Recent Posts

Drying water out behind items with the Injectidry System.

9/19/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Drying water out behind items with the Injectidry System. Drying out behind wet cabinets after a rainstorm.

Time is of the essence when drying out the areas you can’t see or easily get to after a heavy rain storm floods a basement in Waterloo, Iowa. When water gets and sits behind cabinets it creates the perfect conditions for fungi to grow as well as deterioration of wood materials!

The Injectidry system is the way to disperse and circulate air BEHIND things to dry it out. It utilizes a regular air mover by attaching the large “lego look-alike” piece to the front and adding as many hoses as necessary to spread the air around. The hoses focus the air to specific cavities that are wet. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County drilled holes in the kickplate area of the cabinets to permit the hoses to be positioned for directional air distribution.

The finished basement was restored by the use of the Injectidry system instead of demolished due to hidden water.

There's No Place Like Home!

9/18/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage There's No Place Like Home! Our Job File Coordinator using the software Xactimate.

It’s a twister, it’s a twister! When a storm hits don’t call around from place to place to see who claims to have the lowest remediation cost; SERVPRO of Black Hawk County uses the industry standard program called Xactimate to calculate the estimate of your loss. Remediation companies and insurance adjusters across the board are using Xactimate to calculate cost. So rather than making dozens of frustrating phone calls, make your first call to your locally owned SERVPRO helping individuals and businesses in Black Hawk, Bremer, Grundy, Buchanan, Fayette and Tama counties. Connect by calling 319.268.1521.

It’s more important to begin the remediation process as soon as possible and when the chaos of a storm hits, our whole team will be doing their part. A vital position in our local office is the Job File Coordinator. They organize the calls that come in ensuring from the moment you meet our project manager to production technicians cleaning up the storm mess to final paperwork including insurance details, you’re taken care of by SERVPRO to 100% satisfaction.

You can trust in SERVPRO to get your home feeling like home again.  As we know, there’s no place like home.

Disposal of Ashes

8/13/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Disposal of Ashes WARNING: Do not put ashes in a plastic trash can. We know from personal experience that it does not end well.

As the end of summer draws near, we’d like to address the proper way to dispose of any left-over ashes you may have sitting in your fire pit.

Be Safe:

Always treat ashes as if they’re hot when removing them because they can stay hot for several days after the initial fire. It all depends on the heat of the fire and what was burned.

Proper Disposal:

  • Wait several days after a fire to remove the ashes—just to be safe
  • Place the ashes in a metal trash can and dump some water on top
  • Be sure the trash can is placed far away from anything that would catch fire such as a home, garage, or tree
  • Keep the trash can away from any combustibles

What not to do:

The person who sent us these photos found out the hard way the improper way to dispose of ashes. Let’s walk through some basic techniques that should be avoided:

  • Placing ashes in a trash can the day after a fire
  • Using a plastic trash can for the disposal
  • Having the trash can right next to the house

Thank goodness a friendly neighbor noticed the smoking trash can, or this could have been a more serious case. The only damage was to the trash can.

Timeline of Events:

The time-lapse of the destroyed trash can was within a 3-hour window. The ashes were placed at 1 pm, and the destroyed trash can was found at 4 pm.

Spread the Word:

This a mistake that is too easy to make, and that’s why we love to educate people. Please share this information, so no one makes the same mistake.

Source: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/

Are you prepared?

7/30/2018 (Permalink)

  1. What’s in your basement that you would be devastated to lose? MOVE IT!
  • Tubs are helpful but not a ‘for sure’ method of something being saved because they can flip upside down!
  • Be sure your sump pump is on its own electric circuit. Have a battery operated one for a true back up!
  • Keep it at least 3-4ft off the floor. Shelving at these heights can be more helpful for storage.
  1. Where are your important documents, pictures, passwords/usernames, codes, keys?
  • Make sure you have copies in a lock box at a different location than your home.
  • Use flash drives, DVD's, or CD’s along with a notebook entry. Keep a copy with someone else and in the lockbox.
  1. How many items do you have plugged into electrical outlets?
  • Do you regularly leave your phone charger plugged in WITHOUT the phone? A growing number of fires caused this way!
  • Know the amps available in your home. Just because there is an outlet doesn’t mean you can plug multiple items into all of them and carry the load without it causing an issue.

The lesson is don't keep your most important items in your basement because it's the most likely place to endure a loss.

For further questions, contact SERVPRO of Black Hawk County at (319) 268-1521.

Different Mold Types Part 1

7/27/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Different Mold Types Part 1 Mold can come in any shape and color. Check out these mold samples.

2 Classifications of Harmful Molds:

  • Allergenic: Molds that cause allergies and allergic reactions like asthma attacks.
  • Toxigenic: Molds that produce toxic substances that can lead to dangerous conditions.

Different types of mold:

1. Acremonium: A toxigenic mold type that changes in its appearance over time, and it typically grows in humidifiers, cooling coils, drain pans, and window sealants.

2. Alternaria: The most common allergenic mold type in the world, and it typically grows wherever dampness occurs (showers, bathtubs, and below leaking sinks). It is very quick to spread.

3. Aspergillus: This allergenic mold type has the potential to become toxic, and it is commonly found in American households. There are over 1,885 species appearing in many different colors.

Source: https://aerindustries.com/

More mold types to come in another blog post.

Different Mold Types Part 2

7/27/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Different Mold Types Part 2 If you find mold in your home, call SERVPRO of Black Hawk County at (319) 268-1521

4. Aureobasidium: An allergenic mold type that can sometimes be found growing behind wallpaper or on painted or wooden surfaces.

5. Chaetomium: A mold commonly found in water-damaged homes and buildings. It has a cotton-like texture and usually changes colors over time.

6. Cladosporium: An allergenic mold type that can grow in both warm and cold conditions. It often is found thriving in indoor materials such as fabrics, upholsteries, and carpets.

7. Fusarium: An allergenic AND toxigenic mold type that grows in homes with water damage. It is capable of growing and spreading at cold temperatures.

8. Mucor: An allergenic form of mold that usually grows in thick patches and grows near air conditioning, HVAC systems, and ducting due to moisture from condensation.

9.Penicillin: An allergenic form of mold that is easily recognizable by its blue or green colored surface with a velvety texture, and it is often found in water damaged buildings.

Source: https://aerindustries.com/ 

How to Put Out a Grease Fire

7/26/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How to Put Out a Grease Fire This is the aftermath of a grease fire.

Fires are scary. Grease fires are even scarier because we have to fight off our human instinct to throw water on the blazing flames. Yes, you heard right. Do not throw water on a grease fire. It’ll only make the situation worse. Odds are, if you put water on the grease fire, it’ll A) make it bigger and B) spray grease all over you—which may lead to minor burns.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County has been building awareness for several months now regarding the proper way to handle grease fires by handing out cans of baking soda. Here are steps to follow when dealing with a grease fire.

1. Get the Baking Soda

The number one way to put out a grease fire is sitting right in your kitchen: baking soda! That white powdery stuff works miracles in dowsing fires in your kitchen. We recommend keeping it in an easy-access area near your stove, but not right above your stove because tall flames can make it nearly impossible to grab in your moment of need.

2. Take Away Its Power

You should also turn off the source of heat as soon as possible. This will keep the fire from growing any bigger. 

3. Grab the Lid

If the fire isn’t too big, you can also cut off the oxygen supply by putting a lid over the pan. Just be careful not to burn yourself in the process.

Again, do NOT pour water on a grease fire. It’s bad news.

We encourage you to educate young teens who are learning to cook about the dangers of grease fires, and as always, if you have any fire damage, give us a call. We’ll make it, “Like it never even happened.”

Emergency Ready Plan

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Emergency Ready Plan Download the SERVPRO Ready Plan app today.

When thinking of a disaster, you hate to think that one would ever happen to you. However, it is very likely at some point in your life, you will be faced with some sort of loss in your home or business.

Have a plan.

SERVPRO has put together a program to prepare you for these life-changing events. It’s called the Emergency Ready Plan (ERP). This tool essentially collects the following information:

  • Emergency contacts (name, phone, email)
  • Main utility information (shut off locations for electric, gas, and water)
  • Additional utility contact info (alarm systems, sprinklers, IT server, etc.)
  • Insurance contact info
  • Property overview (can include contents)
  • Additional notes page for ANYTHING else homeowner/business owner wants to be included

The ERP boosts communication between all individuals alike involved in the restoration process.

To put it simply:

Think of an ERP as the key to get back into your house or business after a major loss. You probably already had an emergency exit plan, but what about the reentry process? No need to worry. That’s where the ERP comes to the rescue.

Convenience:

The ERP can be uploaded to your phone, home computer, or tablet via the mobile app called, “Ready Plan”. It is important to be able to access this information at any given time because life happens. One day your house is fine, and the next it’s not. You’ll want all this information handy and ready to go in case of an emergency.

Disclaimer:

By filling out an ERP, you are not married to doing business with us. In fact, we hope you never have to, but if you do, we’ll be ready with all the proper information ahead of time.

One last thing:

Perhaps the most important detail is that filling out the ERP takes 20 minutes, and it’s completely FREE. Not to mention if you have any questions, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is here to help you fill it out because we care. We really do.

You can be RUINED, or you can be READY! Choose to be ready.

Visit https://ready.SERVPRO.com/Account/Register to fill out your ERP today.

Emergency Ready Vehicle

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Emergency Ready Vehicle Thank your local American Red Cross for all of the amazing work they do.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County and the American Red Cross (ARC) are working together to ensure the Emergency Ready Vehicle (ERV) is equipped to serve the community in times of need.

Who’s ERV?

ERV brings supplies such as water and blankets to families who have recently encountered a disaster. When not in use, ERV is plugged in as a means to keep it charged and ready to go. Many of the calls that ERV responds to are storm and weather related. 

Opportunity Around the Bend  

Marketing Manager at SERVPRO of Black Hawk County, Debbie Robeson, came across the opportunity to house ERV after being on the Red Cross volunteer community board for almost a year. At the December Holiday party, she heard them talking about the woes of ERV being outside in the elements and how it was limiting them responding to emergencies quickly. Debbie said, “I asked Scott about keeping ERV with us and he was quick to say YES.”

The process started in January and required approval from ARC national headquarters in Washington DC. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County had to meet insurance requirements, upgrade security, and add key code access to their building. The contract was approved in March and the ERV arrived on April 24, 2018.

Looking Ahead

The ARC is looking to replace the current ERV in about year. With the rapid advancement of technology, a new one is overdue. With the help of fundraising, the ARC has already raised over $200,000 for the new vehicle.

Much Praise

Debbie spoke praises of her team when saying, “Scott’s leadership and trust in his team and how they pursue opportunities is a key part of making this possible. His passion for the community and being on the same page helped get this out together so quickly before someone else heard of the opportunity.”

New Skills to Better Serve YOU

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage New Skills to Better Serve YOU Here are some of the many certificates received by our versatile technicians.

We are proud to share that some of our technicians have undergone training recently and are now certified in new areas! 

Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT)

Jake Barkow, Devon Burgess, and Nicole Webb received certificates as Water Damage Restoration Technicians (WRT). The training was a 3-day process where they took the time to learn how to handle different losses.

For instance, in a water loss, they first have to determine what category the water belongs to. The different categories indicate the level of contamination the water has been exposed to.

  • Category 1 – Water comes from a clean source and does not pose a substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure.
  • Category 2 – Water contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans.
  • Category 3 – Water is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents.

Crazy right? Who would’ve thought there were different categories for water.

Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician (FSRT)

Brett Armfield, Lana Bruhn, Autumn Kelly, and Nicole Webb all received a certificate as a Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician (FSRT). Extra snaps and claps go to Nicole for doing both certifications back-to-back!

Once a technician receives additional training, they are now more versatile and able to take on more responsibilities and leadership roles. For example, our current Project Managers started out as technicians and kept receiving training. With time and mentoring, they both landed leadership roles at SERVPRO in Black Hawk County.