ServiceMaster Advises Taking Action Quickly Following Recent Storms

September 21, 2004

For coastal homeowners experiencing the aftermath of Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Ivan, property restoration will be a key component to returning life to normal, according to ServiceMaster Clean, a provider in the restoration and cleaning industry.

The Insurance Information Institute reports that Hurricane Charley ranks as the second most costly hurricane in U.S. history. Insurance companies are responding to thousands of claims, and will pay out an estimated $6.8 billion for damage caused by the Aug. 13 storm that hit Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. The other two hurricanes incurred billions in damages as well.

“The majority of homeowner’s policies list ‘Duties After a Loss’ within the actual policy,” said Bill Whitman, ServiceMaster Clean director of disaster restoration strategic planning and development. “Homeowners are required to promptly report the claim and mitigate their damages. Disaster restoration professionals can then assist the policyholder in the initial mitigation of these damages — whether a covered loss or not — and in reducing damages caused by standing water within the structure.”

Peter Duncanson, ServiceMaster Clean director of disaster restoration training, is urging homeowners to take the initial steps toward preventing further damage to their homes and begin the restoration process immediately after a natural disaster.

“The initial step is to stop the water from entering the home, whether through a broken window or another damaged area of the home’s structure,” said Duncanson. “Once the water has been stopped, homeowners can then begin using a shop-vac wet-dry vacuum or a dry mop to remove as much water as possible.”

Carpet is rarely salvageable after most hurricanes. Water can be removed, but residual salt from seawater often remains. Also, the longer the carpet remains wet, the potential for mold growth increases.

ServiceMaster Clean disaster restoration professionals are working around the clock in Florida and other states, helping homeowners cope with losses and save what they can. Via its command center, ServiceMaster Clean can equitably distribute the large number of daily calls and assign a crew of restoration professionals to begin work on heavily affected areas.

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