Recent Storm Damage Posts

Storm Damage? Call SERVPRO.

8/21/2023 (Permalink)

Storms can be unpredictable and take a toll on your home or commercial space, which can cause damage to both the interior and exterior of your property. SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa understands that these disasters can come at any time and provides emergency services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have trained, on-call professionals to respond to your loss, and our teams make it a priority to be faster to any size disaster. This immediate response time can lessen damage, cleaning time and costs as further damage will be prevented. So, if your property is ever impacted by storm damage, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa at any time, day or night. We are always Here to help. 

For residential services that can bring you peace of mind when something goes wrong, SERVPRO offers water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, mold remediation, storm damage restoration, general cleaning and building services. A commercial property impacted by damage can also be restored by SERVPRO with services such as commercial water damage restoration, commercial fire damage restoration, commercial mold remediation, storm damage and large loss event restoration, and cleaning services. 

Droughts: Think Before You Burn

9/19/2022 (Permalink)

Farmland is being affected by high temps which have caused a drought If you experience damage from an accidental fire or damage from an energized storm, call SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Grinnell.

Hello Ottumwa! 

It’s Jacob, and I wanted to write a  blog post about where we talk about a cause-and-effect relationship. Right now, Iowa is in a drought due to the lack of rainfall and hotter temperatures. The lack of seasonal storms has essentially dried the ground which raises the risk of accidental fires. Back in March, the sheriff's department placed a burn ban on Wapello County after high temperatures caused a drought. 

I think we all should make a conscious effort to avoid burning trash and to check our cigarettes before throwing them out, read more. Just until we get some precipitation that will rehydrate the ground. Warmer air makes the ground dry, well the amount of evaporation increases with the dryer weather. This in return causes an increase in water vapor in our atmosphere which means rain/snow storms.

Flood Warnings Vs. Flood Watches

8/12/2022 (Permalink)

Kid Playing in flooded parking lot Stay safe during flood events, and just know SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell is one call away. Please call our office at 641-672-0872.

Hello Ottumwa! 

I wrote a blog a couple of days ago about creating a Family Emergency Plan, so I wanted to continue this topic of flooding. I’m gonna be honest; I did not know the difference between flash flooding/flooding warnings and watches.

Flood Watches or Flash Flood Watches

When the local governments/news channels issue a watch, it generally means that flooding is a possibility. If a watch has been issued, you should stay alert to changing conditions and be ready to seek higher ground.

Flood Warnings or Flash Flood Warnings

You will want to ensure that you hear the warning closely because they require different actions. When local officials issue a flood warning, they want you to avoid any low-lying areas and evacuate if your home is in the flood zone. Flash Flood Warnings are more of a concern no matter if you're in a low-lying area because water will rise fast. We suggest you follow the Family Emergency Plan you created as action is recommended immediately. 

Sometimes the predictions might be wrong, but it just takes one accurate forecast to cause significant damage. I remember in 2008 when the flooding in Cedar Rapids occurred and how fast the waters rose. Please be safe and act quickly!

Flash Flood Family Emergency Planning

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

Boy playing in flooded parking lot I hope that you never find yourself in these situations. If you do, please call SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell at 641-672-0872.

Hello Ottumwa!

It’s Jacob, Digital Marketing Support Coordinator, and I wanted to talk about the flooding events in Kentucky and Missouri. I remember the feeling of watching the Cedar Rapids flood in 2008, which took years to recover from. Flooding can happen just as fast as a tornado, so I wanted to create a blog post to go over some conversations your family should have with itself but also the extended family in case flash flooding forces you out of your home.

  • Establishing Meeting Locations and Emergency Contact

If flooding causes your family to be forced out of your home, you should come up with two locations that can be “the meeting spot” for your family (if you end up getting separated) and your extended family. One location should be closer to your home, preferably higher grounds, and a location further from your home. This is in case you are told to evacuate and cannot return to the area.

  • Planning the Evacuation Plan

This plan should be actively practiced, especially if your home is in a flood zone. This plan should include exits of your home and different routes that could be taken in case flooding causes certain roads to be shut down. NEVER DRIVE YOUR CAR THROUGH FLOODED ROADS. If you cannot leave due to flooded roads, you will need to find a room on the highest floor with few windows and access to television, radio, or a telephone. This area should be stocked with nonperishables so that you have a food source if you are stranded.

Creating and Storing Emergency Water Supply

7/15/2022 (Permalink)

Water Purification Tablets If you find yourself with an unknown water source please follow our suggestions. Call SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell at 641-682-0782.


It is I, Jacob, the Digital Marketing Coordinator, and I wanted to write a blog that helps you all if you ever find yourself in this situation. Often intense storms are unpredictable, which leaves little to no time to prepare for the worst-case scenario. If you haven’t stocked your storm shelter with blankets, nonperishables, or water, this is your reminder to start building your defense against Mother Nature's wrath. 

During major disasters like the Derecho or the 2008 Floods in Cedar Rapids, people didn’t have access to running water or clean water, which is why I am here to tell you about what to do during a couple of scenarios.

First Things First

You will need to find a container that has never held harmful pathogens such as bleach or industrial cleaners. This container should have a narrow neck to help you control the pour without wasting drinkable water. 

Ways to Purify Water 

  • One of the safest ways to purify your water is by boiling, which survivalists practice because of the ability to kill any virus’, bacteria’ or parasites. You must boil it for the correct amount of time, which changes based on your altitude. For locations below 6,500ft, you will want to boil the water for one minute and 3 minutes for those above 6,500ft. Let the water cool and store it in the clean containers you have washed out.
  • Purification tablets are a common and easy way to get quick clean water when you cannot boil it. These tablets contain chlorine, chlorine dioxide, or iodine which deactivates harmful pathogens. With a shelf life of 3 years, these tablets will come in handy during a disaster or on hiking trips. Please consider purchasing some of these tablets; click here.

Spring and Summer Storms

5/9/2022 (Permalink)

storm with lightning Have you ever wondered why it seems to thunderstorm more often when warmer seasons arrive?

When the warmer seasons of Spring and Summer roll around, many people get excited for nice weather and sunshine, yet fail to remember the thunderstorms that may come along. According to “howstuffworks,” thunderstorms thrive in the presence of moisture and quick-rising, hot air, which are both common in the warmer months of the year. Hotter sunlight during this time creates a warmer atmosphere, and when clashing with winter’s leftover cool, dry air, can lead to thunderstorms or tornadoes. Heavy storms can cause damage to the interior and exterior of your home, but SERVPRO can be there to help. Be prepared for these changing seasons and instable weather to come by knowing SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa and SERVPRO of Grinnell & Pella offer 24/7 emergency services and have teams of highly trained professionals to assist you.

Ways Winter Storms Damage your Home

11/11/2021 (Permalink)

Icicles on side of house. By following these helpful tricks and tips you are ensuring that you are keeping your home safe from the winter weather.

Everyone enjoys the first winter storm, but everyone will admit that they hate the 50th winter storm. The truth is that the winter months can cause many issues for your home if you don't know what to look for to prevent damage. 

Wind + Frozen branches = Damage

Everyone enjoys a nice walk in a winter wonderland with all of the ice-covered branches; it can certainly create an aesthetic winter feeling. When you take ice-covered branches and mix in blistery cold winter winds, you get a winter wonderland disaster that can damage your roof. Winds can also blow leaves into the gutter, creating a clogged gutter which can cause a leak of water into your home or basement. 

Melted Frosty + Flooded Basement = Water Damage  

The kiddos love it, and the dogs love to shove their head deep into it, snow. We all enjoy the cold fluffy stuff until it comes time for it to melt. Melted snow creates a messy situation outside, but the real problem is when it leaks into the basement or the house. The added moisture combined with the warm inside temperatures can create favorable conditions for mold to grow. 

The listed examples are just the tip of the winter wonderland disaster created during the winter months. By staying on top of the maintenance of your home, you ensure that there won't be a bigger disaster later down the road. 

Emergency Weather Tips

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

Consider getting insurance for your home based on past weather in your area. Such as extra coverage for:

  • Hail Storms
  • Lightning Storms
  • Tornadoes 
  • Blizzards
  • Floods 

*Make an Emergency Kit – Include bottled water, copies of important documents, medication, non-perishable food, important phone numbers, flashlight, and extra batteries. This can be placed in your home along with a small version for your vehicle.

*Maintain the roof, siding, and windows of your home before a storm hits.

*Keep trees trimmed about your home and out of buildings.

*Unplug electronics and major appliances before a lightning storm strikes.

Contact your local SERVPRO franchise for more readiness tips and tools.  We are just a phone call away and are available 24/7 365 days a year. If you do experience storm damage, then our team will be at the ready to help assist you and help bring your home back to preloss conditions.

Classes of Water: Rate of Evaporation

8/17/2021 (Permalink)

A pile of water materials in a house Our quick response will help prevent secondary damage and help reduce restoration costs. We aim to follow a restore versus replace mentality.

Storm and flood damage require specialized restoration techniques and equipment. As leaders in the storm and water damage industry, our team of professionals has advanced training and expertise, not to mention a tremendous amount of hands-on experience. To determine what equipment we bring onto a job, we need water classification. Classes of water describe the potential rate of evaporation based upon the number of wet surface areas and the porosity of materials affected. The rate of evaporation includes the density of materials, amount of water, the density of the structure, saturation of materials, and the number of materials. All these components affect how storm and water damage will be treated. Additionally, these directly influence the equipment and products utilized. Our quick response to storm damage helps our team quickly and efficiently help you get to preloss conditions.

How to Prepare for a Disaster in Ottumwa

8/13/2021 (Permalink)

a line of employees wearing PPE, helmets and safety vests We know how stressful storm damage can be for homeowners and business owners, so we make sure to come prepared.

Some things to think about when preparing for disasters (Home & Business) : 1.     Power - We have the ability to supply temporary power. We have generators that can be used for any size job to make sure we have the power to get the job done in a timely manner. Many times after a storm, the power is cut off, so our team of trained professionals knows to come prepared to get the job done. 2.     Content Manipulation - SERVPRO can move contents out of the way before flooding happens. Our contents team comes in and boxes up contents to be salvaged. 3.     Board up - Our team has the ability to board up homes, apartments, and businesses to prevent further damage to the home. It minimizes property loss by securing the building and taking care of restorable/reusable elements. A natural disaster can leave your facility or home vulnerable to problems such as vandalism, theft, and unwanted entry.

Proper Foundation Can Aid Against Storm Damage

7/20/2021 (Permalink)

Across the Midwest, storms have been known to cause incredible amounts of damage to homes and businesses. This natural disasters can include straight-line winds, lightning, hail, flooding, snow and tornadoes. All of these can ruin your home or business in a matter of hours. In order to prevent such natural disasters, you need to build your home or shop with the proper foundation and design. Building your home or business on the ground where it has been before can be expensive and dangerous. You may pay for a new foundation that will work out much more expensive than the price of building on the right foundation.

Building on a good solid foundation is important when living in an area prone to storms such as tornadoes. When you build your home with proper foundations, it will be able to withstand any weather conditions, including hurricanes and tornadoes. The best part about building your home with a strong, solid foundation is that it can last for decades. If you still experience storm damage, then call on our team to help you get your home or business back!

Rainy Season

5/26/2021 (Permalink)

If anywhere else is like the Midwest we’ve been getting lots of rain! Rain is useful for farmers and gardeners, but at SERVPRO we try to stay ready and prepared if that rain becomes too much and finds its way into someone’s basement. Here’s some tips to avoid a leak into the home.

  1. Check the basement walls. Vertical cracks can come with the age of the home, but horizontal cracks may mean a foundation issue or a lot of pressure from the outside elements. Of course, any crack vertical or horizontal needs addressed if it’s wide enough for water to seep through, but catching them early will be beneficial.
  2. Clean out the gutters. Fall leaves can clog up gutters and cause the water to overflow and drop next to the foundation and cause a puddle. You want the water to flow away from the house, especially if it sits on a slope.
  3. Make sure these are not bent up or damaged so there is a nice flow, and make sure there’s an extra piece on the end that releases water 3 or more feet away from the house. (And remember to put them back on after you mow!)
  4. Splash Block. These are handy in case there’s a leak in the downspout to help guide the water away from the foundation. It doesn’t hurt to check these regularly for any cracks as well.
  5. Build up the soil next to the foundation. Another way to help move water away from the home is to build up the soil near the home and slope it down and away. That way if there is a significant amount of rain or storm that the gutters and spouts cannot hold, the water that overflows will run away from the house.

The Damage of the Derecho

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

Equipment set up after the storm in a commercial building The Derecho was devastating and many homes and businesses needed water cleanup along with board-ups.

On August 10th 2020, one of the biggest storms blew through central Iowa, devastating many towns in Iowa, including Grinnell, with a population of about 9,500.

They called it a Derecho.

What some are calling a “Land Hurricane” swept through and damaged hundreds of homes and businesses The damage was anywhere from missing a few shingles to full grown trees toppling over onto buildings and vehicles. Immediately after the storm had passed, with rain still coming down, the residents of Grinnell moved into action. Neighbors helped neighbors pick up items in their yard, moved small branches off of cars and out of the road, and checked in to make sure everyone was alright.

What they could not help with was the plethora of large trees blocking roads, and the power lines they took with them. It was a dangerous time to be out and about trying to scope the damage and help pick up. Grinnell College reported about $2 million in damages between trees and structures on campus, $1 million of that being the removal and recovery of trees that had fallen.

Grinnell College also offered one of their buildings for residents to get a hot meal, charge their electronics, and take a shower if needed. Over 300 people had filtered through in the first week after the storm. After about 5 days, power was returning to sections of Grinnell, as electric companies worked day and night with surrounding states sending help.

It’s been 40 days since that storm, and tree services still close off roads to clear the debris one block at a time. It could be months before the town is back to normal, or maybe even a year plus. One thing for certain, is no matter how long it takes, the residents of Iowa will be there for their neighbors.

Protect Your Midwest Home From Storm Damage

9/17/2020 (Permalink)

A SERVPRO member and a woman in front of a house with a storm in the background It is important to make sure that you are ready for whatever disaster may hit your home or business. We are always ready to help.

Be Prepared Before the Storm

Across the Midwest, storms have been known to cause incredible amounts of damage. This natural disasters include straight-line winds, lightning, hail, flooding, snow and tornadoes. All of these can ruin your home or business in a matter of hours.

The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live. Make sure to check the weather forecast frequently and learn about wireless emergency alerts in your area.

The Difference between Watch VS. Warning     

Watch: Conditions are favorable for severe weather.  Remain alert for further warnings.

Warning: Severe weather has been spotted or indicated by radar.  Take cover immediately

                                                                        Emergency Weather Tips                                                         

Consider getting insurance for your home based on past weather in your area. Such as extra coverage for

*Hail Storms                                                    *Lightning Storms

* Tornadoes                                                       *Blizzards                                           


*Make an Emergency Kit – Include bottled water, copies of important documents, medication, non-perishable food, important phone numbers, flashlight and extra batteries.

*Maintain the roof, siding and windows of your home before a storm hits.

*Keep trees trimmed about your home and out buildings.

*Unplug electronics and major appliances before a lightning storm strikes.

Contact your local SERVPRO franchise for more readiness tips and tools.  We are just a phone call away and are available 24/7 365 days a year.

Check Your Sump Pump After A Storm

7/16/2020 (Permalink)

A SERVPRO vehicle We are ready to assist with any amount of water damage that could be affecting your property and your belongings.

When the rain pours do you check your sump pump?

A proper working sump pump can save you considerable amounts of money after a significant rainfall event. Being a proactive owner during rain storms and checking your home or businesses sump pump will help prevent damage or reduce the damage that can occur. When damage happens SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Grinnell is here to help.

If you answered no to the first question here are some things to consider checking,

  • Is there power to the sump pump? Check that it is plugged in and the breaker is not tripped.
  • Is the float free of any debris and away from the side wall where it won’t work properly?
  • Is the inlet free of any debris that could prevent it from pumping the water out?
  • Does the pump work? An easy way to test this is by filling the pit with enough water to reach the float of the sump pump to trigger the pump.
  • Check where the sump pump drains. Ensure that it drains far enough from the foundation that the water doesn't leak right back in.

We Can Weather Any Storm

7/2/2020 (Permalink)

Truck and people in from of a home We know storm damage can be unexpected and stressful. We want to help take some of that stress away and provide and thorough/professional services.

As a business, it is your job to weather any storm that comes your way no matter the type or size. Sometimes physical storms are unexpected and can be quite devastating and detrimental to a business. Here at SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Grinnell, our job is to give some peace of mind and help instigate water and fire damage cleanup and restoration. We are capable of traveling anywhere to help get the property back to preloss conditions. Our SERVPRO team of franchise professionals have access to a semi-trailer that is meant to stock up for any disaster that could strike your business. We make our services available 24 hours a day for 365 days a year for whatever could happen. We want to ensure you will be helped during overwhelming and unexpected times. We come ready for whatever disaster occurs. No matter the weather or time of day, we will be there to assist.

We Help No Matter the Weather

7/1/2020 (Permalink)

A truck filled with air movers We will make sure to help you and your home or business no matter the weather. We know how stressful these times can be

SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Grinnell remains a reliable option for homeowners and business owners during disasters. Our goal is to make any disaster disappear "Like it never even happened." We offer 24-hour emergency service because we know that storms, fires and water issues can happen any day at any time. We want to help you get back to preloss conditions no matter the situation. Whether it’s two in the afternoon or two in the morning, we will respond to your disaster quickly to get you back to a safe and functioning space. This includes hazardous mold mitigation, water damage mitigation, biohazard cleanup, and fire cleanup. We know the stress that these situations can bring, and we are here to help the process move smoothly and efficiently. We make our services available 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. We want to ensure you will be helped during overwhelming and unexpected times. We come ready for whatever happens. No matter the weather or time of day, we will be there to assist.

Building a kit for an emergency

5/20/2020 (Permalink)

an example emergency kit Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change and make sure to replace expired food.

After an emergency, it may be necessary to build a kit that can last up to 3 days. We know how stressful unexpected storms can be and we want to help you prepare for any scenario.   To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag. It should be noted that the supplies in a kit can be different based on your own personal needs, but the list recommended by is a great place to start.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • 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
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

You can use for additional kit supplies ideas as well as how to maintain your kit and where to store it. Again, we want to help you prepare to weather any storm. If storm damage ever damages your home, you can call on SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Grinnell to be there to help.


Our Largest Addition

5/6/2020 (Permalink)

The company semi trailer Our trailer is meant for large disaster such as storms that damage a lot of property.

Our biggest addition to the SERVPRO team is our semi trailer. This trailer is stocked for any large loss scenario. Stocked as a rolling distribution center with equipment, consumables, and tools to clean up any disaster. Whether it’s a storm or fire, SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Grinnell has the capability to mitigate any size disaster with the new addition. The new semi trailer can handle any large losses that affect places such as apartment complexes, hotels and other businesses. Storms and fires can be unpredictable and difficult to prepare for. We here at SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Grinnell are here to help be “Faster to any size disaster” and to help relieve some of the stress that large losses can bring. The sooner help is called then the sooner and more efficiently our team can work to get the space back to preloss conditions. The semi trailer can hold enough machines for large scale scenarios. Our team is prepared to help mitigate any disaster. We have team members specifically named our “Disaster Recovery Team '' for the large losses.

Got Storm Damage? No Problem

5/6/2020 (Permalink)

a servpro vehicle We are ready for any size disaster no matter what time or day it is.

We are currently the only certified Large Loss Response Team in the state of Iowa.  We have the equipment, employees, and connections to help in even the largest disaster.  We promise to be ready when you need us.  Our equipment is always fueled, tested, loaded. We have on call staff 24 hours a day ant day of the year. We have a semi trailer loaded with our desiccant and a dedicated generator to run it at all times. This desiccant is a 5,000 cfm piece of equipment for dehumidification.  We have air movers and large portable dehumidifiers for drying a structure.  We have large air scrubbers and different ozone machines for removing odor.  Every loss is managed by a commercial operations manager to help ensure seamless communication and timely mitigation. Our employees are trained residential and commercially for any size disaster. The semi trailer can hold enough machines for large scale scenarios. Our team is prepared to help mitigate any disaster. We have team members specifically named our “Disaster Recovery Team '' for the large losses. We have capabilities to mitigate any size disaster with access to all the necessary supplies. Call on SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Grinnell whenever storm damage strikes.

Helpful Tips To Prevent Storm Damage

9/27/2019 (Permalink)

Storms often come quickly and without much notice, being prepared is crucial to avoid any unexpected storm damages.  SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa is here to help clean up any storm related damage you experience. We are here to give these tips ahead of time to hopefully prevent damage from occurring. 

Storm Preparedness Tips

  • Protect Pipes from Freezing
  • Caulk and weather strip windowsills to keep water and cold air out
  • Get your heating source serviced and cleaned before the cold weather hits.
  • Have a plan with your family as to what to do if a storm warning is issued.
  • Bring your furry friends inside if possible.
  • Have flashlights and extra batteries on hand.
  • Keep dry clothes available for all family members.
  • Check on friends and family and neighbors.
  • Bring in any outdoor furniture that could possibly fly around.

Once the storm has past checking structural elements, doing a walk through around the interior and exterior of your home or business, and checking utility services should be done as soon as safe to do so. If you notice any damages call a professional to assess the possible damage and make necessary repairs to prevent further damage from occurring.

Winter Storms - Prepare to Prevent Storm Damage

9/27/2019 (Permalink)

Winter is just around the corner. Now is the time to start preparing your home or business for cold temperatures. SERVPRO of Ottumwa/ Oskaloosa recommends doing these steps to help prevent winter water damage.

  • If you live in a modular home or a home with a crawl space, make sure your water pipes have a working heat trace system and your crawl space is properly insulated.
  • Turn off water to all outside spigots and open outside faucets to drain water from water pipes.  Make sure all hoses are disconnected from the outside spiots.
  • Make sure your gutters are clean of all debris and leaves. This will help prevent ice jams from forming during warmer winter weather when the snow and ice are melting.
  • If you have a basement, take a walk around the outside of your home, if the dirt is separated from your foundation in any area, take the necessary precautions to fill the gaps and encourage drainage away from the foundation. This will help water from seeping into your basement from the walls.
  • Cover any window wells on the outside of your home to help prevent snow and ice from building up inside of them.

If winter water damage does occur in your home or business, please call SERVPRO immediately. The longer you wait to have the water remediation completed, the more damage you may have.

Lightening Damage Clean Up - SERVPRO here to help

6/19/2019 (Permalink)

This home was struck by lightening. We provided board up services to secure the structure as well as content cleaning from the small fire that started

SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa is here to help if you experience damage to your home or business from lightening. Lightening is very powerful and can cause odor, damaged structure, or even a fire. We are here to help you clean it up.  

In honor of lightening awareness week, June 23-29, 2019, the National Weather Service has provided these common lightening myths and facts:

Lightning Myths and Facts

Myth: If you're caught outside during a thunderstorm, you should crouch down to reduce your risk of being struck.
Fact: Crouching doesn't make you any safer outdoors. Run to a substantial building or hard topped vehicle. If you are too far to run to one of these options, you have no good alternative. You are NOT safe anywhere outdoors. 

Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it's a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building is hit an average of 23 times a year

Myth: If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning.
Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the blue” can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm.

Myth: Rubber tires on a car protect you from lightning by insulating you from the ground.
Fact: Most cars are safe from lightning, but it is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, NOT the rubber tires. Remember, convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open-shelled outdoor recreational vehicles and cars with fiberglass shells offer no protection from lightning. When lightning strikes a vehicle, it goes through the metal frame into the ground. Don't lean on doors during a thunderstorm.

Myth: A lightning victim is electrified. If you touch them, you’ll be electrocuted.
Fact: The human body does not store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid. This is the most chilling of lightning Myths. Imagine if someone died because people were afraid to give CPR!

Myth: If outside in a thunderstorm, you should seek shelter under a tree to stay dry.
Fact: Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties. Better to get wet than fried!

Myth: If you are in a house, you are 100% safe from lightning.
Fact: A house is a safe place to be during a thunderstorm as long as you avoid anything that conducts electricity. This means staying off corded phones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, computers, plumbing, metal doors and windows. Windows are hazardous for two reasons: wind generated during a thunderstorm can blow objects into the window, breaking it and causing glass to shatter and second, in older homes, in rare instances, lightning can come in cracks in the sides of windows.

Myth: If thunderstorms threaten while you are outside playing a game, it is okay to finish it before seeking shelter.
Fact: Many lightning casualties occur because people do not seek shelter soon enough. No game is worth death or life-long injuries. Seek proper shelter immediately if you hear thunder. Adults are responsible for the safety of children.

Myth: Structures with metal, or metal on the body (jewelry, cell phones, Mp3 players, watches, etc), attract lightning.
Fact: Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors controlling where a lightning bolt will strike. The presence of metal makes absolutely no difference on where lightning strikes. Mountains are made of stone but get struck by lightning many times a year. When lightning threatens, take proper protective action immediately by seeking a safe shelter don’t waste time removing metal. While metal does not attract lightning, it does conduct it so stay away from metal fences, railing, bleachers, etc.

Myth: If trapped outside and lightning is about to strike, I should lie flat on the ground.
Fact: Lying flat increases your chance of being affected by potentially deadly ground current. If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, you keep moving toward a safe shelter.

Visit: to learn more about how to stay safe during various weather events.

Check The Operation of Your Sump Pump During Storm Events

6/14/2019 (Permalink)

When the rain pours do you check your sump pump?

A proper working sump pump can save you considerable amounts of money after a significant rainfall event.  Being a proactive owner during rain storms and checking your home or businesses sump pump will help prevent damage or reduce the damage that can occur. When damage happens SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa is here to help.

If you answered no to the first question here are some things to consider checking,

  • Is there power to the sump pump? Check that it is plugged in and the breaker is not tripped.
  • Is the float free of any debris and away from the side wall where it won’t work properly?
  • Is the inlet free of any debris that could prevent it from pumping the water out?
  • Does the pump work? An easy way to test this is by filling the pit with enough water to reach the float of the sump pump to trigger the pump.
  • Check where the sump pump drains. Ensure that it drains far enough from the foundation that the water doesn't leak right back in.

How To Prevent Storm Damage

5/16/2019 (Permalink)

Tips from SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa on how to prevent storm damage

Clean your gutters. - An inspection of your gutter system frequently can help insure that they are not clogged or damaged. If they are clogged this can lead to roof and foundation leaks. When filled with debris it prevents the water from draining away from your house. 

Check your foundation. - Look for cracks or gaps in the foundation that could allow water to infiltrate the structure. Water follows the easiest path.  

Pack up all outdoor items. - Outdoor furniture is made from light weight materials and strong wind can turn the items into projectiles and can damage the home or vehicles causing significant damage.

Know how to shut off your utilities. It is good to locate all utility shut offs; electrical, gas, water before a storm hits.  If something happens you may have to turn these off to prevent further damage.

Check trees for dead material- Trees can get knocked down or limbs blown down that are damaged or dead. Call a licensed arborist for help with this inspection.

SERVPRO Is Ready No Matter What the Storm

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa is ready for what ever the storm may be. Our staff, equipment, and trucks are loaded and ready. When most people think of the word storm, they think about thunder, lightning, high winds and heavy rain. As SERVPRO does monitor and prepare for these situations like any other, they are contained to a few months out of the year. When monitoring and preparing for a “storm” SERVPRO has to take into consideration any occurrence that is going to affect multiple homes or businesses in an area. We are always doing inventory counts and checking our resources. You never know when the next storm might come.  For example: when the temperatures drop below freezing in the winter for a period of time, homes & businesses have the risk of their water pipes freezing and busting leaving a mess. Another great example of a “storm” situation that SERVPRO prepares for is Tornado season. In any situation, SERVPRO’s goal is to be prepared and ready to respond within minutes.

Water Removal From Basement After A Storm

6/26/2018 (Permalink)

Cleaning Up Rain Water from A Storm In A Basement With One Type of Extraction Equipment

Heavy rain fall can infiltrate a home or business very quickly. Most of the time it is a problem in the lower level or basement of a home or in a crawl space. Water can seep in under garage doors, around improperly sealed windows or through cracks in the cement foundation or walls. Water will always travel the least path of resistance.  Heavy fast rainfall can cause issues very quickly and keep sump pumps from keeping up in a storm.

If you find water where you don't want it and you don't know how to remove it we are here to help. SERVPRO has several different forms of extraction equipment and are here to help. It is very important to remove the water as soon as possible to prevent further wicking into the structure materials of the building. It can be difficult to remove with out the right equipment. This is where we come in. We will extract the standing water and then set drying equipment to remove moisture from the structure. Always remember to call right away when you see a problem for help.  Water is something you want to clean up right away so further problems don't occur.

Storm Teams

5/4/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO has storm response teams.  When a large natural disaster occurs and you think how can there even begin to be enough resources to clean it up, that is where SERVPRO comes in.  We have strategically placed storm teams around the country and franchises partnered with those storm response teams to be able to mobilize and get boots on the ground and equipment to assist those affected by the natural disaster quickly.  SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa is a responding franchise. As Iowa's Large Loss Response team we have the staff and equipment to respond to any size disaster and we work with these storm teams. This allows us if a disaster happens in Iowa we are ready to call in the resources to assist very quickly if it is a very large disaster and beyond something just our franchise can handle. Such as multiple buildings affected in a large area.  You can know as a home owner or business owner that we are ready to help you get your property taken care of.  Give us a call and let us worry about getting the resources to you. We are an independently owned franchise with the strong backing of over 1700 additional franchises across the county, storm team franchises, and a fantastic corporate office all to assist bringing in the resources to help our friends and neighbors.  You can depend on us here at SERVPRO.

SERVPRO provides Storm Damage Clean Up

5/3/2018 (Permalink)

The thing about a disaster is they are unexpected. Storm damage is even a larger disaster then a fire or water damage at a home or business because it is not just contained to one building. Storm damage is usually affecting multiple buildings, multiple residences, and/or multiple businesses.  SERVPRO is ready to help. Our 24 hour, 7 day a week on call staff are trained and ready with equipment fully ready and waiting at our facilities to roll out the minute we get the call to help. We can secure a building after wind damage, remove debris from trees, we are able to extract water that has infiltrated areas that it is not supposed to be, or clean up a back up that has occurred from storm water.  We provide services to both residential and commercial businesses and we have the resources to handle multiple calls all at once.  We are here to help ease some of the stress that occurs when a disaster happens. Know that when you make the call to SERVPRO we are making it "Like it never even happened."

Emergency Preparedness Tips for before a Storm

5/3/2018 (Permalink)

Tornadoes and storms cause over 25 Million dollars in damage a year.  It is a necessity to be prepared.  Tips for being prepared for a storm, as you never know when one might hit, are below.

-Keep the gas level in your car above 1/4 of a tank.

-Record the dosages and names of medications you take and keep in a grab and go place, such as in your purse.

-Keep your purse or wallet in an easy to get to place and if you have to go to the basement in a storm take it with you.

-Test the batteries in your flash lights monthly like you do your batteries in your smoke detectors.

-Keep all emergency information in a safe place and make multiple copies.

-Have your insurance companies contact information saved in your cell phone including policy number and agents name.

-Keep electronics/phones charged at least above 20% so incase the power goes out you have a little reserve left.

These are a few items in the restoration industry we here of that people comment on that might have been helpful in a storm damage and they are the little things.

Board Up After Storm Damage

5/3/2018 (Permalink)

Board Up After Lightening Hit A House

When storm damage occurs we are here to help you maintain the safety of your home or business.  We provide board up services.  If your home or business is affected by wind damage, broken windows, tree damage, lightening damage, etc give SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa a call.  We have the materials on hand to secure the building and prevent further damage to the structure or the contents until repairs can be made.  We have staff on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We work with insurance companies and take photos before and after the board up process for documentation.  It is vital to maintain the structure of a building so further damage does not occur after storm damage.  We work hard every day to help our clients recover after a disaster and make it "Like it never even happened."

Disaster Preparedness for a Storm

6/22/2017 (Permalink)

With the fluctuations in weather, Iowa has been known to experience its fair share of severe weather and storms. Two elements that cause a thunderstorm are moisture and rapidly rising warm air, which is why severe thunderstorms occur most often in hot summer months. Thunderstorms produce lightening which can severely hurt people and damage property. Heavy rain can cause flash flooding and high winds can damage your home and blow down trees and utility poles. If you happen to get caught unprepared, storms can threaten both your property and your personal safety. Make a list of items to bring inside during a storm and ensure pets are safe and any outside housing is secured. Be sure to discuss a safety plan with your family including a safe place in your home away from windows and glass to gather during a storm. Have an emergency kit including water, non-perishable food, towels, garbage bags, and first aid kit supplies and remain indoors until after the storm has passed. After a storm you can contact your local SERVPRO 24hours a day to assist with any immediate board ups needed to protect your home.

Extreme Heat - How it can Affect You

6/22/2017 (Permalink)

We all know Iowa summers bring extreme heat! Extreme heat is caused by higher than normal temperature and humidity. Children, ages infant to four are at higher risk for heat related illnesses and need extra fluids compared to adults. Symptoms of heat related illness include faintness, exhaustion, nausea, muscle spasms, and fever. In the United States more than 600 people die every year due to extreme heat. During these heat waves it’s better to stay inside and stay cool if possible. Air conditioning is the highest protective measure against extreme heat illnesses. HYDRATION is also extremely important! Drink plenty of water and if you’re in prolonged heat it’s good to utilize sports drinks to replenish your body with electrolytes. If you must be outdoors you should also avoid strenuous activities, wear lightweight light colored clothing, and take breaks in the shade or a cool environment.

Weather Radio - Everyone Should Have

5/4/2017 (Permalink)

Everyone should have a weather radio. A weather radio keeps you informed of inclement weather. Early warning is your best plan to prevent damage or death from a storm.  Storms can change direction, grow in intensity, and change people's lives in a second if they are not informed promptly.  The nice thing about weather radios are that when an update comes out from the National Weather Service they immediately alert you.  You only get the information that you request based off the programming of your weather radio.  When purchasing a weather radio make sure you get one that runs off batteries and a/c power.  Make sure you check the batteries once a month and make sure that you change them once a year.  In the event of a power loss you want to be informed.  Yes they are loud and will wake you up when you are sleeping but if there is a bad storm heading your direction keep your family safe by waking up to your weather radio.

Have a Safe Place

5/3/2017 (Permalink)

When a storm is approaching always have that safe place.  Always forward think.  Take the time even when you are driving down the road where is my safe place if inclement weather would approach.  Have that safe place at home.  Make sure everyone in your house knows where that place is.  It will make the situation go smoother in the event something were to happen. Control the situation as much as you can.  Does your family know where to go in the event of a disaster? Make a plan now it will help if something were to happen.  If you are using a neighbors house, a place down the street or another family member across town just have a plan and make sure everyone knows what the plan is.  Have a plan for a storm, have a plan for a fire, have a plan for a medical emergency. 

Be Ready for A Storm

4/6/2017 (Permalink)

You know storms are going to happen.  Rather it be snow, rain, wind, etc. They are going to happen.  To be prepared is a must.  The following list is what is recommended at a minimum to be ready in the event of a storm.

  • Flash Light
  • Extra Batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Cellphone
  • Canned Food
  • Manual Can Opener
  • Bottled Water
  • Blanket
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Battery Powered Weather Radio

Being prepared will help keep panic at a minimum. These items kept in a safe place where you go in the event of a storm for easy access is also necessary.  Keep where you go in the basement or in possibly a bathroom closet if your home or business does not have a basement.  Pick food items and bottled water that have long shelf lives.  Make sure to test your batteries every month or so in your devices.

SERVPRO has its own Meterologist

4/6/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO's corporate office maintains and has on staff our very own SERVPRO Meteorologist.  She helps our franchises with Storm forecasts and alerts so that we are ready and informed.  Storm alerts are vital she says because she has witnessed and experienced storm chasing.  She went out and chased storms and felt the power of super cells building in the Midwest.  She knows the power of weather and why it is so important to be informed and ready in our industry.  Her being a part of our team is a vital key as she helps us know where and when we need to activate our teams to different areas to help out those affected by the storm.  Being knowledgeable about the weather which is such a key factor in our industry empowers us to be ready for you.