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How-To Prep for a Hurricane

How Do I Prepare?

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Hurricane season can be stressful, and because the 2020 season comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be especially so.

ServiceMaster Restore is ready to help restore your home and restore your peace of mind. As the experts in disaster restoration, ServiceMaster Restore recommends the following:

Getting Prepared

  • Give yourself more time than usual to stock up on emergency supplies due to the current pandemic. Have a week’s supply of water (one gallon per person per day), plenty of non-perishable food items and refill necessary prescriptions for all family members, including pets.
  • If you need to evacuate, prepare a “go kit”. Include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, or bar or liquid soap if not available, and two cloth face coverings for each person.
  • Create your communication plan. Landline and cellular phone systems are often overwhelmed following a disaster, so you may need to use text messages and social media. Designate an out-of-town contact who can help your household reconnect, and be sure to practice your plan with your family
  • If you need to go to a disaster shelter, follow CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy in a public disaster shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank and make sure you have a car charger for your cell phone.
  • Review and understand your insurance coverage. Take photos of your insurance policy statements and save them to the Cloud.

Protect Your Property

  • Bring in loose items outside your home that can be picked up by strong winds.
  • Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you don’t have hurricane shutters, board up windows and doors with 1/2″ marine plywood.
  • Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances. If you lose power or leave your property, shut off the main switches in the circuit breaker box.
  • Take photo/video of the exterior and interior of your home. Take vital documents (birth certificates, social security cards, bank records, etc.) with you.

To download a PDF version of this information, click here.


Planning for hurricane season can be stressful, and because the 2020 hurricane season comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be especially so. ServiceMaster Restore is ready to restore your business and your peace of mind should you encounter any storm damage during this uncertain time. As the experts in disaster restoration, ServiceMaster Restore makes the following recommendations:

Get Prepared

  • Evaluate your contingency plan and make sure it is up-to-date given the circumstances surrounding the global pandemic. If you need help, give us a call. We have a variety of tools and resources available.
  • Review and understand your property’s insurance coverage including deductibles.
  • Compile an Emergency Contact List with 24-hour telephone numbers and email addresses for essential employees.
  • Identify vital records and make back-up copies. Store in a safe area within the facility or utilize a digital cloud-based recovery system.
  • Determine personnel responsible for maintaining the facility and ensure that they follow CDC recommendations for protecting themselves and others. Assign essential tasks like:
  • Storing lightweight, loose items that may be blown around in the wind
  • Checking security and flood lighting
  • Boarding up windows and doors
  • Verifying that communications equipment is functioning properly
  • Stock up on emergency supplies like:
    • Food, water and First-aid kits
    • Battery-operated radio and/or TV
    • One flashlight per person working during the hurricane
    • Extra batteries
  • Identify emergency power requirements and determine if a generator is available.
  • Provide employees with hurricane preparedness information

Protect the Property

  • Store files, furniture and equipment away from windows and doors.
  • Unplug small appliances and equipment. Turn off all electricity at the main circuit breaker including air conditioning units.
  • Dismiss non-essential staff.

To download a PDF version of this information, click here.

Emergency Supply List

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It’s important to know what you need to pack. This checklist will help you have necessary items close at hand when a hurricane is headed your way. Pack a hurricane kit with these items recommended by FEMA and the CDC:

    • Cell phone
    • Charger
    • Laptop
    • Prescription medication
    • First aid kit
    • Baby care items (if needed)
    • Insurance policies, bank records, etc. in waterproof container
    • Matches
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Whistle
    • Tool kit
    • Tarp and garbage bags
    • One-week supply of water
    • One-week supply of non-perishable food
    • Manual can opener
    • Plastic utensils, cups, and plates
    • Pet care supplies
    • Personal hygiene items
    • hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of COVID-19
    • Change of clothes
    • Blankets/sleeping bags
    • Towels
    • Face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19
    • Books
    • Playing cards
    • Any irreplaceable items

To download a PDF version of this checklist, click here. Back to top

Preparation for Pets

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You can help keep your beloved pets safe during a hurricane by preparing in advance. Follow these tips to ensure that you and your pet will be ready at a moment’s notice regardless of what Mother Nature brings your way. Maintain a list of refuge sites that allow pets; boarding facilities, veterinary clinics, pet-friendly hotels, stables,homes of friends and relatives.

  • Do not leave your pet behind when you evacuate
  • Contact your local animal shelter for more information
  • Remember American Red Cross shelters DO NOT accept pets and humans are the first to be rescued after a disaster.
  • Visit for a list of pet-friendly hotels
  • Keep your animals’ immunizations records in your emergency kit

Have a carrier for your pet, a means of containment will be needed anywhere you go. Choose and use an identification method for each animal, such as microchipping, ID tags and photos of your with your animal. Include pet supplies in your emergency kit:

  • Cage
  • Leash
  • Harness
  • Bowls
  • Supply of water and food
  • Medications
  • Health records/care instructions
  • Microchip numbers
  • Litter box/litter
  • Newspaper for sanitary purposes

To download a PDF version of this information, click here. Back to top

During a Hurricane

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When a hurricane strikes your local area, the key to helping minimize the chaos is to have a series of steps to follow. According to FEMA and, you should do the following:


  • Listen for emergency information and alerts. If told to evacuate by local officials, do so immediately.


  • Take refuge in a designated storm shelter, or an interior room for high winds. If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising flood water.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Stay off bridges over fast-moving water.


  • If you must go to a community shelter remember to follow the latest guidelines for protecting yourself and family from COVID-19.
  • Be prepared to take cleaning items with you to disinfect surfaces you may need to touch regularly.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet between you and persons not part of your immediate family while at the shelter.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river or on an inland waterway
  • Anyone over 2 years old should use a cloth face covering while at these facilities.


  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure; such shelters are particularly hazardous during a hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground
  • If you live in a high-rise building; hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations

To download a PDF version of this information, click here. Back to top

After the Hurricane

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ServiceMaster Restore is ready to help restore your home and restore your peace of mind. To begin recovering from a hurricane disaster, FEMA and recommend the following:

  • If you have become separated from your family, contact the American Red Cross at 1·800-RED·CROSS or visit the American Red Cross Safe and Well site at (The American Red Cross also maintains a database to help you find family. Contact the local American Red Cross chapter where you are staying for information. Do not contact the chapter in the disaster area.)
  • Listen to local officials for information and special instructions.
  • Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
  • Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
  • Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.
  • Throw out any food including canned items that were not maintained at a proper temperature or have been exposed to floodwaters. Do not eat food from a flooded garden. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Avoid drinking tap water until you know it is safe. If uncertain, boil or purify it first.
  • Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or a structural engineer before entering.
  • Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Continue to protect yourself from COVID-19 by taking preventative actions like washing your hands and wearing a face covering during cleanup.