiceMasterCo

***MEDIA RESOURCES AVAILABLE:

  1. Please contact (901) 626-4243 if you would like to use b-roll footage of ServiceMaster Clean damage restoration specialists working to remove water from hurricane damaged homes or to secure an audio clip regarding the risk of mold damage.
  2. Interview opportunities with a flood research and cleaning expert. Please contact us if you would like to schedule an interview with Pete Duncanson, director of training and technical support for ServiceMaster Clean or with one of our first responders in the impacted communities. The cleaning professionals at ServiceMaster Clean® use advanced products, procedures, and equipment to assure the highest level of cleaning performance and protection for property and furnishings.
  3. Ready-to-use subject matter expert quotation for newspaper or broadcast publication: "When disaster strikes your home or business, all you want to do is get your life back to normal…fast," says Pete Duncanson, director of training and technical support for ServiceMaster Clean. "Our local service technicians are trained to respond immediately, because damage from water and bacteria growth can begin within hours. Call 1-800-RESPOND (737-7663) to reach a disaster restoration specialist in your area."

Gina Evans Kamler
ServiceMaster Clean
(901) 597-1380
gina.kamler@servicemaster.com

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The following files are available for download:

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[Image] ServiceMaster Clean Emergency Response Team Ready to Assist with Disaster Cleanup
[Image] ServiceMaster Clean Emergency Response Team
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