Recent Posts

15 Questions to ask yourself before a Storm.

7/7/2020 (Permalink)

A tan woman with curly hair and glasses looks up in a pensive manner? Text that reads “Am I ready for a storm?” is on the top It is always better to be safe than sorry. 

As a mature and experienced human being, precautionary measures are normal! I mean, it is always better to be safe than sorry, right? Our goal is to get you thinking about situations that might not cross your mind until it’s panic time! Ponder these questions; get prepared with your answers. Alleviate problems to be better set for whatever happens. 

1. Am I prepared for a storm? 

2. Do I have a Storm Emergency Kit? 

3. How will I stay connected to local media in a power outage? 

4. Do I have perishable food? 

5. Have I discussed with my family about emergency plans?  

6. Do I have homeowners and flood insurance? 

7. Who are my insurance provider and local insurance agent? 

8. Does my insurance cover mold? 

9. Do I understand what my insurance covers? 

10. What is my deductible? 

11. Should I invest in a higher premium to ensure the protection of my home at a lower cost? 

12. Do I know how to turn off my utilities? 

13. Have I set money aside for disaster emergencies? 

14. Are my important documents protected from water damage? 

15. What will happen to my sump pump if there was a power outage? 

Your Safety is Important to Us. We can help you answer these questions and set you up with a complimentary Emergency Ready Plan (ERP). You can download the ERP app at 

Water Damage? Call us at 319-268-1521. 

SERVPRO to the (Food) Rescue!

7/7/2020 (Permalink)

5 people standing next to each other, wearing safety face mask, in front of a green vehicle. Best marketing plan is to sincerely care!

Late April, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County filled the need of our local food bank by volunteering to rescue food from 4 grocery stores every Tuesday and Thursday. SERVPRO employees were all considered essential workers during the pandemic. The marketing team shifted to working from home since many in-person meetings and events transitioned into online gatherings. 

SERVPRO corporate provided online webinars for marketing staff. The focus of our marketing plan turned from visiting and educating insurance agents and commercial businesses of our services to giving generously and finding avenues of helping. In one webinar session, Amber, a co-owner of a SERVPRO in Idaho spoke about ways that she was helping her community. Amber connected people to resources they were looking for through a Facebook group she started. This group was all about the community and very little about SERVPRO. Her enthusiasm to coordinate this type of help inspired us at SERVPRO of Black Hawk County. She was making a difference individually but also as an extension of SERVPRO. When the community needed assistance with a task that she knew SERVPRO could accomplish, she did not shy away from proudly recommending her business. After listening to the webinar, we needed to take action and write our own story of care and concern for our community! 

Marketing Manager, Debbie Robeson, contacted the local food bank to see how we could help. We learned that many of their regularly scheduled volunteers were unable to put their time in due to pandemic restrictions. Governor Reynolds of Iowa mobilized the US National Guard & Americorps to help repackage food at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. One department that wasn’t staffed was the Food Rescue mission. Food Rescue consisted of stopping at several local retail outlets or grocery stores, to pick up food donated by them to the community through the food bank system. 

We are grateful to our boss, Scott Demuth, who didn’t hesitate and agreed to donate employee time, our green SERVPRO vehicles, and cover the cost of mileage each day of rescuing food for this mission.  

We, Debbie and Dani, and occasionally with our warehouse manager Chuck and project manager Sam, picked up food until June 18th, collecting over 16,000 pounds of food! We also donated $350 which provided about 1,400 meals to insecure individuals. If you would like to see more fun pictures of our community involvement, check out our community events photos page on our website.  

The best marketing is to put action with sincere care. Our friends at Northeast Iowa Food Bank shared some kind words about our involvement in their latest newsletter.  We are thankful for the opportunity to help in a different setting from our cleanup and restoration efforts and provide the resources needed. 

Here to Help. 

First Notice of a Water Loss – The Phone Call

6/23/2020 (Permalink)

A smiling white woman filing folders. Michelle Miller - Job Coordinator by day, Rock star EVERY DAY!

On Monday (June 22, 2020), we received over 50+ calls at our office concerning some type of water problem in homes. We refer to these problems as a ‘water loss’. The majority of calls focused on issues with basement floor drains or the sump pump. This is not our usual Monday. The call that we receive is a lead on a job and referred to as the First Notice of Loss, shortened to FNOL. On this call, our team is asking questions and collecting all the information they need in order to respond to the request for help as quickly and as efficiently as they can. So, here’s what to expect when you call us. 


SERVPRO, how can we assist? 

During office hours (Monday – Friday from 8am-5pm), our phone calls come straight to our local offices where our job coordinator, Michelle Miller, answers it. Many might see her and think she’s “only” a receptionist but she does more than answering the phone. She is vital to our operation. We all seek and appreciate amazing customer service and that is what Michelle does every day as she answers calls from worried and sometimes frantic people. Disasters are scary and we understand that. At SERVPRO of Black Hawk County, we give you peace of mind from the very beginning with our empathy, honesty, and professionalism.  


There are 3 important details that we collect during the FNOL. 

  1. Caller Details – Name, Phone, Is the Caller the Customer? Etc. 
  1. Customer Details – Name, Phone, Email, Loss Address, City, etc. 
  1. Loss Details – Type of Loss, Date it occurred, Cause of Loss, Finished or Unfinished Basement, Residential or Commercial, Type of Flooring, Is there standing water? Etc. 

Who is your Insurance Provider and Agent? 

Home Insurance policies may be able to cover water loss expenses so we work closely with our local insurance agents and adjusters. We ask the customer who their insurance provider and agent are for two reasons…First, to remind the customer that their insurance can possibly help them. Secondly, to determine their coverage and if they will be turning the damage in as a claim.  

Our desire is to be “Faster to Any Size Disaster” 100% of the time, but when heavy call volume occurs, it won’t ever seem fast enough! We respond and follow up to every call.  We know first-hand how crucial timing is with a water issue and cleanup is needed.  A waiting list is often started, and as hard as it is to ask, we encourage people to continue contacting other restoration and cleanup companies that may be able to assist sooner. SERVPRO cares about you enough to make this recommendation! What’s most important is that you are helped, even if it’s not through us. We’d rather gain a friend and direct you to another than to lose you over a promise we can’t keep. 

Water Damage? Give us a call at (319) 268-1521. We’re Here to Help, all ways. 

We won the 2020 Character of Business Award!

6/22/2020 (Permalink)

A group photo of 18 people lines next to each other, wearing SERVPRO green and black uniform next to a SERVPRO sign. Thanks to our SERVPRO team who help make this possible!

We are happy to announce that SERVPRO of Black Hawk County and owners, Scott & Libby Demuth, recently won a prestigious award, the Cedar Valley Character Counts Business of Character Award! 

The Iowa Character Counts! program is based out of the Ray Center at Drake University, in Des Moines. Every year, Drake University recognizes Iowans who show the Six Pillars of CHARACTER which are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship. 

We felt so loved and appreciated when the Vice President of Operations, Sandi Sommerfelt, at Grow Cedar Valley (local chamber) told us she was nominating SERVPRO for the Character Counts! Award. Her first experience with SERVPRO was after flooding at her workplace in 2019. We responded very quickly but what impressed Sandi the most was the care she felt from the SERVPRO team.  

In my opinion, they exceeded expectations of their job, and demonstrated care and concern that meant the world to me and others in my office.” - Sandi 
We are thrilled that SERVPRO of Black Hawk County has won an award of this degree focused on integrity! We are very proud of how Scott and Libby have built a commendable position among hundreds of businesses while showcasing the SERVPRO brand. Their business ethics and sincere care for the team and the service they provide our community ranks right up there with large corporations! We knew it, now others do too!

The following is a nomination question answered by our friend, Sandi Sommerfelt. Thank you, Sandi! 

Explain how they demonstrate the Six Pillars of Character (trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, good citizenship)  

Trustworthy – Having worked with SERVPRO, they have my complete confidence that they can be trusted to do a thorough job without me having to look over their shoulder and can be trusted with personal belongings.  And not only can you trust SERVPRO to do the job right, you can also count on them to be discreet.   

 And the owner’s CONSTANT ON CALL motto is felt by many area businesses and homeowners. Testimonies of appreciation are often shared through emails, phone calls and letters from people that Scott and the team have walked with during their crisis. It’s always saying yes by being there at any hour, any day in all ways during their recovery after a fire or water loss situation.  

Respect – The team at SERVPRO show the utmost respect for their customers and for their personal belongings.  They take extra steps necessary to cover items while cleaning, and handle personal items with care. They are respectful of customers schedules and busy lives, trying to be the least disruptive as possible.    

Responsibility – SERVPRO doesn’t just do their portion of the work and leave. They will work with your insurance agents with you, help line up contractors, and make sure everything is done right. They take responsibility for the entire project from start to finish.  Throughout the process of my office flooding they were very responsive anytime I had a question about the clean-up.  They stood behind their work and did everything they could to make sure we were beyond satisfied with their service.    

Fairness – They don’t charge you for things you don’t need. A few years ago, prior to our complete office flood, we had a small water leak in one office.  SERVPRO checked it out, made some recommendations to continue the drying process and said I did not need any additional work. There aren’t many companies that won’t try to sell you on some sort of service, and I was truly impressed with their character.    

Caring – The staff at SERVPRO are so compassionate to their customers. This is clearly evidenced in the testimonials and the letter of recommendation.  They go out of their way to make sure their customer is okay first and foremost.  After my office flooded and days after the clean-up was complete, members of the staff actually came back to our office to check on us and bring us treats.  In addition, Scott frequently demonstrates genuine care and concern for his team members, commonly referred to as a family.   That is truly caring in my book!  

Good citizenship – During the flooding of neighboring counties, Scott has volunteered along with his own crews to tackle mounting service requests. When their SERVPRO office gets numerous weather-related emergencies called in, Scott reaches out to other local restoration companies and ‘shares’ the work. This helps to ensure our community members are taken care of and bounce back quickly. His ‘you before me’ attitude and passion for assisting others is a distinguishing trait that motivates others to be their best. 

Gear to stop the fear of Water Damage

6/16/2020 (Permalink)

2 Green large dehumidifier, 4 stackable large Air movers, 9 small air movers that are stacked are in front of a white garage Water Cleanup is more than water extraction. The Drying process is key.

As a home or business owner, the fear and anxiety of the possibility of water damage are real. Mostly because we have seen or heard the outcome and headache it can be. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County has answered many calls of water loss and we are grateful for the opportunity to help. We are qualified and equipped to clean up the mess as fast we can to prevent further damage and restore you to a home and business that functions. After we extract water, there are a few pieces of equipment that we utilize to make a water loss like it never even happened.

Sensing more than the eye can see…

We have two different technologies that we can use to detect moisture in hidden places. One of the moisture readers is a 2-pin Moisture Sensor that has 2 pins that can penetrate through wood, carpet, carpet padding, and drywall to find an accurate reading of the wetness of the area. This can help us determine how far the water has spread. The other technology to detect water is an Infrared Moisture Reader that can detect moisture through a thermal reading. Sometimes water damage is not as obvious but there are suspicions because of the humidity in a room, or the smell of mildew. An example of when we had to use this is after we found some mold in a basement. The homeowner’s basement flooded and decided to try to clean it up on their own. They extracted the water and set up fans everywhere. The floors and walls all felt dry. After a few weeks, we received the call for mold cleanup. After using the Thermal Moisture Reader, we found their downstairs cabinets, the walls behind it, the closets, and some parts of the ceiling were still wet!

Humid, sticky & wet… we’ll use a Dehumidifier.

Another equipment that we use is a Dehumidifier or as we (restoration specialists) like to call it, Dehus (pronounced Dee-hue). A dehumidifier helps reduce water in the air and maintain the level of humidity in the air. We set this up every time we work on a water loss to prevent the growth of mold. You would be surprised by all the water it collects from the air.

Dry. Dry. Dry.

We use various types of air movers to ensure the home or business is completely dry. Air movers are often compared with fans but unlike fans, air movers can be much more precise and often have a higher air velocity. We place several air movers around the area. If you walk into a water loss job, you can find several air movers on an axis frame directed up towards the wall, down toward the flooring, low central air movers alongside the walls, and air movers that direct airflow directly above the flooring. The placement of the air movers is always intentional. Our production manager speaks to our customers about the importance of the placement of the equipment and not to turn any of it off.

If you decide to clean up water damage yourself, we would love to be a resource to you. You can give us a call for any questions or even call us over to inspect the water loss and help evaluate the scope of the damage.

Call us at SERVPRO of Black Hawk County at 319-268-1521

6 Useful Tips for Heavy Rains

6/16/2020 (Permalink)

Black and white image of water droplets on a dark surface. Orange SERVPRO logo is in the foreground. Heavy Rainfall can bring forth floods. Beware.

There’s something about rain that can be very soothing and calming. It might even bring an inviting melancholy mood as we reminisce happy memories while listening to the rain’s pitter-patter but let’s be cautious. Days of rain, especially heavy rains, can lead to experiences that no one, EVER, wants to think about again. Unfortunately, flooding and sewer back up in your basement can be a result of heavy rain.

What is Heavy Rain?

If you were born and raised in the Midwest, have a monthly subscription of the Farmer’s Almanac, or have a rain gauge in your front yard, you may already know what’s considered heavy rain… According to the National Weather Service, Heavy rainfall is more than .49 inches of rainfall per hour. Heavy rainfall in a short amount of time can lead to flash floods that can damage homes and farmland. We want to share a few tips in case rain wants to sneak inside your home.

Safety Tips during Heavy Rains

  1. Check your basement for any water seepage.
  2. Check on your sump pump and make sure it’s working. Consider getting a battery-operated one as a backup.
  3. If you use your basement as storage, make sure your treasured contents are inside durable waterproof totes.
  4. Make sure your humidifier in the basement is on.
  5. Always have an emergency kit ready for any type of disaster.
  6. Listen up to the weather forecasts on local media.

Beware of Floods

Visit for Flood Safety Tips! This is a great resource to better prepare yourself in case heavy rainfall leads to flooding inside your home and neighborhood. Something really important to consider is your home insurance and whether it covers flood or water damage and to which extent.

If you experienced water damage inside your home, give SERVPRO of Black Hawk County a call.

We are here to help. Call 319.268.1521.

Are you ready to open your business?

5/27/2020 (Permalink)

Green sign with the words, “This Location Cleaned and Sanitized by:” and the SERVPRO logo (orange house) SERVPRO is here to bring peace of mind.

What an unusual year this has been. From staying at home to canceling school and vacation trips. Recently our governor, Kim Reynolds, announced more openings for businesses in Black Hawk County, previously closed because of the pandemic. Great news, but now to figure out what steps are necessary and the right way to proceed? Business owners and management staff may be carrying a lot of burden because of this very question. It can be overwhelming. Still, WE GOT THIS.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County can help!


We understand that during the closure of many stores and offices, some may have had the chance to take time to deep clean their business. For those who did not have this opportunity, please allow SERVPRO to clean for you. Here are a few things you can implement when working with us to become a new normal.

  • Schedule regular cleaning that best fits your needs.
  • Get our Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) put in place- No charge!
  • Sign up for our newsletter that contains safety tips that can save you money.
  • Ask for signage to let your customers know your location has been SERVPRO cleaned.

Giving you Peace of Mind.

We are here to help, so please just give us a call for any questions you may have. We are an industry leader in cleaning and restoration. Our team is ready to help re-open your business.

Call 319.268-1521

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned – a defensive cleaning program

5/18/2020 (Permalink)

Table tent signs describing the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program on top of a wooden table. Our defensive cleaning program gives your business a way forward by providing your employees and customers ongoing safety and assuredness.

Let us help you get back to business

As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Extensive training and specialized products

As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.  Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.

3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify

When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry-leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.

  • Consult – Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high-frequency touchpoints, foot traffic, and congestion points.
  • Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff performs. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials.  In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible. 
  • Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.

Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation

We’re Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – until life is back to normal in the communities we all call home.

Call SERVPRO of Black Hawk County today at  319-268-1521 for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation.

* #1 Choice in cleanup & restoration based Commercial Attitude & Usage Tracking study. Polling 816 commercial business decision-makers on the first choice for future needs related to cleanup & restoration work. A study conducted by C&R Research: October 2019

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned means professionally trained SERVPRO franchises perform the requested cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection services according to proprietary SERVPRO protocols and recognized industry and CDC standards with EPA approved cleaning products to deliver a SERVPRO certified cleaning experience. Each SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.

Home Alone! Helpful Home Safety Remedies For A Safe Summer.

5/12/2020 (Permalink)

With confirmed school closings, the uncertainty of summer programming, and the re-opening of work offices, some children will continue on their own at home. Prepare them well for a safe summer. These tips are a good reminder to ALL of us.

1,2,3, Home Safety Remedies

Reminders to UNPLUG certain appliances and equipment can prevent a fire.

Toasters, Toaster Ovens, Pizzazz, Keurig Machines- (hot cocoa use- not coffee, of course!) Unplug when the food is done, before consuming. Forgetfulness happens too soon once they sit down to eat.

Cell Phone Charger- It no secret that we are ALL using a lot more battery life these days. Phone chargers are moving up the list as a common cause of fires. When fully charged, unplug both the phone AND the charger from the wall.

Plus, unplugging these items can avoid any unwanted energy consumption- albeit small amounts of it.

Multi-tasking while preparing food won’t get them ahead here. Don’t walk away from appliances once started.

Microwave ovens and pre-set temperatures can be helpful, but should NOT be relied upon.
Children should be advised to wait at the microwave and use the sound/smell test when preparing packaged food. These items can be tricky in the description as defined for the recommended temperature button on the microwave, i.e. small vs regular-size popcorn.  Remind them if an item is smelling burnt or has had the sudden ‘blop’ sound, hit off, and wait a few seconds before removing.

Plates, bowls, and cups- which one to use? Set out in a basket specific microwave-safe dishes and paper products for them to use.  Avoid having other items around that they could grab. Styrofoam is highly flammable, literally taking seconds to ignite. (Unfortunately, I know this from experience). How often have we entered too much time to reheat an item? Equip them to use the right stuff and be ready to hit off if it smells or sounds done.

3.EXTRA, EXTRA, Read All About It… 
Details of new chores should be written out and demonstrated. Being intuitive comes with age and experience. Understanding the reasons why sometimes are learned the hard way. It’s a lot to expect young people to have the knowledge we have gained through trial, error, and probably a mishap. Here are a few things you might be assigning and need to explain more:

  • Removing & folding laundry- take out the collection in the lint trap of the dryer: It causes fire when it builds up.
  • Vacuuming- NEVER pull with the cord to remove it. Use the plug ‘head’ to pull it out.
  • Use of cleaning products: show them how to flush their eyes in case of accidental spraying, along with proper handling of rags when they are done. Hang outside separately. 
    (NEVER leave in a pile- combustible fires start this way!)
  • Garbage Can & trash bags-empty at the end of ‘their’ day, or set a specific time like right before you come home. Define full: items are all the way to the top. It seems obvious, but we all see things differently.

We hope this helps prevent an unfortunate disaster.

If you fire or water damage restoration, please call 319.268.1521


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.