Recent Posts


4/1/2020 (Permalink)

Eagle flying with blurred trees in the background. A new franchise opens up in Decorah, IA on April 1st, 2020.

There is a NEW, LOCAL, and independently-owned business right in Decorah, Iowa. Franchise owner, Scott and Libby Demuth are excited for this opportunity to reach out and be of service to the city of Decorah and the surrounding counties.

SERVPRO® is a top leader in Cleanup and Restoration

We are proud to be in the business of restoring lives back together after a disaster. Some of our services include cleaning up after a …

  • Water Damage & Floods
  • Fire & Smoke Damage
  • Sewer Back-up
  • Vandalism
  • Storm damage
  • Commercial Cleaning
  • Carpet Cleaning

You’ll be seeing our green trucks around town as we get to know our new community. Scott Demuth, also the owner of SERVPRO® of Black Hawk County is eager to establish the SERVPRO® of Decorah.  Being more efficient and ‘faster to any size disaster’ in Winneshiek County and the surrounding area is important!

SERVPRO® NEW location is a natural connection. 

Since the floods of 2016, SERVPRO OF BLACK HAWK COUNTY has continuously traveled to northeast Iowa to provide needed service and care to individuals and businesses. Opening a new location allows us to invest in the city and provide job opportunities while expanding our reach. Time is an important factor when it comes to disasters; the SERVPRO® of Decorah Team will be available.

Our network of franchises allows us to team up for large commercial losses or heavy rain and flood damage in the area. We are trained and certified in the latest restoration certifications and our experience will benefit everyone. We truly believe we are ONE TEAM.

We are looking forward to becoming a trusted business in Winneshiek, Allamakee, Fayette, and Chickasaw counties.

If you need a general cleaning or clean up from a fire and water disaster, Call us at (563) 277-1615.

Tornadoes and High Winds in the Midwest

4/1/2020 (Permalink)

Scenic view of a valley with a tornado on one side of the image and lighting on the other. Iowa experiences frequent tornadoes, are you prepared?

Although we are not in tornado season yet, in late March, we had two tornadoes touch ground in Black Hawk County, two in Fayette County, one in Dubuque County and one in Buchanan County, all confirmed by the National Weather Service. According to the Associated Press News, we weren’t the only state who tornadoes paid a visit to.

We want to remind you to be safe and take a proactive step in preparing for a tornado. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is doing an excellent job of updating us on the safety and prevention of the coronavirus, meanwhile, they also have provided resources for Preparing for a Tornado.


For locals, you may know a lot of this information but if you are new to the Midwest, here are a few safety tips to consider before and during a tornado watch.

  • Keep important documents and phone numbers in a waterproof Ziplock bag in your basement.
  • Put together an emergency safety kit.
  • Use battery-powered radio for emergency information in case the electricity goes out.
  • Take shelter – Avoid areas with windows and take shelter in the basement or the lowest floor.
  • Charge your phone before a storm and put it in Battery Saver mode during a storm to conserve the battery life.

More safety tips – Tornado Safety Guide

How can SERVPRO help you after tornado damage?

Although our business is to clean up after disasters, this does not mean we wish it upon anyone. Disasters happen and we are here to help. We work closely with your insurance agent, keeping everyone in the loop of our services. Here are a few of our services relating to tornado damage or storm damage.

  • Tarp a roof
  • Board ups
  • Water Damage Restoration
  • Fire Damage Restoration
  • Sewage Cleanup
  • Content Cleaning

STORM DAMAGE? Call us at (319) 268-1521.

We are Cleaning Experts

3/16/2020 (Permalink)

A magnified germ with the letters HERE TO HELP. We are here to help in general cleaning, specific cleaning and disinfecting.

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff performs on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – [SERVPRO of Black Hawk County, 319-268-1521]


Emergency Ready Plan for Senior Living Businesses

3/9/2020 (Permalink)

Senior woman with short white hair and large glasses is smiling at someone who there back is towards the viewer. ERPs can help reduce interruptions in senior living homes.

What is an Emergency Ready Plan?

The Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) is a complementary tool that we offer as a community service to businesses. The ERP is a mobile application to input important information (emergency contacts, location of the main water shut-off valve, etc.) This will come in handy in case of a disaster such as flooding or fire. You can access the app at any moment, plus, share it with the necessary personnel.

Benefits of having an ERP

Here’s what you can store in an ERP app.

  • Contacts (Vendors, Utilities, Municipality, Insurance, etc.)
  • Directions for contractors (parking location, entry, exits, etc.)
  • Image & Location Description (Water Shut-Off Valve, Gas Shut-off Valve, Elevators, Floor Plan, IT Tech room, valuable contents, safe, etc.)
  • Property Overview (Building Type, Square feet, Number of Floors, Type of flooring)
  • Emergency Action Checklist (A checklist that will help keep people safe and reduce business interruption.)

People who should have access to your ERP are:

  • Owners
  • General Managers
  • Facility Managers
  • Local SERVPRO*

*Privacy is important. You will have access to your ERP with your own login and password. We help with the initial walk-through to fill the general request of the app on our own app and then share the profile with you to access and edit as you wish. If you desire to add more information such as passwords you can lock your profile.

Senior Living Business

We have completed ERPs to various senior living businesses in Black Hawk County. Senior living housing is more than a business, to its residents, it’s home.  That’s why we think it is so important to reach out to them and offer this no-cost service so that the residents do not have to go through a long and distressing interruption in their lives. This is a tool that you can use as a resource but it’s also a pro-active way to get SERVPRO’s help faster, more efficient, and to make a disaster look “Like it never even happened.”

Need to Schedule an ERP?

We are happy to schedule an ERP walk-through. This will take about 30 mins – 1 hour. We will start the profile with the property overview before the initial visit. We will need a manager, owner or facility employee who can walk with us through the back ends of the facility. We look forward to getting you prepared with an ERP!

To schedule, call at (319) 268-1521 or email Debbie Robeson.

Snow is melting - Be careful of water in your home.

3/4/2020 (Permalink)

Water marks on a tile ceiling with a dark circular black hole gaping through. The marks on your ceiling can indicate severe water damage.

The forecast for the next two weeks looks very promising! We are edging our way right out of the 30-degree weather into the 40s, 50s and even the 60s. I’m feeling warm just thinking about it. You can kiss your snowman goodbye… for now.

Runoff Frosty!

This warmer weather does sound nice but we still need to keep in mind that snow melting, aside from the wetness and muddiness, can be a risk of water damage or flooding in your home. We want to encourage you to be observant of every area in your house especially the ceilings and the basement walls. Water can seep into your home through cracks in the roof, windowsills, and foundation.

Inspect your home

  • Yellow or gray discoloration on your ceiling can be water markings. Don’t ignore them. You can lessen the damage by hiring a professional to clean your roof from snow and to check the health of your roof.
  • It would be a good idea to have a restoration company check the moisture level in areas of concern. They can dry any moisture with special equipment if necessary and cut out or remove any affected porous surface that can promote mold growth.
  • If you have piled snow that is near the exterior of your home, we suggest you shovel it away from your home before it melts. This can protect your home.
  • Check your basement. Do not be comfortable with a wet basement. If you notice the walls, and flooring are wet, call a professional to inspect your foundation. Take care of your home! Flooring such as carpet and linoleum that has been affected by flooding might need to be replaced as well as the trim and molding.


If water is seeping and creeping into your home, Take action! The sooner you can get help, the less damage it will create. We can help you! We are the leading water restoration company in Northeast Iowa.

Call us at 319.268.1521.

Until help arrives, read WATER DAMAGE EMERGENCY TIPS.

Water Damage, More than the eye can see.

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

large green equipment with two attachments, hoses and a mat suction for the hardwood flooring. Our equipment is extracting water from the hardwood floors in the kitchen.

Water doesn’t stay in one place.

How do we end up working in a basement when the cause of loss is in the kitchen? Water. Water spreads because of its adhering properties and seeps into every crevice, crack, or dent it possibly can. We received a call about a kitchen sink that malfunctioned causing a flood. The water seeped through the flooring and in no time, the finished basement was unrecognizable. The paint was peeling, the ceiling tiles were stained as well as sinking, some tiles even fell off the ceiling, and everything inside was getting wet. It’s as if it was raining inside their basement.

Do you know where your water shut-off is?

Unfortunately, this family was not present when the situation developed. They returned home to a bad situation. They had the sense to turn off the water shut off valve in the basement and that’s when they noticed further damage. Shutting off your main water valve will definitely help reduce the damage so please take some time to locate yours.

Water Damage? Give SERVPRO a call!

That day, Michelle our job coordinator received their frantic phone call. She immediately worked fast to get in contact with a project manager. The project manager and a team of technicians went to the home and began water extraction, removal of the paneling in the basement, removal of cabinetry, and setting up drying equipment on the main floor and basement. The kitchen, basement, and multiple rooms on the main floor were affected by the broken kitchen sink. Before we arrived at the Waterloo home, some mold growth had already occurred in some of the drywalls and the cemented landing of their basement stairs so it was important to work fast and diligent. We cleaned and mitigated the growth.

We are here to help!

No matter the size of the disaster, we have a team certified to help in cleaning and restoration. If you suspect your sink or refrigerator is leaking, please get it looked at by a plumber or appliance repairman.

SERVPRO Terminology (Part 2)

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

multiple boxes inside the trailer of a freight truck. Packing out contents to our warehouse for content cleaning.

What is Pack Up/Out and Content Cleaning look like in the restoration industry?

As a restoration company, we help restore and clean up homes and businesses after an extreme loss. An extreme loss can look like vandalism, damage after a fire, a sewer back up amongst other types of damages. When there is in need of professional help, we come in to try to restore everything that has been affected.

What is Pack Up?

In order to clean the content, we will first have to determine what is salvageable and non-salvageable.  This will happen during the pack up process. Some of the contents that may not be salvageable are children's toys affected in sewer loss or perishable items. Our team will take inventory plus photographs of the items that can’t be saved. Some items are hard to determine whether it’s salvageable or not in the beginning but once it’s determined, it will be updated on that list. We take inventory and photographs to keep track of the owner’s items and for transparency of our work. Most times, insurance agents will require these documents.

What is Pack Out?

We pack up the contents carefully into boxes and then pack out to transfer the items to our warehouse. We will pack out if the current worksite might be going to a restoration process or if there’s not workable space for the cleaning process. Our warehouse is large enough to store content from multiple losses, as well as having a great cleaning station. We have the best cleansers and equipment including our UltraSonic that removes dirt or soot by the vibration of water. This comes in handy for hard to reach in areas.

What is Content Cleaning?

Content Cleaning is a part of the process of getting all the contents or items that have been affected clean from any odors, stains, or bacteria. Depending on the type of loss, the method of cleaning the items may vary. We have rolling carts with multiple shelving units to store items to dry. Once they are clean and shining, our cleaning technicians will re-pack them carefully into brand new boxes. Our team wraps the contents will packing paper and bubble wrap. We will store the clean content until the restoration process at the job site is completed.

Water or Fire Damage? Call NOW at (319) 268-1521.

Water Loss in Apartment Building

1/7/2020 (Permalink)

Two green fan-like Air Movers sit on gray carpet in a hallway. We restore after water damage in commercial buildings.

Disasters do not sleep.

On December 17, we received a phone call during the evening about water damage at a local apartment building in Waterloo, IA. Water damage was due to a small grease fire in one of the apartments that activated the sprinklers. We responded to that call and within an hour, we had a team on site. We understand that fire and water damage happens in the most inopportune times, even when its dark outside, but we are ready to help when disaster strikes.

We provide 24/7 Emergency Services.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County schedules and rotate 2 employees after hours to guarantee that someone can respond to any emergency due to fire or water damage. In this case, the apartment building is active with residents so, for a faster restoration process, we decided to expand the team that evening. Our owner reached out to 3 other employees who were not on the on-call schedule. We are so grateful for the can-do attitudes of our employees. We had four of our production technicians, a project manager, and our owner all working hard on getting the job done right. Our SERVPRO truck was packed with our water extraction machine, dehumidifiers, and different types of air movers and driven to the job site location. The last employee left the site around 4:30 am in the morning after water was extracted and all air movers and dehumidifiers were purposely set in several places for faster drying.

We provide services to Apartments, Hotels, Schools and many other commercial buildings.

For the next few days after the initial call, our team routinely checked the equipment, monitored the humidity levels and took moisture readings of all the affected areas. Our employees are all trained professionals and take the necessary actions to ensure a job well done! Water damage is usually covered by your insurance but it should always be dealt with immediately to prevent further issues.

If you are a landlord or an apartment owner and you suspect water damage, give SERVPRO of Black Hawk County a call at 319-268-1521.

Fire Extinguishers and How to use it.

1/2/2020 (Permalink)

Red fire extinguisher is on the ground and woman stands next to it as she bends to pull the pin. Team member Debbie learns how to P.A.S.S a fire extinguisher at the Waterloo Fire Department's open house.

A friend and local insurance agent recently told us about how he had to use a fire extinguisher for a fire that started behind a wall. He was working on a do it yourself project in the bathroom and was soldering two copper pipes together which created a small rumbling fire. He first smelled the fire and then could hear it behind a wall. He quickly got a hammer and his fire extinguisher from the garage. He took the hammer to the wall where he smelled, heard and sensed the heat. He could see the pipes that were heating up and released the foam from the extinguisher right to the source of the fire. It was a quick decision which probably saved his home.


Still, it is important to consider the steps you are going to take if you decide to use a fire extinguisher. Personal safety is extremely important so we do not recommend to try to put out a large fire that has already spread. Use your best judgment. Evacuating your family and calling the fire department should be some of your first steps to take. After using a fire extinguisher, the source may re-ignite so it’s important the fire department can inspect it.

There are 5 main types of extinguishers – water, foam, dry powder, C02, and wet chemical. The type of extinguisher you should use is according to the class of fire. All extinguishers should have the label of which class it's suitable for. Please take some time to find out what label(s) your fire extinguisher has.

5 Class Fires – A, B, C, D and K (What does it mean?)

Class A Fire – fires on wood, paper, rubber, plastics. “Ordinary combustibles.”

Class B Fire – fires in flammable liquid such as gas, alcohol, or oils.

Class C Fire – fires involved in electrical equipment or electrical fires.

Class D Fire – fires in combustible metals such as titanium.

Class K Fire – Fires in cooking oils & grease.

Most common extinguishers are a multipurpose dry powder for class A, B, and C Fires. According to, Extinguisher for Class B Fires can be suitable for cooking grease or oil fires (Class K) in a home. Commercial Kitchen should always have a fire extinguisher specifically for Class K fires. We recommend keeping a few extinguishers around your home. The kitchen, garage, and in the second level are some of the locations we suggest having them in.

*Fire Extinguishers should be examined annually for maintenance.

Your local fire department might be able to examine your extinguisher to see if it’s still in good condition. One of our employees did exactly that at an open house our Waterloo Fire department held in September. They went as far as to double-check to see if that extinguisher was on a recall list. Good thing they checked because it was recalled and our employee was able to trade it in for new extinguisher. In this open house, they also had hands-on training on how to use a fire extinguisher. We recommend checking out some of the open houses your local fire department might hold. It’s fun and educating for you and your whole family.

Remember how to use a fire extinguisher with the acronym P.A.S.S.

P- Pull the pin

A- Aim the hose at the base of the fire from a safe distance

S- Squeeze the lever

S- Sweep the hose from side to side until no more fire.

If you don't have a fire extinguisher, we want to encourage you to get a few for your home. Being educated and prepared is the best thing you can do for you and your family's safety.

If you need cleaning and restoration after a fire, please give us a call at 319-268-1521.

SERVPRO Terminology (Part 1)

12/26/2019 (Permalink)

Green background with the IICRC logo which looks like a sphere with lines that give it dimension. Our vision is to be the best restoration company in the world.

What is a production technician and what is the IICRC?

For SERVPRO, production technicians are the employees who work out in the field with water, fire or mold damage that can take place in a residential home or commercial building. They hold the responsibility of demolition, removal of trash, professional cleaning, using equipment for water extraction/drying and more. They do this with the utmost care and respect of our clients to get the job done in a timely matter.

All of our production technicians are trained and certified by the IICRC which stands for Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. This is the most advanced certification for the restoration industry! We invest in this certification so that our employees can have the best understanding of how their job needs to be done and so that our potential customers can trust in our abilities to help restore their home or business.