Recent Posts

Prepare for the changing of the seasons

4/3/2020 (Permalink)

Spring weather can be very unpredictable as temperatures fluctuate from temperate to frigid. It is the time of year when thunderstorms are most prevalent bringing heavy rains, lightning and even tornadoes.

Alan Lakein, an author on personal time management, once wrote, "Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now." That's very empowering when you think about it. It's almost like time traveling without a DeLorean or having to mess with all that space-time continuum stuff. Planning for emergencies can also bring you great peace of mind. Think of it as an insurance policy against future disasters. 

Here is a list of tips to help you prepare for the changing seasons.

1. Evaluate the exterior of your home.

  • Inspect the condition of your roof and siding.
  • Evaluate foliage around your home to ensure tree branches are trimmed to prevent them from falling on your home during a storm.
  • Inspect your gutters to make sure they are free from debris and that downspouts are secured and in place.

2. Check your sump pump.

3. Tend to leaks and inspect for unnoticed new leaks.

4. Make storm safety plans.

  • Conduct a family meeting that will inform everyone what you emergency plans are.
  • Have an out of town contact your family knows the number to. This is who you'll call to inform where you are after disaster occurs.
  • Teach your children how and when to call emergency numbers.
  • Have a location picked out as the place your family will meet in case you get separated from one another. Make sure everyone knows not only the best escape routes but the safe places to go inside your home if a tornado approaches.
  • Know how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity at the main switches or valves.
  • Have fire extinguishers ready. Show everyone where they're located and how to use them.
  • Inventory your possessions and keep that list along with other important documents in a safe deposit box or in the cloud. (On the internet)
  • Keep your home owners or renters insurance company's telephone numbers readily available. (Also, be sure to keep SERVPRO of Mason City, Austin & Albert Lea's phone number close at hand.)

5.Maintain your plan and kit.

  • Every six months, review your plans with your family, conduct evacuation drills and restock expiring food and perishables in your kit. Also, confirm your fire extinguisher is recharged and smoke alarm batteries are replaced.

6. Get informed- Many areas have local emergency management offices and/or a Red Cross Chapter. These organizations can provide vital information concerning local emergency shelters. It's also a good idea to invest in a NOAA weather radio that will alert you during any time of the day or night for when possible destructive conditions materialize.

SERVPRO of Mason City, Austin & Albert Lea is dedicated to responding immediately to your flood and storm damage emergencies in order to help minimize the loss. We have the storm damage restoration experience and specialized equipment to restore your home or business back to pre-storm condition.

We are cleaning experts

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

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 perform 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 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 from the experts at SERVPRO Mason City, Austin/Albert Lea at 641-423-3382 or 507-396-6644.

House Fire, Now What?

3/10/2020 (Permalink)

You had a house fire, Now what?

The first thing you need to think about following a house fire is the safety of yourself and your family members. It is important not to enter a fire damaged structure until the fire department has deemed that it is structurally sound. Going back into your home after a fire can be overwhelming and emotional while you take in all of the damage that has occurred. when you are able to re-enter your home, it is important to not disturb items, as this can lead to secondary damage. When you are not sure where to start, call your local SERVPRO and their team of professionals can help you throughout the restoration process. SERVPRO professionals are available 24/7/365 for emergency services.

Time is of the essence after having a fire, the sooner the damage is addressed, the more likely it is that your property and personal belongings can be restored instead of having to be disposed of and/or replaced. Our team of SERVPRO professsionals can help with emergency board up services, content inventory, cleaning and restoration using cutting edge cleaning techniques and products, perform pack out/move out in the event your belongings need to be stored during the restoration process, electronic cleaning, document and photo restoration, as well as offering content inventory services to assist in the insurance claim process. We will work closely with you and your insurance professionals every step of the way. If the unthinkable happens, let our SERVPRO heroes make it "Like it never even happened."

Commercial Destruction

2/18/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO may be known as a fire and water restoration company, but did you know we also provide commercial cleaning services for trauma, crime scene, and vandalism? As a business owner, these situations are not ideal for any company and you want to make sure they are taken care of immediately. That's why SERVPRO of Mason, Austin/Albert Lea is ready 24/7 with the specialized training and equipment to safely clean these messes and get you back to business. 

Some of the cleaning services we provide include, but are not limited to:

*Blood, bodily fluids, and tissue remnants

*Fire Extinguisher residue

*Tear gas and pepper spray residues

*Destruction of property

*Odor removal and deodorization

*Spray paint removal from exterior walls, walkways, glass, etc.

Such trauma, crime scene, and vandalism instances can range from bloody noses to complete destruction of property. Our technicians are highly trained to safely and effectively clean your commercial property as quickly as possible. The core steps taken to properly restore these situations include:

1.) Health and safety of personnel, occupants, workers, and technicians is of upmost importance. The appropriate personal protective equipment and engineering controls are used for proper protection first and foremost.

2.) Documentation is properly maintained prior to clean up (in an accident or crime scene scenario, police have finished processing the situation).

3.) Evaluation and assessment of the effected area and any other area that may be contaminated is conducted to determine the scope of work to be performed.

4.) Isolate and contain the affected areas to prevent cross-contamination.

5.) Removal of contaminated materials or decontamination by cleaning and application of an antimicrobial when removal is not possible.

6.) Application of appropriate government-registered antimicrobial (biocride) shall be applied to ensure structure, systems and contents are safe for use. 

7.) Post remediation evaluation and verification is performed to confirm cleanliness and safety of all areas.

Every trauma, crime scene, and vandilism situation is difficult. If you find your business in this tough situation, we will always treat your property and personnel with the empathy and respect during these trying circumstances. SERVPRO of Mason City, Austin/Albert Lea is determined to ensure the safety and cleanliness of each situation and make it look "Like it never even happened." 

It may not look like much water

2/3/2020 (Permalink)

There's nothing like waking up first thing in the morning, walking out of your bedroom and into a pool of water in your hallway. Next thing you know your socks are wet, and you just realized today might be considered a bad day. First thing anyone does in this situation is figure out where it came from. You discover that you have a broken water line to the vanity sink in your bathroom. You turn off the valve right there under the sink and stop the water and call your plumber to come fix it. That's not the end of the issue yet. 

So, the plumber is on his way and you're looking around at all this water on the bathroom floor, your carpeted hallway is soaked and of course there is still water dripping out from the vanity. This is a mess most people don't know how to handle, a few towels and the dehumidifier out of your basement might not be the answer. The common reaction to water everywhere is to get some towels and maybe a fan or two. 

When it comes to large amounts of water, towels and fans are not going to be enough to dry things below the surface. Once water has saturated a carpet down to the pad, the sub floor is now affected. Same for walls, the outer layer of drywall being saturated means that most likely there is wet framing studs that are at risk of being wet as well. With the knowledge, you now know the next call should be SERVPRO. 

SERVPRO has certified water restoration technicians with the training and tools to make sure that everything is dry and sanitary by the time the job is done. SERVPRO will work with you and your insurance company to make sure everything is handled properly and to IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) standards. 

Commercial Water Losses

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

Throughout the course of a year, you probably don’t think about how many gallons of heated water you use in your home, business or at a commercial building you are in.  A water heater is the unsung hero of hot showers, clean dishes, sanitary surfaces, clean hands; the list goes on.  These water heating units are sometimes taken for granted, but when they fail or malfunction, a solution can be difficult to attain.  That is why SERVPRO exists, to bring a solution to a catastrophe and get things back to normal as soon as possible. 

                Last month, we got a call from a very close commercial building with quite the predicament.  A water heater had failed, gushing gallons upon gallons of water throughout 3 businesses in a strip mall, putting them out of commission for the foreseeable future a that location.  Thankfully, each business had a contingency plan and were able to make do with other spaces at other locations.  In this instance, they were lucky that there was a place for them to go however, that is not always the case.

                We arrived on scene and ensured that a plumber was available to fix the issue.  Then we extracted the water out of the carpet in each unit.  Thankfully, there wasn’t any pad under the carpet or a basement for multiple floors to be affected, but this also allowed the water to spread out into a larger radius from the source of the insult.  Once extraction was completed, we removed the cove molding from the walls to allow us to drill drying holes in the insulated wall cavities.  This gave us an opportunity to get the drywall and insulation dry within a few days due to the equipment we set up. 

                We had to place a heating unit in one side due to an issue with heat, which elevated the temperature and allowed the wet materials to release moisture via evaporation.  We created a drying chamber as well to help retain heat in the insulted areas of the unit.  Multiple dehumidifiers in each business also helped remove water vapor and reduce the vapor pressure within the structure, allowing the drying process to take off.  In a business week, we had everything dry and even had a repairs plan in place to reapply the cove molding and touch up other areas of concern. 

                By the end of the job, we had the building owner happy with the quick turn around with drying, as well as the plan for reinstallation of the cove molding.  Those were the main areas of concern from the building owner, but we were able to take those into consideration and produce results.  It was a great feeling to our technicians as well as the project manager; accomplishing a lot in a short time.  Today, each business is back up and running AND they have hot water again. 

SERVPROs 1-4-8 Response Guidelines

12/11/2019 (Permalink)

Servpro 1.4.8 SERVPRO 1.4.8

SERVPRO of Mason City, Austin, & Albert Lea works hard on bring the 1-4-8 experience to every customer.  The service is our promise to every customer that we will come to help each disaster in a timely manner. With any disaster time is a very important factor. Within 1 hour from notice of loss, one of our trained employees will contact you to arrange for service. Within 4 hours of loss notification, members of SERVPRO of Mason City, Austin, & Albert Lea will be onsite to start mitigation services. Within 8 hours of onsite arrival, a verbal briefing of the scope will be communicated to the appropriate person. Since we started service within 4 hours, we can stop further damage and get you back to your home "Like it never even happened." Once the job is complete a trained employee will do a final walk through with you to make sure everything is complete. Thanks to our 1-4-8 response we can get homeowners and businesses back to the way they were before the disaster. SERVPRO of Mason City, Austin, & Albert Lea is available 24/7 every day of the year.

Space Heaters are a Leading Cause of House Fires

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Space heaters are an easy way to get extra heat in our homes when it is cold outside. But it turns out, many people are using them wrong and causing a huge fire risk in their homes. If space heaters are used correctly, they can be nice to have in the cold months. Space heaters use a lot of power so when plugging them in it is safest to plug them directly into the wall. Depending on the extension cord it might not be able to handle the amount of electricity needed. It is also important to keep any flammable objects at least 3 feet from the space heater. SERVPRO of Mason City recommends checking fire detectors often and have a fire extinguisher in an easy to get place. In case of emergency SERVPRO of Mason City, Austin, and Albert Lea is ready to help 24/7.

Cold Weather Can Affect Your Businesses Fire Sprinkler Systems

11/12/2019 (Permalink)

Living in North Iowa we know winters come with some cold weather. In most commercial businesses the buildings have fire sprinkler systems to help put out a fire if one were to ever occur. In winter it is important to check where the sprinklers are located. Sprinkler lines that are along an exterior wall or between entryways with poor heat are exposed to the chance of freezing due to the cold weather. Frozen pipes expand causing the pipe to crack or even break causing water to leak out. Make sure the main water line is labeled so you can turn the water off fast. SERVPRO is trained to come and clean the affected area if a pipe were to break. We have equipment that can get the remaining water out and dry the structure. SERVPRO of Mason City is available 24/7 to come get your business back up and running.

What to Check Before a Winter Storm

11/5/2019 (Permalink)

Iowa winters are filled with freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. SERVPRO of Mason City recommends checking these 3 things before a winter storm hits.

  • It is advised to get your fireplace chimney inspected once a year. Using a wood fireplace is a great way to get extra heat in the winter, but if not taken care of can be a fire hazard. Chimney fires can be caused by creosote, soot, and other debris that can create blockage.
  • Before the start of really cold weather protect your pipes from freezing. Common water pipes to break during the cold are ones in basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Normally these are pipes that are running in a poor insulated wall or exterior wall. There are a few steps you can take to prevent them from freezing. Keep a few faucets dripping that are along exterior walls. Open your kitchen and bathroom cabinets to let in extra heat. Lastly keep the thermostat at the same temperature during the day and at night.
  • Do you know where your HVAC intake and exhaust vents are located? If large amounts of snow fall it can cause these vents to be covered by the snow. If the intake vent is blocked it can cause your furnace to stall meaning you are left without heat. Exhaust vents being covered can cause toxic fumes to be pushed back into your home.

 Mason City SERVPRO is here for you if you ever experience winter damage. SERVPRO is available 24/7 with experienced technicians to make it look like it never happened.