MEMPHIS, TN--(Marketwired - January 21, 2016) -  Storm #Jonas is quickly making its way to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, with weather experts referring to it as a "legitimate blizzard" having the "potential to causing life threatening conditions." In fact, as of early Thursday afternoon, the Weather Channel reported that roughly one in every four Americans are already affected by the massive winter storm.

With widespread power outages, coastal flooding and excessive snow, freezing rain, and flooding expected, disaster preparedness experts from ServiceMaster Restore are urging people to take action now and prepare their homes and business for severe weather conditions.

"Preparing now is vital as excessive precipitation combined with freezing or near-freezing temperatures can cause significant damage overnight," says Pete Duncanson, director of system development for ServiceMaster Restore and president of the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification.

"Some of the most common damages we see with winter weather are burst pipes, flooding and fires," said Duncanson. "Don't wait for the weather to hit; prepare now and protect your home from potential damage."

What to do now:

  • Review your insurance policy closely and pay attention to specifics on what is and is not covered under the agreement.
  • Clear rain gutters, repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structures.
  • Keep gutters and downspouts free of debris and make sure water is flowing several feet away from the foundation.
  • Check for cracks or small holes in the foundation where water can seep in. Even a few inches of water from melted snow or excessive rain can cause interior water damage to carpet, drywall, wood floors and even your home or business' structure.
  • Cover exposed outdoor water faucets to prevent freezing. Use a cover available at any hardware store to insulate and protect them. Run water through the pipes occasionally during the day to help prevent freezing.
  • Make sure you know how to shut off all water valves in the event a frozen pipe bursts.
  • Leave cabinet doors under sinks open to help circulate air and prevent frozen pipes during extreme temperatures.
  • Set your thermostat to a consistent temperature day and night.

If you experience water damage:

  • Don't use a household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don't use electrical appliances while on wet carpet or wet floors.
    • Turn the main switches in the circuit breaker box to the off position. Don't go into rooms with standing water if the electricity is still on.
  • Don't lift tacked-down carpet, as lifting carpet incorrectly can promote shrinkage and result in more costly expenses.
  • Don't use electrical appliances until they have been checked.
  • Don't use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet.

ServiceMaster Restore is trained, equipped and ready to restore homes and businesses before, during and after winter storms. With a number of regionally based large-loss command and control centers, a disaster operations center to track severe weather and 1,800 franchises nationwide, ServiceMaster Restore can mobilize from across the country to handle any size job.

For more expert tips and information about winter preparedness and aftermath response, like us on Facebook and follow #WinterWeatherTips on Facebook. For immediate winter weather assistance and clean up, call a live ServiceMaster Restore operator 24/7 at 1-800-RESPOND.

About ServiceMaster Restore

With approximately 1,800 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 or smoke. 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 the Memphis-based ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SERV), a leading provider of essential residential and commercial services. More information can be found at and

About ServiceMaster

ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SERV) is a leading provider of essential residential and commercial services, operating through an extensive service network of more than 8,000 company-owned, franchised and licensed locations. The company's portfolio of well-recognized brands includes American Home Shield (home warranties), AmeriSpec (home inspections), Furniture Medic (furniture repair), Merry Maids (residential cleaning), ServiceMaster Clean (janitorial), ServiceMaster Restore (disaster restoration) and Terminix (termite and pest control). The company is headquartered in Memphis, Tenn. Go to for more information about ServiceMaster or follow the company at or

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Alison Bishop