Recent Storm Damage Posts

A Derecho devastated countless Midwest communities

8/13/2020 (Permalink)

collapsed grain bins Midwest grain bins destroyed by Derecho

Recently Iowa, along with surrounding states experienced a catastrophic weather event called a derecho. A derecho is a long-lived straight-line windstorm that is part of a line of powerful thunderstorms. The damage is widespread and has been devastating to countless Midwest communities. There were parts of the region that reached sustained wind speeds of 100+ MPH.

Whatever type of weather event happens, SERVPRO of Mason City is able to respond quickly. Our IICRC certified staff has several years of combined experience responding to weather events across the Midwest. Most recently, our SERVPRO team responded to storms involving catastrophic flooding in the Chicago area, as well as in southern Minnesota. We have been able to assist with this latest event by coordinating temporary power through generators for homes and businesses that have been without power since the storms moved through.

SERVPRO of Mason City has the knowledge and skills to respond quickly and professionally to assist home and business owners during these stressful times; from the first responders to our office staff, we can help you navigate the steps from day one through completion. SERVPRO of Mason City also has years of experience working with insurance professionals and has the knowledge to assist throughout that process.

When a big storm happens, you want to rely on the experienced professionals at SERVPRO of Mason City to make it “Like it never even happened.” We are available to help 24 hours a day to help. You can reach us at (641) 424-3382.

Midwest Storms Call for Help!

8/13/2020 (Permalink)

A storm can occur any time anywhere and can leave behind devastation to the homes and businesses in that area. SERVPRO of Mason City is dedicated to helping people in need and making a storm look "Like it never even happened." Individual SERVPRO of Mason City franchises and storm response teams around the country work together to help during these catastrophic events.

Our franchise had the recent opportunity to assist in two different storm events. The first was in Chicago, IL and the second in Mankato, MN, each relating to a flood situation.

The production staff working in those areas gained much experience with organization and prioritization, projecting how much equipment and consumable products that would be necessary to bring along. Once on site, the project manager was able to come up with a game plan quickly and the team was able to execute effectively to get each homeowner taken care of.

The office staff also learned a lot about communication during these storm events. With the storm team not at home base, communication was a bit challenging. Each staff member was able to overcome those challenges.  Having a support system back home to help them out there was huge.

Being able to assist the local franchises with these storms has given our franchise an opportunity for growth and has been a great training tool for us. Not only do we get to help more people in need, but we also get to learn in the process.

Cleaning up Flood Damage

8/13/2020 (Permalink)

Restoring your home or business after a flood is a difficult job. Depending on the severity of the flood, you may have to deal with structural damage, electrical damage, and potential health hazards. Before you begin dealing with flood cleanup, ask yourself these questions:

Do you have the time?

Time is crucial factor in a flood damage restoration project. The longer your belongings stay in water, the worse the damage will be. Any area that is not dried thoroughly within 24 hours may have long-term problems. Can you afford to take several days or weeks off work to clean contaminated water and mud out your home? Once the water is removed, your belongings must be dried and restored. SERVPRO of Mason City, a professional flood restoration company, can help you focus on getting your personal life back to normal faster as the flood damage in your home will be taken care of.

Do you have the expertise?

Flood damage cleanup is a multi-stage process. First, the floodwater must be pumped out and the area thoroughly dried. During this process, you will need to mitigate safety concerns due to the weakened structure of your home. There will also be health hazards as you will have to deal with bacteria and potential microbial growth. You will have to decide which of your possessions can be saved and what must be thrown away. Only then can you begin the actual flood repair work to make your home livable again.

Do you want to do the work?

Flood damage cleanup is dirty, often hazardous work. After the flood incident is over, do you want to face the job of cleaning contaminated water and mud out of your home, then sort through your possessions to see what can be saved? The emotional impact of flood cleanup can be significant and can interfere with other aspects of your life. Hiring SERVPRO of Mason City to compete flood damage restoration is an investment in your mental and emotional health.

Call SERVPRO of Mason City - (641) 424-3382

Prepare For Summer Storms

8/4/2020 (Permalink)

Heavy thunderstorms and potential tornadoes are always a threat to our area during the summer months. There are different types of disasters that can arise from these storms. Examples flooding and power outages. Both cause potential safety hazards.

 Always be aware of large damaging storms that are possible in your area and prepared for the aftermath. Flooding can cause power outages. Power outages may even cause flooding in some areas and homes. If your home is equipped with a sump pump, make sure that you have a battery back-up system. Make sure that the battery back-up is operational and maintained regularly.

   An emergency kit is good to keep on hand in case of power outages, heavy flooding as well as other natural disasters that may strike at any time. At you can find an extensive breakdown of items recommended to have ready at any given time. Below is a summary list to get your kits started or up to date.

  • Water(one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food(at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps (to help find safe emergency routes)
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery (for emergency contacts)

Once your kit is assembled or updated, you must remember to maintain it.

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers.
  • Replace expired items as needed.
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Keep you emergency kit in a designated place where you have easy access to it, and ready to go in hurry. For more information the above hyperlinked word will lead you too designated sites to help in preparing your family for any emergency or disaster that mother nature can cause.

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.

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.

Flood Watch vs Flood Warning – What’s the Difference?

9/2/2019 (Permalink)

Flooding can occur rapidly and can cause major damage to homes and businesses. The National Weather Service or your local weather service issues flood watches, warnings, and advisories. But what do they mean? Below are the differences between the announcements and what you need to do for each.

Flood Advisory – this is the lowest level of flood notifications. Flooding may be possible under the current weather conditions, but if a flood does occur it is usually less severe. It is best to pay attention to weather announcements and be alert to the risk of flooding.

Flood Watch – this indicates that flooding may be possible in your area within 24 to 48 hours. It means that conditions are favorable for a flood, but not guaranteed. Be ready to seek shelter because a flood watch can quickly turn into a flood warning.

Flood Warning – this means flooding is imminent or already happening in your area. Some things you should be aware of at this time include locating emergency shelters, evacuation procedures, avoid low lying areas, and stay tuned for weather updates. If officials advise evacuation, do so immediately.

Flash Flood Warning – flash floods are sudden and violent. This usually occurs within six hours or less when rain is heavy or levees and dams break. Because flash flooding happens so rapidly, there may not be time to send out alerts. If you become aware of this warning, seek higher ground immediately. Even if it is not raining in your area, flash flooding can still develop when the warning is issued.

Flooding can be very dangerous and sometimes very sudden. In inclement weather, always be alert to your local weather service or the National Weather Service for updates and how to protect yourself. Always exercise caution and be prepared. For water removal and mold damage after a flood, call SERVPRO of Mason City to make it look like “Like it never even happened.”

How to Ease Your Child's Fear of Thunderstorms

8/27/2019 (Permalink)

No two kids react to major and minor storms in quite the same way. Maybe yours gets a thrill at a flash of lightening or the kaboom of thunder. Or perhaps yours is the type who frets as soon the clouds roll in—not unreasonable if you or someone your child knows has weathered dramatic weather events, especially hurricanes or tornadoes. Fortunately, there are things you can do to ease your kids’ weather woes, both before a storm strike and after it passes.

Try these tips from leading psychologists and weather experts:

  • Recognize that large and small storms can—and do—disrupt family life
  • Remember that round-the-clock news updates can trigger anxiety
  • Remain calm and supportive if your kids are apprehensive
  • Don’t underestimate the power of curiosity
  • Watch age-appropriate videos together

Preparing Your Pets for Natural Disasters

8/13/2019 (Permalink)

Does your family have an emergency plan in place for bad weather or other emergency situations?  Does it include a plan for your pets? Having your pets or animals in your plan, can save time if, or when, an emergency happens. There’s a lot to think about when an emergency happens, having what you need ready when the emergency occurs, can drastically increase your chances of staying safe during an emergency. Having an emergency kit for your pets, is just as important as having an emergency kit for your family members. There are a wide variety of pet’s that people can own, each one produces its own set of challenges, but the basic needs are somewhat the same. The things needed in a pet emergency kit are based on the type of animal, but your kit should include things like: medicines your pet may need, a few days’ worth of food and water, records of immunizations, if possible small crate or cage for the pet, sanitation items you may need ( cat litter, paper towels, trash bags, etc..), a photo of you and your pets in case you get separated, and familiar items your pet is used to (toys, treats, bedding, etc..).

                An emergency plan that’s already in place when an emergency happens, can keep, not only you, but your pets safe during an emergency. Knowing what your options are ahead of time, can cut down on stress levels on both you, and your pet.  Be sure to know exactly where family is going to meet and whose grabbing what supplies. Think about where you and your pet, may end up if you must leave your home. There are some places will not allow certain pets or won’t allow them at all. Check on supplies and rotate them out, if supplies need to be fresh and ready to use. Having a plan before an emergency can help keep your family and pets safe in an emergency! SERVPRO of Mason City can help you with this.

Prepping Your Home For a Flood

8/13/2019 (Permalink)

Have you ever stopped to think about what you would to do if you knew your home was going to be in a flood? Or what all you can do to help minimize damage? Stopping flood waters may not be an option, but there are steps you can take to help limit the amount of damage. Making sure you have flood insurance is a start, but you can do things within your home to minimize the amount of damage. Like:

  • Getting electrical cords up off the ground higher than the expected water intrusion can help with avoiding a fire and make the structure safer during the recovery process.
  • Putting appliances and utilities up on blocks could possibly help save them. Shutting power off to structure is also another option if you aren’t sure what the expected level of water is going to be.
  • Shutting off power, however, it will also shut down any sump pumps you may have running. • Shutting off gas supply to the house is another way to avoid further issues such as fire, or gas leak and will also eliminate any pilot lights.
  • Waterproofing your basement is another option. It can lessen the amount and speed water enters the home, possibly giving you and your family more time to respond.
  • Putting in gate valves in drains will help stop sewer water from backing up into the home. These should be installed on every pipe coming into the home.
  • Having an emergency ready kit with supplies for everyone in your house to survive on for minimum 3 days is recommended. Kit should include things like, food, water, blankets, flashlights, medication, etc.
  • Make sure you got paperwork for everyone in the family in case your home gets completely ruined and you must start over.

Having a plan in place for what needs to be done before a flood, can save time and gets everyone out safety quickly and efficiently. Be sure to practice this plan so everyone knows their roll.  If the flood waters are slowly rising and you have more time, household items can be moved to a higher level or another location.  Having a plan, of what to do in a flood situation, can save time and money. In the event you are to need restoration, SERVPRO of Mason City is always here to help.  

Losing Power During a Storm

8/1/2019 (Permalink)

The steps you take during a power outage during a storm can help you stay safe during a storm.

When an outage happens unexpectedly it can:

  • Slow down or stop communications, water, and transportation.
  • Close these types of businesses down for that time being, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks, and many other services.
  • Cause food spoilage and water contamination.
  • Prevent use of medical devices.


  • Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. Use coolers with ice if necessary. Monitor temperatures with a thermometer.
  • Take steps to remain cool, if it is hot outside. When the power may be off for a long time in intense heat, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or “cooling shelter”, which may be available in some communities. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Avoid getting carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.
  • Put on layers of warm clothing, if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another that has heat to keep warm.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can cause damage.
  • Consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing a generator for your home. NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage or connect it to your home's electrical system.

SERVPRO of Mason City is always here to help in the event you are to experience any damage to your home or business during a storm.

Preparing Yourself for a Tornado

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

No one has the ability of knowing the strength of a tornado before it touches the ground. Tornadoes don’t just lift and carry houses into the air like, one would think. Majority of tornadoes cause damage to the buildings from the high winds and flying debris. Have you taken the precautionary measures to prepare you and your family, in the event a tornado was to happen? If not, here are a few things you can gather and do, to help you be prepared and to stay safe!

  • Electronics to have on hand: batteries, flashlight, tv, radio, or a device with the internet to get the latest emergency weather updates
  • Create a tornado emergency plan, include an access to a “safe shelter” for yourself or others
  • Have an emergency kit
  • Educate your children on tornado and what they are.
  • Find a room to seek shelter on the lowest floor or basement, the best room to choose would be an interior one that has no windows (bathroom, closet, center hallway). Plan for this to be your tornado room to seek shelter.
  • For added protection, be sure to get under something sturdy (a heavy table or workbench). Cover your body with a blanket, sleeping bag or mattress for added layers. Be sure to protect your head with anything available.

By preparing and following these tips will increase your safety and well-being, if a tornado were to take place.  SERVPRO of Mason City can help assist in the clean up and board of your home.

We Specialize in Basement Flood Clean-up After Storms

6/18/2018 (Permalink)

We Specialize in Basement Floods Clean-Up and Restoration After Storms

A basement can flood at any time, although flooding most often occurs during heavy rainfall. Basements are inherently prone to flooding because they are the lowest level of a building and are normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are a number of reasons why your  basement could flood, including: 

  • A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe
  • Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home
  • Storm sewer backup
  • Sanitary sewer backup
  • Foundation drainage failure
  • Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure
  • And many more

Have Questions about Basement Flooding?

Call Today - (641)424-3382

If flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety, and cause severe damage to your home’s structure. Remember, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.

The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Mason City and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.

We are Flooded Basement Specialists:

  • We are Available 24 hours/7 days per week
  • We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies
  • We Bill The Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About
  • Our Technicians are Highly-Trained  in Water Restoration Techniques
  • We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards
  • Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment

Basement Flooded? Call Us Today – We’re Ready To Help (641-424-3382

Flooded Basement from Storm

5/17/2018 (Permalink)

Floating basement items

Dry Out Your Property After Flooding

When a city is founded beside a river, it provides an excellent source of running water, but the city also has the potential of sustaining flood damage during storms. The unique geographic position that some homes hold near the river means that they also run the risk of flooding during an unusually severe storm. Excessive rainwater, intense winds, and debris that are carried by the rushing water make this situation dangerous for the longevity of your home. Fortunately, once the storm settles, and the water returns to the river, professional help nearby is only a phone call away. 
A wayward rock breaking a window is an easy way that water can rush into your living room and cause flooding in your Mason City home. The hardwood floors, expensive furniture, and electronics are all in danger from the moment the water touches them. Unfortunately, the longer the water sits without removal, the more damage it can cause to your precious belongings. 
Wood can warp and blister when exposed to water while it absorbs it, and electronics can short out. Allowing this water to sit stagnant for even a couple of days runs the risk of letting microbial growth to occur. Mold growing in your home can cause further damages and thus eat more expenses to remediate. It is best to call for help as soon as you find flood water in your home. 
Here at SERVPRO, we strive to get to your home as soon as we can after your call. Our technicians  bring industrial quality trade technology to your home so they can extract the water as quickly as possible. Using tools like extractors, submersible pumps, and wet/dry vacuums allow SERVPRO to remove the water swiftly. Acting immediately is what lets us move onto drying out your home. 
When the river in your city floods and causes damage to your home, do not pause. Phone SERVPRO of Mason City at 641-424-3382. Let us help you return your home to its pre-flood state. 

Flood damage to hardwood floors

5/17/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Can Help to Save Your Hardwood Floors after Flood Damage

Most people look forward to the end of winter in Mason City Iowa and the warmer weather that follows. We must, of course, remember that along with spring rainstorms, melting snow, and warm sunshine, there is an increased threat of flooding. It is all part of spring in the Midwest. Damage from flooding in the spring can be costly and extensive for you as a homeowner. If you have lived here for a while, you are probably aware of any flooding dangers that are possible.

These things sometimes, unfortunately, take you by surprise, and then your home is underwater. If this happens to you, it can be quite overwhelming, but it is not the time to hesitate. The water needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible to prevent even more damage, and to do this you need professional help. Our staff at SERVPRO are trained and experienced in flood damage, and we can help you anytime you need.

We do not hesitate to get to your home once you contact us. SERVPRO technicians are trained to know the moisture effects on different materials and how to dry them properly, including your wood flooring. Permanence and exposure time are two of the major variables that determine how much damage is done to affected materials. Refers to how quickly water vapor goes through a material, and exposure time refers to how long material was in contact with the water.

Wood naturally contains moisture but expands when it absorbs extra moisture. The boards can warp and expanded boards can push against one another. Buckling at the joints where the boards meet or at the walls can occur because of this. How much buckling happens depends on how much moisture is absorbed and what kind of wood it is. Warping and buckling can be permanent after the wood finishes drying. Floors have to be replaced if the right drying and refinishing cannot get rid of the damage.

Cupping and crowning can also occur. Cupping happens when the water is absorbed from the sides and bottom of the wood. The edges slightly raise or cup. Many times, it can be sanded out. Crowning happens when the top of the wood holds more moisture than the bottom and sides. It can make the wood arch, making a bowed shape in the middle. It usually happens with the bottom of the wood is over-dried.

SERVPRO of Mason City knows how to handle your wood flooring in your home. We are available 24/7! Call (641)424-3382

When Storms or Floods hit Mason City, SERVPRO is ready!

3/9/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Mason City specializes in storm and flood damage restoration.  Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources. Which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit Mason City we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 641-424-3382