Recent Why SERVPRO Posts

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. 

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. 


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.

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]


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.

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.

Mold Remediation Training - Containment

12/26/2019 (Permalink)

Plastic 7-ft tall chamber with red zipper tape on one side and 3 men gathered around it. Training for SERVPRO production technicians on Mold Remediation and Containment.

At the beginning of December, we sent two of our employees to a training opportunity held by the IIRCC.

Devon and Jeremy (production technicians) participated at a 4-day training of Mold Remediation alongside other Iowa’s SERVPRO employees. Scott, the owner of our Franchise, requested that they take thorough notes to report back to the office. We are always open to new techniques or best practices in our field. Luckily, these guys are team players and did exactly that. They had two experienced Instructors, Luis, a highly successful field expert from Australia and Rachel who has basically written the book on Mold Remediation. One of the training practices that we were very intrigued about is called “pressure fit containment” for mold remediation.

Mold releases spores when messed with so we must contain the affected room or area. We do this already by using 8-millimeter plastic and tape. A pressure fit containment requires more material. The pros of building a pressure fit containment are that it can be less invasive than using tape on painted walls. A tape can remove paint. The con is that the cost is more expensive and there’s the possibility that insurance may not cover it.

Pressure Fit Containment

A pressure fit containment is a frame constructed to fit in a doorway or entry. The frame is held by the pressure of 2 x 4” wood boards. Then the plastic is stapled tightly on the board. To get inside the containment, a zipper is attached straight down from the top frame to the bottom. The zipper has an adhesive in the back of it so it’s easy to attach right onto the plastic. After its attached, the zipper is unzipped and the plastic is cut straight down from in between the open zipper. The trainees had hands-on training on how to do exactly this in a demonstration room.

Aside from the pressure fit containment, they also built an exit chamber to be attached. The materials that are used are PVC pipes (nonporous material) and plastic that is glued on and wrapped around most sides except for the area that will attach to the main containment by plastic and tape. After they built it, the trainees attached it to the main containment. This area is used to enter after exiting the affected area so that the person can be HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuumed. When someone exits the chamber, all the spores or unclean air from their clothes, body and the chamber itself would have been removed. I have to mention that the plastic that they and we use is fire-resisting so in the case of a fire, the plastic will not engulf into flames spreading the fire but instead it would melt. Fire safety is quite important to us.

Back in the office, we were able to see exactly what went on because Devon brought back great pictures that showcases the training. Knowledge is power and we care about what we do. Our vision is to be the best in the world for restoration so training our team will help us achieve that! If you want to see the pictures Devon brought back, CLICK HERE.


A Letter of Thankfulness

11/11/2019 (Permalink)

Pen in Hand on white surface with the words, "Thank you!" We are grateful for people who trust, recommend, and choose us to clean and restore lives.

Dear Readers,

It’s not unusual for Iowa to experience white soft powder falling from the sky in November as you may already know. Apparently, we are preparing for a LONG and COLD winter this year but instead of being grouchy or “Grinch-y”, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County can’t help but be grateful during this holiday seasons.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is not only a business that cleans and restores homes or buildings, but we also restore lives.

In honor of Thanksgiving, we want to take a moment to jot down a few things that we are grateful for…

  1. We are grateful for our families and friends.
  2. We are grateful for shelter and warm clothes.
  3. We are grateful for people who trust, recommend, and choose us to clean and restore lives.
  4. We are grateful for our employees that raise their hands each morning and say “I’ll go do that clean up!”, no matter what it involves.
  5. We are grateful for the wisdom and knowledge we gain being in this line of work.
  6. We are grateful for our owners who care about our well-being and who encourage us to grow.
  7. We are grateful for our first responders who protect our community.
  8. We are grateful for insurance agents and adjuster who care about restoring lives as much as we do.
  9. We are grateful for the turkey, potatoes, corn, gravy, biscuit, pies and all the other food we are going to be filling our stomachs with.
  10. We are grateful that we are here to experience all that life has to offer, even the tough stuff because we are just a little more grateful for the good.

We hope that you can find joy and thankfulness during this season. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

Happy Thanksgiving!!


SERVPRO of Black Hawk County.

Where it all started, Sacramento! | SERVPRO 50TH Annual Convention

7/10/2019 (Permalink)

Scott and Libby Demuth going back in time to the late 60s.

Having a Groovy time at SERVPRO Conference!

This Annual Convention is a very special one as we celebrate 50 years of making history as a cleaning and restoration company. We are so honored and proud to be a part of ONE TEAM and the SERVPRO family. Ted and Doris Isaacson launched SERVPRO in the late 60s in Sacramento, CA. It sure was a “groovy” decision because we are now the top leader in Restoration Services!

FUN FACT... SERVPRO started off as a painting business.

Scott and Libby Demuth, owners of SERVPRO of Black Hawk County enjoyed a week of reenergizing and restoration at the convention. The week included a golf outing, key speakers like John Gordon, a reception, educational workshops and so much more. Not to mention, so many photo ops with great leaders from corporate, photo booths, and the new SERVPRO tattoo Corporate gave us! No worries, it isn’t permanent.

Our vision is to be the premier cleaning and restoration company in the world.

As we mentioned, we are proud to be a part of a franchise that strives for excellence within our employees and with serving our customers in their time of need. We can’t wait to reunite again next year at the conference!

Taking Time for Your Timeless Pieces: Removing Soot from Furniture

6/8/2019 (Permalink)

Soot covered shelf RESTORED!

When we think of fire damage, we all can visualize the blaze and burned, charred items. What we don’t think of are the hidden effects that soot from the fire causes. Smoke carries the ash and particles throughout the house to places you would never think and deposits a thick layer of soot.

 It is everywhere: black lines emerging from air vents, nestled behind outlet covers, and of course, completely covering and darkening furniture.  At first glance, you might not even notice it on wooden furniture. But if you remove an item, you will see distinct outlines of it, almost looking like a painting.

Unlike a dusty room, where furniture polish will wipe it away, fire soot includes the fine particles made up from a wide variety of materials like wood, paper, plastic, and other synthetic items. It contains acids and chemicals and is actually smaller than dust or even mold, resulting in a serious cleanup problem!

SERVPRO has spent extensive time researching and formulating cleaning solutions that we use to remove soot particles. Trained technicians use the cleaners, taking great measures to remove all the soot from every crevice. Patience and good ole q-tips help in this effort.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County stands proud over the items successfully rescued and restored for you!

There's an app for that! The ITEL speeds up productivity.

3/20/2019 (Permalink)

The ITEL app at work!

Technology is helping save time, money, and energy in more ways all the time.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is thankful for the advances it has brought to us in determining replacement costs for carpet and pad after a water loss. The ITEL app is one more way we are implementing to help reduce stress for customers and insurance agencies alike.

Previously, our office administrator, Lisa, would cut the samples to the correct size, bag them up, and ship them to Florida. A specialized company there would evaluate the sample and send back results for the adjuster and insurance company to settle on reimbursement. With mailing, the risk of losing samples, coupled with the wait time, evaluation and then reporting, took weeks. This process made restoring a customer’s home or business lengthy.

Now, after cutting carpet and pad samples to the correct size, our job coordinator, Nikki, can simply use the ITEL app to submit a test for the claim in a matter of minutes. Results are provided in 30 minutes or less. The app is so easy and convenient; it does not require education or prior experience with these materials. It guides you with step by step pictures and videos for user ease.

Another bonus is the ITEL app communicates to the insurance company itself! The whole process eliminates the lengthy wait and speeds up decision making.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is thankful technology is helping us get your home or business back together so quickly!

CE Classes for Insurance Pros - April 25th, 2019

3/9/2019 (Permalink)

Join us for a day of Continuing Education with Todd Davis.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County has a history of hosting Continuing Education (CE) classes for insurance agents at Hawkeye Community College located in Waterloo, and this year is no different. On April 25, we will have two classes with Todd Davis as our instructor.

Todd has been a great addition to our class time traditions. Many agents have complimented that he keeps the information relevant and interesting. He is an independent insurance agent with the Davis Agency Insurance based in Peoria, Illinois, and he has 30 years of experience as an insurance agent.

Our spring classes are as follows on April 25:

  • 8:30 am – 12:30 pm | LIFE: The Next Generation – 4 Credit Hours
  • 1:00 pm –  4:00 pm |  21st Century Ethics – 3 Credit Hours

It is $20 to attend one class and $35 to attend both. The fee covers the class as well as lunch.

Space is limited, so we encourage you to register as early as possible. Registration can be completed by emailing, calling 319-268-1521, or completing the form on our website.

We hope to see you there!

5 C's SERVPRO Employees do Every Day

2/15/2019 (Permalink)

We put lives back together one person at a time.


We instill confidence in the homeowner or business because we are professionally trained to restore their items and space.

Clean Up

We do all of the cleaning, packing, organizing, and returning of items to their previous state. During this process, we also clean up after ourselves and leave your space in an organized and tidy manner.


We cut, tear, and haul out the drywall, carpet, appliance, and excess items that can’t be restored.

Carpet Cleaning

When we’re not responding to an emergency, we also do residential and commercial cleaning, including carpet and upholstery.


As weird as it may sound, we help people get through their loss emotionally as well by listening to them and consoling them when they’re at their lowest. This part is just as crucial as the actual cleaning and construction.

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

1/31/2019 (Permalink)

This was the first bowl game to honor first responders, and we're so honored to have been a part of the experience.

On December 26, 2018, the First Responder Bowl was set to take place in Dallas, Texas. Unfortunately, due to severe weather, the game was delayed several times before making history as the first bowl game to be canceled. The irony of SERVPRO’s slogan, “Like it never even happened,” hung in the air as many disappointed fans packed up and traveled home.

Despite the unfortunate turn of events, we were still able to celebrate and honor the men and women who have dedicated their lives to being first responders. Awards were awarded and applause was applauded. Not even Mother Nature could take away from the special day.

In better hopes for next year, the First Responder Bowl offered a full game ticket refund or tickets to next year’s game at no cost. Our fingers are already crossed for better weather next time.

Northeast Iowa Food Bank Donation

1/18/2019 (Permalink)

Product Technicians, Devon and Keiland, donate non-perishable and self-care items for the food drive.

It takes a great deal of compassion to work at SERVPRO because we walk with people through their losses. These same individuals who put their heart and souls into their jobs have passions outside of work as well. One of them being the Northeast Iowa Food Bank.

This past November and December, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County hosted a food drive during the holiday season. The idea stemmed from Devon Burgess, Product Technician. His support for the Northeast Iowa Food Bank runs deep in his being, and he moved the rest of the team to make a difference during the season of giving.

The Northeast Iowa Food Bank was recently recognized as the 19th best in the country, and that’s thanks to the support of the community and organization of the Food Bank, itself.

After finishing our food drive, we were notified that we donated 76 lbs. of food. We will continue to donate to local nonprofits because that’s what we do—we help people!