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Michael Gillis

Michael Gillis
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Homeowners: What to Do Before and After a Hurricane Hits

August 17, 2015 1:51 am

Though it is wise to brace your property against hurricane damage, the unfortunate reality is that many homes are not prepared. According to a recent ServiceMaster Restore Franchise Hurricane Preparedness Survey, 90 percent of hurricane restoration servicers surveyed believe homeowners are ill-prepared when it comes to hurricanes. The same amount agreed that homeowners can spend up to twice as much on repairs if they do not take simple precautions in advance.

"We can't stress enough the importance of having a plan," says Kim Brooks, president and CEO of ServiceMaster DSI. "Unfortunately, people often don't take weather warnings seriously, and once they do, panic sets in and they run out of time to take care of simple precautions to secure their property. Knowing what to do before and after a major storm, and knowing when to call in the professionals for assistance, including who to call, can help home and business owners avoid costly damage to their properties in the long run."

Ahead of and after a major hurricane or storm, Brooks and the team of experts at ServiceMaster Restore suggest a three-part strategy to help reduce potential damage, expense and inconvenience.

• Prepare in Advance – Don't wait for weather warnings to create an action plan. For instance, take steps now to fasten the roof to the frame of the home. Once severe weather is predicted, begin boarding up windows and ensuring rain gutters are clear. Secure loose outdoor items, have a fresh supply of batteries on hand, as well as emergency supplies such as water, medication and non-perishable food. Take photos and make lists to document essential possessions. Most importantly, have a plan for post-hurricane repairs and information on hand for professional restoration companies to help mitigate damages in a timely manner.

• Assess Hurricane Aftermath
– Safety after a hurricane or heavy storm is critical. Debris, live power lines and electrically charged water are just a few of the safety risks to keep in mind. Evaluate the situation and structural damage before entering the home or attempting DIY cleanup, which can cause more damage and lead to additional expenses. When possible, water cleanup should begin right away (within 24-48 hours) to avoid mold, rust and further damage. For instance, remove wet area rugs to prevent seepage of water up drywalls and discard damp, non-valuable items to help avoid potential mold contamination. To mitigate loss, contact a professional restoration company immediately.

• Recognize Lingering Problems – Be on the look-out for mold following excessive water or flooding. Mold needs wet conditions to grow and is most often detected by sight or smell. If you notice mold spores or a musty smell in a room or area, remove any lingering wet items. Don't rely on products that promise to kill mold, including bleach, as it only causes mold to go dormant. The only way to truly get rid of mold is to cut it out of an area - an undertaking best left to professionals to avoid further costly damage and inadequate cleaning.

Source: ServiceMaster Restore

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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