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Summer Storm Preparedness

3/25/2021 (Permalink)

Dark sky on dirt road with trees This photo shows that a storm is rolling in.

If your area is prone to devastating storms, like Severe Storms Or Tornadoes, then be prepared with emergency supplies. Have water for at least three days (one gallon per person per day), non-perishable food for three days, a battery-powered radio for weather updates, first aid kits, local maps, portable cell phone chargers, and more. Head over to for a complete list of items you need to have in your emergency kit. 

Sign up to receive emergency alerts.

Most local communities have an alert system, which will send messages via email or text to your phone. You can usually sign up for this service on your community's website, or if available, you can follow your town's social media accounts. 

Also, follow national weather and emergency information social media accounts, such as @NOAA, @NWS, and @FEMA. These channels will provide you with more information about impending, dangerous weather. 

Warning: You might lose power.

 Preparation for an approaching storm should include:

  • Buying a standby generator if your area has several severe storms throughout the season.
  • Making sure you have batteries on hand for flashlights.
  • Checking that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are operational and have back-up batteries.
  • Using surge protectors and turning off any electronics and appliances to prevent damage in case of a power surge.
  • Getting a solar charger for your phone.
  •  Large ziplock bags filled with water and saved in your freezer is a good idea. (If the power does go out, you will have a bunch of ice to keep things cool and freshwater as it melts.

If you or someone within your home needs the power to run medical devices, you can reach out to your utility company. They may add your area to a priority service list for faster reconnection

With every severe storm headed your way, there's a few steps you should take to protect yourself and your neighbors. Move your car to a safe location, one that usually doesn't flood. Secure your patio furniture. (Don't let your patio umbrella fly through your neighbor's window.) 

Prior to every storm season, you should also visually inspect the trees on and around your property. Walk around the exterior of your home and make note of any dangerous limbs and trees. If you're able to cut the threatening branches safely, do so. For any sickly trees or precarious branches, call a professional for assistance. Also, make sure your downspout is connected and water drains away from your house. If you have a sump pump before the storm season or even heavy spring rains you should pour some water in the sump to make sure it’s working. It is a good idea to also have a battery backup.

 Lastly, look over your homeowner's insurance.

Summer storms can do a lot of danger to your home, so take some time to review your homeowner's insurance. If you're uncertain about gaps in coverage, such as flood or disaster insurance, give your agency a call. Tell them your concerns, and they'll make sure you have the appropriate insurance coverage for the severe weather your home might see this summer.


3/15/2021 (Permalink)

Promaster in front of a building This is the promaster that got our crew safely to and from Arkansas.

National Resources 

As a part of a national network of franchises, SERVPRO responds faster and with more resources than most local companies can.  SERVPRO Dubuque has had a crew helping with the recovery efforts in Arkansas after this winter's storms.  Special Disaster Recovery Teams are also available as an additional resource when a major disaster strikes. 

Locally owned

As a locally owned and operated building restoration service, SERVPRO is an integral part of the local community here in Dubuque and the Tri-State Area. They are ready to respond quickly with whatever commercial cleaning or emergency restoration services are required. Their connection to Dubuque and the Tri-State area gives them a unique perspective and appreciation for the needs of local homes and business owners.

Qualified Restoration Technicians

Cleaning and restoring a home or business requires a crew of highly trained technicians to avoid lingering issues such as mold or odors. That’s why SERVPRO team members undergo ongoing training to stay up to date on the latest in emergency restoration technology and techniques. 

Advanced Restoration Equipment and Techniques

SERVPRO utilizes the most advanced equipment in the industry, including moisture detection devices, water extraction, and drying equipment, odor removal, deodorization, sanitizing, and antimicrobial treatments.

Comprehensive Restoration Services

Many types of property damage end up requiring multiple restoration approaches. For example, storm damage may result in the need for both water removal and mold remediation. 

Because SERVPRO offers a full range of restoration services, they can handle all aspects of the restoration process, regardless of the types of damage incurred. There’s no need to hire a second contractor or deal with multiple insurance claims. In fact, SERVPRO will even help manage the insurance paperwork. Call SERVPRO Dubuque at 563-584-2242


1/19/2021 (Permalink)

Flooding in a office This flooded office was from a recent storm.

Water damage cleanup processes at your commercial property can be far more dangerous than many people anticipate. One mistake during water damage is underestimating these dangers. It’s important to know what precautions you ought to take. Here are simple precautions during water damage cleanup recommended by our water damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Dubuque to help keep you safe if your business ever floods. 

The best practice after a flood is to completely avoid going back into your business until it has been deemed safe to do so by SERVPRO of Dubuque’s technicians. This is due to the numerous different hazards like water contamination, structural damage, mold growth, and electrocution. Avoiding going back into your Business after a flood may not be feasible for everyone, so if you do make sure you wear the appropriate protective gear to stay safe. 

Be ready for the worst (collapsed wall, collapsed roof, gas leaks, electrical hazards, etc.)

Many complications can crop up during the water damage cleanup process. While it is unlikely that all of these will occur after a flood, it is still valuable to be ready and prepared for each one in case it does. Some complications you should be aware of include a collapsed roof, gas leaks, compromised electrical systems, and pest infestations.

 Because floodwater is often contaminated with hazardous bacteria and microorganisms, should you have to go back into your Business after a flood, wearing the appropriate protective gear is essential. . Depending on the scope of the damage, this includes respiratory protection, rubber gloves, rubber boots, Tyvek coveralls and so on. 

The Water Should be removed ASAP.  SERVPRO of Dubuque has the trained technicians and the right equipment to remove the water and dry up your facilities quickly.

Doing this mitigates the amount of mold and water damage that your business receives. Each poses its own safety hazards. Do not procrastinate the cleanup process no matter what other distractions you have going on at the same time.


1/19/2021 (Permalink)

a white jug with decon 30 Decon 30 is what we use while disinfecting a covid job.

COVID is something we will have around like a virus. So SERVPRO of Dubuque is always prepared to go and tackle the COVID clean. We have Benefect Botanical Decon 30 disinfectant cleaner also known as Decon 30. Decon-30 is a safe product for adults, children, and animals.

Is Decon 30 safe?

Benefect is so natural, you can drink it! It's one of our all-purpose cleaners.

So, what does SERVPRO do when we COVID clean?

If it is a Category 1, we will come and do touch points and fog. When doing touchpoints, we will take a rag with Decon 30 and wipe everything down that could be touched by someone daily. Then we will go around and use an electrostatic sprayer to fog the touchpoints.

If it is a Category 2, we will do touchpoints, walls, and fog of the area of the positive case or the whole building depending on the customer's choice. When doing touchpoints, we will take a rag with Decon 30 and wipe everything down that could be touched by someone daily, along with the walls, we will use a Swiffer, and pad with Decon 30 Then we will go around and use an electrostatic sprayer to fog the touchpoints.

What is the difference between 'cleaning' and 'disinfecting' for COVID-19?

Cleaning with soap and water or a detergent removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. It lowers the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting with a household disinfectant on List N: Disinfectants for use against SARs-CoV-2external icon kills germs on the surface. By disinfecting or killing germs on a surface after cleaning the surface, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

What do we wear?

When SERVPRO shows up, we are in full PPE. What is PPE? Protective personal equipment, we wear a full-face respirator, Tyvek suit, and gloves (two pairs). This is for the safety of our employees while disinfecting a positive cased area and while fogging.

According to

“Typical disinfectants require 10 minutes contact time, which is difficult to achieve on vertical surfaces and materials. New Decon 30 solves this problem by being specially formulated to kill gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria with a more realistic contact time of just 30 seconds!”

Different kinds of storms in winter

1/15/2021 (Permalink)

Ice on gutters This shows an example of an ice dam on a home.

Most people think of Summer storms when they think of heavily damaged property, but different types of winter storms can cause a very wide range of damage.

Blizzards are very dangerous winter storms that are a combination of blowing snow and wind.

Heavy snowfalls and severe cold often accompany blizzards. Heavy wet snow accumulation on your roof may cause it to collapse causing not only structural damage and water damage from the melting snow. If the damage isn’t repaired and the moisture removed this could lead to a mold problem causing additional expense. SERVPRO of Dubuque can assess the damage and clean up and make the needed repairs if you would like SERVPRO of Dubuque too. 

Snow squalls are brief, intense snow showers accompanied by strong gusty winds. Accumulation may be significant with serious drifting a possibility. It’s important when there is a chance of drifting to keep an eye on your furnace exhaust vents to make sure they stay clear and your furnace is venting safely to the outside.

Ice dams caused by melting snow may also cause water to enter your home through the attic. This is caused by the snow melting and then refreezing at the eaves rather than running off through the gutters. You should make sure your attic is adequately insulated and vented.

Ice and sleet storms can affect your home in very different ways. Ice build-up on power lines can cause a loss of service for hours or even days. When this happens to depend on the outside temperature you may want to shut off your water and drain the pipes if the outage will be for an extended period. This will prevent frozen pipes and costly cleanup and/or repairs.

Ice build-up on trees on your property may cause branches to break and fall on the home sometimes causing considerable damage. The best way to help prevent this type of damage is to have your trees pruned by a professional. While this does not eliminate the risk it does lower it considerably.  

Remember if the storms damage your home SERVPRO of Dubuque will ensure is is "Like it never even happened.”

Yearly inspection

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Check mark on clipboard This is showing that it was inspected for the year.

Water damage, regardless of its cause, is very unpredictable and often leaves us with costly repairs. Almost all homes with a basement in the US will experience water damage at some point.  The cost of water damage and removal in the US also reaches up to $13 billion per year. 

While many homes and buildings are protected against fire damage by installing fire alarms and detectors, only a few have protected their properties against water damage. What makes it worse is that water damage, oftentimes, hidden until the damage has already been caused. The best way to prevent water damage and costly repair services is important to protect yourself, your home.

It is important to perform yearly inspections and maintenance on your home, it is during the regular inspection that you will be able to spot early signs of water damage. Inspect your building for any signs of water leaking such as damp areas or discoloration on the walls, floors, and ceilings. Molds and mildew thrive in wet areas so if you spot mold growth in your property, chances are, there is also a water source near it. Inspect the plumbing system that leads to the water heater, dishwasher, washing machines, refrigerator, and other appliances for any sign of leakage. Make it a habit to shut off the source of water supply when going away for a vacation.

Be sure to keep the exterior under good repair and maintained. Water damage can either be caused by an internal or external source. You will want to check your home where water may enter such as your windows, doors, downspouts, and others. Check your roof and the gutter. Make sure that there are no missing or damaged shingles. Remove any debris that has accumulated in the gutter to ensure that rainwater can flow freely. Caulk and reseal windows or any cracks to prevent water seepage. 

Have you heard of the saying that goes, “It’s better to be safe than to be sorry?” You will never know when a storm comes or when your pipe breaks accidentally; so the best option is to be prepared. Place your valuable items, important documents, seasonal items, and other belongings in a waterproof container. Better yet, invest in a water sensor for your home or business property so you will be notified right away in case of water leakage. 

Finally, in case of water has penetrated your home, the best option to take is to call in the professionals from SERVPRO of Dubuque to minimize the damage caused and repair the damage SERVPRO of Dubuque has the tools and water extraction systems that can quickly remove the water inside your home and prevent the damage from spreading.

Commercial water damage

12/30/2020 (Permalink)

frozen pipe This pipe is frozen and could bust causing water damage in your commercial building.

Many – perhaps even most – older commercial buildings are equipped with piping that is very often no longer sound. A system that was state-of-the-art at the time of installation may be a piping type that is now recognized as problematic. Or, it was meant for planned replacement because builders knew that plumbing doesn’t last forever.

Commercial property owners rarely think about a building’s piping system. It’s hidden and if it hasn’t leaked yet, at least obviously, it’s forgotten. But, be warned: it will spring a leak one day, whether it’s a discrete damp spot in one corner or an indoor burst that drenches building materials and displaces tenants. Further, water on upper floors inevitably damages lower floors. Even worse, undetected and hidden leaks prompt mold growth.

Older types of piping fall into several categories. Cost-effective and easy to install, polybutylene piping outfitted millions of buildings from the 1970s to the 1990s. The material was a bust, however, because water treatment chemicals like chlorine make it brittle and prone to breakage. Even if piping remains intact, water quality suffers as chemicals leach into the water. Polybutylene pipe must always be replaced. 

Cast iron or galvanized metal piping suffers from erosion, corrosion, or a combination of the two. Erosion occurs in every metal piping system, water flowing within a pipe creates friction and wears it away. Corrosion, however, is when the metal chemically reacts with water and is a bigger challenge for metal piping. Galvanized iron piping, for example – steel coated with zinc – outfitted many structures built before 1960. Over time, zinc erodes and corrodes pipes, reducing or blocking the flow of water, increasing the risk for leaks, and affecting water quality. Galvanized pipe isn’t reliable for more than 25 years.

Newer commercial structures may be outfitted with stainless steel and copper if construction budgets are lavish. Plastic plumbing types – PEX, PVC, CPVC – may appear in newer installations. Though durable and flexible, they have their own difficulties: vulnerability to freezing conditions or UV degradation. No piping lasts forever.

Should you ever experience water damage due to pipe failure. SERVPRO of Dubuque is ready to make it "Like it never happened.”

Resolve to be Ready in 2021

12/23/2020 (Permalink)

Road and dark clouds Iowa thunderstorm

SERVPRO Urges Dubuque Home and Business Owners to “Resolve to be Ready” in 2021

Local cleanup and restoration specialist shares no-cost emergency planning tools that enable fast and effective disaster response and recovery

 While resolutions typically involve committing to personal changes and reaching goals, SERVPRO says the single most important resolution both business and homeowners can make for 2021 is to “Resolve to be Ready.”

 “Preparing in advance to deal with the unexpected can make a world of difference in how quickly and completely property owners can put the pieces of their lives back together,” says Todd Wiedenman of SERVPRO Dubuque. “Emergency readiness plans are the foundation for effective and timely emergency response.”

 Wiedenman encourages all property owners to take advantage of the no-cost emergency planning tools available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (, as well as SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile and READY Plan Mobile App ( 

 For homeowners:

  • FEMA resources include guidelines for creating a Family Emergency Plan and Emergency Supply List, with additional tips for pet owners, seniors, people with disabilities, and even commuters.
  • SERVPRO offers its free SERVPRO READY Plan app, which stores critical contact and property information electronically in advance, where it can be accessed with a mobile device in seconds if disaster strikes.

For business owners:

  • FEMA offers materials on topics ranging from creating a Business Continuity Plan to an Insurance Discussion Coverage Form in addition to guidelines for creating an Emergency Response Plan.
  • For businesses, SERVPRO offers a no-cost facility assessment and assistance in creating a comprehensive Emergency READY Profile®(ERP). The ERP includes information about emergency contact numbers, priority, and high/risk areas, shut-off valve locations, and more that can then be stored in the READY app.

 “The time to gather and store information like emergency contact numbers; insurance contacts; and the location of fuse boxes, fire suppression system controls, and such is before an emergency strikes, not during an emergency,” says Wiedenman. “Having this information at your fingertips can help emergency responders react as quickly and effectively as possible, helping to limit the loss of property and even lives.”

Since 1998 SERVPRO of Dubuque has provided disaster restoration, cleanup, and repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it “Like it never even happened,” for both commercial and residential customers. For more information on SERVPRO of Dubuque, please contact us at (563) 584-2242 or For more information on the SERVPRO mobile app and the SERVPRO Emergency READY Program, please visit


Founded in 1967, the SERVPRO® Franchise System is a leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services and mold mitigation and remediation. SERVPRO’s professional services network of more than 1,700 individually owned and operated Franchises responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar large-loss events. Providing coverage in the United States and Canada, the SERVPRO® System has established relationships with major insurance companies and commercial clients, as well as individual homeowners.

How many chargers do you have?

12/22/2020 (Permalink)

Phone charger This shows that the charger started on fire.

How many chargers do you have plugged in at your home or office?  Between phone, tablet, gaming console accessories it could be several.

Did you know that the wall plugs for these chargers have power running through them even when the devices are not attached and charging?

It is commonly known that charging a phone while on top of a flammable surface such as in bed or on a sofa is a fire hazard, but what about once the phone is removed from the charger?

Most people are unaware that once the phone or even the charging cord is disconnected there is still power being drawn by the "wall plug".

As we find that we use more and more mobile electronics in our daily lives, most of us have a handful of different chargers for our cell phones, tablets, and other accessories.  It is common to leave wall plugs or car chargers plugged in and simply disconnect our devices.  Unfortunately doing so is not only a fire hazard but is becoming one of the most frequent causes of electrical fires in homes.

Two possible preventative measures are either simply unplugging all chargers when not currently in use or to plug all chargers into a quality GFI power strip and turn it off when not utilizing the chargers.

I hope this information will be helpful and can prevent a dangerous and costly fire in your home or business.  Should you have a fire or water damage loss, please remember SERVPRO of Dubuque.  We can make it "Like it never even happened."

Fires, Smoke, Soot

12/22/2020 (Permalink)

Plates These dishes were in a kitchen fire and were saveable.

Fires, whether the residential or commercial result in smoke, soot, and odor.  They may penetrate various cavities within the building or home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our expertise in smoke and soot damage allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage and develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke, soot, and odor:

  • Hot smoke migrates to upper levels of a structure and is also attracted to cooler areas and surfaces.
  • Smoke flows through the home, seeping through the holes used by pipes and electrical runs, to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
  • The means to eradicate the odor can vary due to the different types of smoke.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry.

As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Dubuque can pretest to determine which type of smoke caused the damage. The most effective cleaning procedures will then be planned, based on the information identified during pretesting.

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor.  Soot tends to migrate horizontally and is sticky and smears easily. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.  Soot tends to be lighter and less likely to be sticky or smear.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 
  • May require testing to identify affected areas.

Smoke Odor Removal

  • In addition to the physical cleaning process to remove smoke odor, SERVPRO of Dubuque owns several machines that are used to mitigate odor.
  • Some examples of these machines include Ozone machines, Hydroxyl Machines, and HEPA air filtration devices with activated carbon/charcoal filters.

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Each fire loss is different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. SERVPRO of Dubuque has the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your property after a fire, smoke, and soot damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

If you experience a fire, smoke, or soot loss.  Reach out to the fire damage professionals at SERVPRO of Dubuque, we ensure it will be "Like it never even happened".