Recent Fire Damage Posts

Key elements of a fire?

1/7/2022 (Permalink)

Fire triangle Heat, Fuel, Oxygen

Heat, oxygen and fuel, Without heat, oxygen and fuel a fire will not start or spread. A key strategy to prevent fire is to remove one or more of heat, oxygen or fuel. The risk assessment should include detail on all three elements to minimize the risk of a fire starting/ spreading.

The goals of fire-prevention programs include Fire Prevention, Fire Detection, Fire Notification, Fire Suppression, and Fire Control. Fires often can cause disruption of business activities, loss of or damage to business documents, loss of employee work hours, and liability claims resulting from the spread of fire to adjacent properties

Fires affect thousands of companies each year resulting in injury, loss of life and building damage. By being proactive and establishing a fire prevention plan you can help avoid injuries to your employees and visitors, costly damages, and potential fines and /or litigation to your business.

Why is a Emergency Ready Plan from SERVPRO of Dubuque important?

The ready plan keeps all of your emergency contacts, all your utilities shut off locations at your fingertips. Both in hard copy and digital form. Add to that Priority Service Agreement with SERVPRO of Dubuque and if you do have a fire our quick response can have you back in business. "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Dubuque


A quick call to SERVPRO

1/6/2022 (Permalink)

Kitchen fire Kitchen fire in Platteville, WI.

You have just experienced a fire, the firetrucks, and emergency responders have all left and you’re stuck with the mess. A quick call to SERVPRO of Dubuque and we can help you secure your home and assess the damage putting together a plan of action to get your home back into shape it was before the fire. Besides the damage caused by the fire, everything is soaked from putting the fire out. On top of the fire and water damage, smoke and soot can be toxic and can create a hazardous situation. Even if the fire was a small and contained to a small area the smoke and soot can travel through the whole home.  SERVPRO of Dubuque professionals are highly-trained, have the knowledge, the tools and experience to clean up fire and smoke damage. Using the necessary personal protective equipment to safely clean and remove odors. At SERVPRO of Dubuque our goal is to restore your home and possessions to “Like it never even happened.”

Faster to any Size Disaster

SERVPRO of Dubuque


You’ve had a fire. What do you do next?

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

Kitchen fire This photo shows a kitchen that caught on fire.

So, the worst has happened and you’ve had a fire. You need to find someone that can secure the damaged area from the elements, remove damaged property and extract the water used to extinguish the flames. This is just the beginning of your journey to have your home and contents restored

“Like it never happened.”

After the fire is out SERVPRO of Dubuque can quickly respond to secure your property. Then using commercial grade water extraction equipment, Desiccant dehumidifiers and air movers begin to extract the water left behind. This is very important because without the extraction of moisture, mold can start to grow, causing even more damage and costly remediation. SERVPRO of Dubuque can also remove damaged property documenting with photos what is being taken to be cleaned and restored as well as any items that need to be disposed of.  Laundering clothes and draperies, shampooing upholstered furniture and even wiping down the kids’ toys we will restore your property. This includes being able to freeze your important documents and shipping them to one of our affiliates so that they too can be properly dried and preserved.

Once the water has been extracted and the contents of your home have been removed, we can then begin to remove the damaged areas of your home to prepare for cleaning. Having the capabilities to Garnet or soda blast to clean an area stained by smoke or soot and then seal areas affected to prevent any lingering odors may help save on reconstruction costs.

Our highly trained technicians will keep you informed during the entire process of making it "Like it never happened."

This is just a brief description of the services that SERVPRO of Dubuque can provide in the case you have a fire.

Faster to any size disaster

SERVPRO of Dubuque


Fire, Fire, Fire

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

Fire pit Enjoying a nice warm bon fire.

With fall coming to a close and winter on the way SERVPRO of Dubuque would like to remind everyone that even though it’s outside the traditional “fire season” don’t take fire safety lightly. Because we know you hardy Midwesterners will still be using your fire pits well into winter.

Check the wind conditions! Before you start up a blaze in your fire pit, check the local weather forecast. Don't use your fire pit on unusually windy days, as the wind can make it hard to light the kindling and could blow sparks to surrounding brush or structures, potentially starting a fire. Also, always check the direction of the wind before you start your fire.

Make sure your fire pit is in the open! Never light your fire pit when it's underneath the overhang of a building or beneath trees, and keep the immediate area around the pit clear of yard waste and other flammable materials. Wayward sparks can blow out of the fire and ignite nearby structures, dry wood, leaves, or other debris, and you could end up with a fire emergency.

Never burn construction lumber! Always use aged hardwood, it will give off less smoke and ash.

Be ready to extinguish your fire! Your fire will attract people to its warmth and light giving your outdoor gatherings a little joy and romance. But it can also be an unpredictable, destructive force. If you've set your fire pit in a safe location you probably won't encounter any serious problems. But you should always keep a shovel and water at hand, just in case. In an emergency, you can use the water to quench the fire and the shovel to smother the flames by throwing dirt on them. You may also want to invest in a fire blanket, which can be used to smother a blaze in or outside the fire pit.

Never leave a fire unattended! Even after a fire has died down and only glowing embers remain, do not leave it unattended. Tiny flames and glowing embers may seem innocuous, they're still a potential threat to your safety. Pour water over live embers, and turn logs to make sure all sides of the wood have stopped burning before you call it a night. 

Drink responsibly!  Fire and alcohol don't mix. Not only is alcohol flammable, but overindulgence in alcohol impairs coordination, judgment, and reflexes. Keep your guests a safe distance from the flames, and be ready to douse the fire in case of any alcohol-induced mishaps

Obey no-burn alerts when issued for your area! When drought, weather conditions or when air pollution causes an increase fine particulate pollution to an unhealthy level. No-burn alerts may be issued to protect local air quality. Noncompliance with a no-burn order not only puts your community's health at risk, but could also result in fines. Before you light your fire pit, check to see if there's a no-burn advisory in effect.

Faster to any size Disaster

SERVPRO of Dubuque


Fires, what causes them and what you can do to protect yourself and loved ones

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

Kitchen fire This shows a fire in a kitchen in Dubuque, Iowa.

The following data is from the National fire Protection Association

Cooking was the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in 2015-2019 and the second leading cause of home fire deaths. Cooking caused 49 percent of reported home fires, 20 percent of reported home fire deaths, and 42 percent of home fire injuries

Heating Equipment is the second leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, and the third leading cause of home fire deaths. Local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 48,530 fires involving heating equipment per year in 2014-2018, accounting for 14% of all reported home fires during this time. These fires resulted in annual losses of 500 civilian deaths, 1,350 civilian injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage. 

Electrical Fires, To help reduce your risk, NFPA and ESFI recommend that you have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including electrical inspections, when buying or remodeling a home. In the video below,

Candles, from 2015-2019 U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 7,400 home structure fires that were started by candles per year. These fires caused an annual average of 90 deaths, 670 injuries and $291 million in direct property damage.

 Smoking materials, including cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, started an estimated 17,200 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2014. These fires caused 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in direct property damage. Smoking materials caused 5% of reported home fires, 21% of home fire deaths, 10% of home fire injuries, and 6% of the direct property damage.

Some fire safety tips

Unplug items when not in use

Things like computers, TVs, game systems and a whole lot more use electricity even when they’re not on. That means they can always experience a surge or they can just overheat and cause a fire.

Use Surge Protectors

 A surge in power is when you are most likely to experience an electrical fire and by plugging items into a surge protector you don’t have to worry about that excess electricity getting to the item and causing a fire.

Never Leave Flames Unattended

If you’re cooking or lighting candles, you want to make sure that you’re watching it at all times. If you start cooking anything, you never want to walk away from the stove. Keep  dish cloths and anything combustible away from the stove. If you start a fire in your fireplace you want to make sure you keep an eye on that as well. Keeping a fire extinguisher in the kitchen or near the fireplace is a very good idea. Make sure all of the adults in the home know how to properly use the extinguisher.

Don’t Smoke in the Home

If you do smoke, it’s important to always do so in a well-ventilated area and to completely put out the cigarette before you throw it away. My father when he smoked in the house would always run water over the butt before throwing it away. Cigarettes have a variety of additives and materials inside of them that can continue to burn even if you think that you’ve put them out.

Remove Lint and Change Filters

Your heating system needs a filter in order to run, but how often do you change out that filter? You need to be doing it frequently because if lint fills up that filter the heat from the furnace can actually ignite it.

This is true for your dryer as well. You want to make sure that you remove the lint from your dryer filter every time that you do the laundry. Even a small amount of lint could cause a huge fire.

 Space Heaters

Turn off space heaters when you leave the room including electric fireplaces. Make sure you only use heaters that automatically turn off  if they tip over.

Reduce the Clutter

Cluttered home can enable a fire to spread more quickly.

Store Oils and Gases Away from Flames And Sparks

This would include keeping cooking oils away from the stove and store gas and flammables in approved containers and away from open flames such as pilot lights.

Have your Furnace Tuned up annually

An HVAC professional can make sure that your furnace is going to keep working the right way and that it’s not going to put you in any danger of fire.

Remember should the worst happen and you do have a fire

SERVPRO of Dubuque

Faster to any size Disaster



12/10/2021 (Permalink)

fire place Fire place in a home.

There’s a chill in the air, the winter coats and hats are out of the closet and you’re ready to warm the house with your fireplace or wood stove. So, let’s go over a few things to make sure that fire stays where it belongs.

  • If possible, keep a window cracked open while the fire is burning.
  • Be certain the damper or flue is open before starting a fire. Keeping the damper or flue open until the fire is out will draw smoke out of the house.  Do not close the damper until the embers have completely stopped burning.
  • Don’t use your fireplace to heat the house. Don’t keep the fire going for over 5 hours!
  • Use dry and well-aged wood. Wet or green wood contributes to soot buildup in the chimney which may lead to a chimney fire. Dried wood burns with less smoke and burns more evenly,
  • Smaller pieces of wood placed on a grate burn faster and produce less smoke.
  • Clean out ashes from previous fires. Levels of ash at the base of the fireplace should be kept to 1 inch or less because a thicker layer restricts the air supply to logs, resulting in more smoke.
  • The chimney should be checked annually by a professional.
  • Use a chimney cap to prevent water damage, to keep animals from nesting and to keep debris from blocking the chimney and causing carbon monoxide to flow into the house. Use a spark arrestor to help prevent sparks from flying out, which could start a fire on the roof or lawn.
  • Minimize your child's chance of burns from the hot glass front of some fireplaces. Safety screens can be installed to reduce the risk of burns.
  • Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything that is potentially flammable (ie: furniture, drapes, newspapers, books, etc.). If these items get too close to the fireplace, they could catch fire.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Make sure it is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house. If you leave the room while the fire is burning or the fireplace is still hot, take your small child with you.
  • Put fireplace tools and accessories out of a young child's reach. Also, remove any lighters and matches.
  • Install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
  • Never leave a fire unattended when children are in the house. Even if adults are near, do not allow children to play near or with fire tools.
  • Talk with children as early as possible the dangers of fires and the heat coming from them.

Practicing fire safety diligently will keep you and your family safe and warm. Should the unexpected happen and your house has fire or smoke damage know that SERVPRO of Dubuque has the trained technicians and the equipment to

"Like it never even happened."

Fire fun

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

wildfire smoke Smoke & Fire

Allow me to introduce myself, I am The Fabulous Fernando Flame and along with my wife Sensuous Sally Smoke we can cause an amazing amount of grief into your life. Unless of course you call SERVPRO of Dubuque.

One thing you need to know is even after I’ve been put out by the local Fire Department or someone handy with an extinguisher you still have to deal with my aftermath. Ash and charcoal will need to be removed. Lucky for you SEERVPRO of Dubuque has the Garnet blaster to clean up the mess I’ve left behind. On top of that they have the Desiccant Dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the excess water used to put me out. As for my wife Sally Smoke I’m pretty sure SERVPRO of Dubuque has the air scrubbers that will remove my sensuous wife Sally Smoke from the air and make it "Like it never even happened."  Soon I will be posting some tips on how to prevent fires and always remember if you see my wife Sally you should start looking because whenever you see smoke I’m not far behind

How many chargers do you have?

12/22/2020 (Permalink)

Phone charger This shows that the charger started on fire.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fires, Smoke, Soot

12/22/2020 (Permalink)

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

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

Smoke, soot, and odor:

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

Different Types of Smoke

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

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

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

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

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

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

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

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

Smoke Odor Removal

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

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

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

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

Different Classes of Fires

12/14/2020 (Permalink)

A-F Fire Classes A-F tells you what fire class products start and how to put them out.

There are different classes of fires. The classes tell you a little bit of information on things that can cause and start a fire.

  • Class A - fires involving solid materials such as wood, paper, or textiles

Most solid materials take up energy from any outer ignition source either by conduction, convection, or radiation (mostly by their combination), or are heated up as a result of the heat-producing processes taking place internally that start decomposition on their surfaces.

  • Class B - fires involving flammable liquids such as petrol, diesel, or oils

In the case of flammable liquid fire, a water extinguisher will spread the liquid around which can potentially do more harm than good and exacerbate the fire. Water extinguishers are recommended for environments that store large amounts of combustible materials such as warehouses, paper mills, and storage facilities.

  • Class C - fires involving gases

Fires start when a flammable or combustible material, in combination with a sufficient quantity of an oxidizer such as oxygen gas or another oxygen-rich compound (though non-oxygen oxidizers exist), is exposed to a source of heat or ambient temperature above the flashpoint for the fuel/oxidizer mix and is able to.

  • Class D - fires involving metals

During a fire event, the mechanical properties of steel deteriorate under elevated temperature. A reduction in yield strength, stiffness, and modulus of elasticity can occur. Even if the structural steel members are deformed, the steel will regain its pre-fire properties once the fire is extinguished.

  • Class E - fires involving live electrical apparatus. (technically ‘class E’ doesn’t exist however this is used for convenience here)

Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and old, outdated appliances. Other fires are started by faults in appliance cords, receptacles, and switches.

  • Class F - fires involving grease

A grease fire happens when your cooking oil becomes too hot. When heating, oils first start to boil, then they'll start smoking, and then they'll catch on fire. Most vegetable oils have a smoking point around 450°F, while animal fats like lard or goose fat will start smoking around 375°F.

If you have a fire and are in need of emergency services please give SERVPRO of Dubuque a call and we will be happy to make “Like it never even happened”.

Make an Escape Plan

12/7/2020 (Permalink)

fire plan Reminding everyone to practice a fire escape twice a year.

The last Blog was on fire prevention, now let’s concentrate on what to do if the worst happens. But first a few statistics.

The good news: Over the past several decades, deaths from home fires in the U.S. have steadily gone down – from 5,200 in 1980 to 2,820 in 2018. While fire doesn't discriminate by age, it is the third leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14. In 2017, 127 children in this age group died from fire and smoke inhalation.

Make an Escape Plan

A home fire is reported every 88 seconds. Once the smoke alarm sounds, a fire can spread quickly, leaving only a minute or two to escape. That's why it's so important to have a home escape plan.

Start by drawing a map for your home and following these guidelines from the NFPA:

  • Plan two ways to escape from each room
  • Make sure all doors and windowsleading outside open easily
  • Identify secondary routes – a window onto an adjacent roof or a collapsible ladder from upper-story windows
  • If you live in a multi-story building, plan to use the stairs – never the elevator
  • Designate an outside meeting place a safe distance from the house where everyone should meet

Now it’s time to Practice Your Home Fire Escape Plan

 Everyone – even children – need to know your family escape plan in case of a fire. The National Fire Protection Association indicates that 71% of Americans have a home fire escape plan but only 47% have practiced it. Practice your fire drill with everyone in the house at night and during the day, twice a year.

Remember to:

  • Practice getting out with your eyes closed, crawling low to the floor, and keeping your mouth covered
  • Practice closing doors behind you
  • Practice how to “stop, drop and roll” if your clothes catch on fire
  • Practice testing door handles to see if they are hot before opening them
  • Teach children never to hide during a fire, and how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them

Ensuring your family's safety

12/7/2020 (Permalink)

Fire alarm Having working fire alarms helps ensure you and your family's safety.

The leaves have fallen, there’s a crisp chill in the air and that right jolly old elf will soon be making his yearly ride so that means we should talk about fire safety.
Cooking and heating are the leading causes of home fires and fire injuries, and winter months are the peak time. Now is the perfect time to review and practice fire safety.
When cooking, make fire safety a priority by keeping these tips in mind:
• Be alert; if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the oven or stovetop
• Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food
• When simmering, baking or roasting, check the food regularly, remain in the kitchen while cooking and use a timer
• Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop
Heating is the second leading cause of home fires. Follow these tips from the American Red Cross:
• Keep all flammables, like paper, clothing, bedding, drapes or rugs, at least 3 feet from a space heater, stove or fireplace
• Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended; turn off heaters and make sure fireplace embers are extinguished before leaving the room
• If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, non-flammable surface, like ceramic tile, not on a rug or carpet
• Keep children and pets away from space heaters
• When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over
In addition to cooking, other top causes of fire include smoking, electrical problems, and candles. To minimize risks:
• Institute a “no smoking” policy in the house
• Check all cords and replace any that are frayed or have bare wires
• Switch to flameless candles
• Keep matches and lighters high and out of children’s reach in a locked cabinet

Working Smoke Alarms Are a Must
Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan providing early warning reducing your risk of dying in a fire.
• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas on the ceiling or high on the wall
• Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen, at least 10 feet from the stove, to reduce false alarms
• Use special alarms with strobe lights and bed shakers for people who are hard of hearing or deaf
• Test smoke alarms monthly
• Replace batteries annually and change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector at the same time
• Replace smoke alarms that are 10 or more years old

Family Emergency Plan - Fire Escape Plan

12/1/2020 (Permalink)

Fire started in the Kitchen You will see a fire that started in the kitchen, which spread quickly to the whole upstairs. Everything was a loss.

What do you have planned for your family if you were to have a fire in your home?

Every family should have an escape plan for their family incase of a fire. Do you?

A Family Fire Escape Plan is crucial to have in place and for every member of the family to be familiar with, before a residential fire occurs. When a fire starts you do not have much time to get out of the house. The most important thing is, is to have an escape plan. If you have to draw it out so everyone knows what they need to do about a residential fire. The best way to familiarize the family members with a plan is to practice it at least twice a year. Less than 50% of family members practice an escape if a fire was to happen in their home.

The following steps can assist in a

  • Make sure all smoke detectors work.
  • Have a plan, a meeting spot for your family
  • Know how you will get out if there is a fire in your house.
  • Teach children how to escape, to avoid touching hot surfaces or warm to touch.
  • Always have clear passageways to all escape routes.
  • Always practice with your kids on how they will get out.

We here at SERVPRO of Dubuque hope that you and your family do not have to go through a tragedy of a fire to your home. If you were to have a fire loss, we hope that your escape plan that you have planned for your family will you keep you all safe. If you do experience the tragedy please call on the highly-trained fire and water damage specialists here at SERVPRO of Dubuque, to help you make it look "Like it never even happened."

Planning a Trip? Here are some simple but helpful TIPS to keep your home safe while away

12/13/2019 (Permalink)

Outlet Fire Outlet electrical fire

The trip has been booked, you have researched the top attractions, recharged your phones, laptop and IPad, packed your suitcases. You’re ready to hit the road.

But wait have you checked your home?  Before you depart you should make sure to have your home to-do list completed…

  1. Turn off your main water supply

Pipes break and even leak even though we are on vacation. Returning home to a flooded house is not anything you want. Weather the trip is a couple days or a couple weeks it is always a good idea to turn the water off.   

  1. Unplug all electronics

This tip has a couple benefits. By unplugging our devises we can prevent an electrical fire from starting and save money on our electric bill, who doesn’t like to save money.

Unplug the major appliances that you don’t need to run while you bask in the sun.

  1. Invest in a timer

Having lights turn on at different times and in different rooms can prevent a burglar from robbing you.

  1. Adjust your thermostat

If you live in a place where AC is a must during the summer months, adjust the thermostat a bit to save on your electricity bill. A good rule of thumb is to keep it a few degrees higher than normal. (So if you usually keep it at 70, change it to 75.) By not turning off the AC completely, you’ll keep enough air circulating to control humidity and mold.

If you live where it gets bitterly cold in the winter months you will want to leave the furnace on and lower it to 50-55 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing while away.

  1. Pour baking soda down your drains and toilet

Coming home to a nasty smell can be prevented by combining some vinegar and baking soda add a cup to your drains for a fresh smell.

  1. Check up on your insurance

Checking your car, home or renters insurance should be a must. Knowing what our policies cover could save you time and money in the event that something does happen while away.

Also the belongings that you take with you on vacation are covered by your homeowners or renters insurance…who knew.

Bring back the warm weather with you please and thank you, SERVPRO of Dubuque, until next time…

Simple reminders are the best

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

Christmas Tree Christmas Tree Fire

Simple reminders are the best

Holiday Safety Tips from your local SERVPRO of Dubuque

Lights, trees, candles and decorations are just a few of the fun and festive items that come to mind during the holiday season – however, if not used properly your holidays may go from merry to miserable. 

Although Christmas tree fires are not that common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious fires. The American Red Cross offers the following safety tips to greatly reduce the risk of a fire in your home or business.

‘Tis the season to make sure you are following proper safety tips.

  • Place Christmas trees, candles and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
  • Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always unplug the tree and holiday lights before leaving the property or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from the Christmas tree.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire – pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains – away from your stove top.
  • Designate one person to walk around your property to ensure all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.

What happens if a disaster strikes your home or business during the holidays? Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle; give SERVPRO of Dubuque a call at 563-584-2242. We are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, because we know that disasters cannot wait.

SERVPRO of Dubuque hopes your holidays are safe, merry, and bright! 

Family Emergency Plan - Fire Escape Plan

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Kitchen Fire Here is a photo from a residential fire that started in the kitchen. It quickly spread to the stairway leading to the bedrooms

Do you have a Family Emergency Plan for your home?

One of the most important parts of your family's emergency plan should include a Fire Escape Plan.

A Family Fire Escape Plan is crucial to have in place and for every member of the family to be familiar with, before a residential fire occurs.  According to experts, people have as little as 2 minutes to escape a burning building before it becomes impossible to get out.  Every second counts!  In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared and have an escape plan in place.

In a survey conducted by the American Red Cross, only 26% of families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.  Once a plan is developed, it is critical the everyone in the home understands the plan.  The best way to familiarize the family members with the plan is to practice it at least twice per year.

The following steps can assist in developing and implementing a plan:

  • Ensure that all smoke detectors work and have fresh batteries.
  • Draw a map of each level of the home, showing all doors and windows
  • Consider escape ladders for second floor bedrooms
  • Choose an outside meeting place for after you have all escaped
  • Teach children how to escape on their own. Have them do so, until they can do so unaided.
  • Practice the escape plan during both day and night hours.

SERVPRO of Dubuque hopes that you and your family never have to experience the tragedy of a fire in your home.  In the event that it happens, we hope that an escape plan will help to keep your family safe.  If you do experience a fire please call on the highly trained fire and water damage specialists at SERVPRO of Dubuque to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

See the difference

11/25/2019 (Permalink)

Soot covered Figurine Before & After of a Soot Covered Figurine

SERVPRO of Dubuque uses state of the art equipment such as the Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine from Marantz Ultrasonic.

Restoring Smoke, Soot, Water and Mold damaged property is faster, easier and more effective with Ultrasonic than with any other method.

Contents Restoration is an important piece of our business. It not only helps to restore damaged property, it helps restore people’s lives and livelihoods. While property damage can take many forms, what’s important to the owners is that their lives are returned to normal, and that they get their property back, as fast as possible.

Of course, when property can be returned depends on the type and severity of the damage. Certainly not every item, such as those actually burnt or melted in fires, can be restored, but a great number of items that would have traditionally been determined to be unrecoverable can now be quickly restored and returned to the owner with Morantz Ultrasonic.

Benefits of Ultrasonic for Content Restoration 

The benefits of restoring property with Ultrasonic are two-fold:

  1. For Insurance Companies: The cost of restoring an item versus reimbursing the owner for the item’s full value is dramatically diminished. Example: a $1500 television can typically be cleaned and returned to the owner within days. The cost of cleaning that $1500 television for the Insurance could be only $300(or whatever the restoration company decides to charge for their service). This represents a significant savings.
  2. For Property Owners: They get their original property back quickly. Whereas traditional cleaning methods can take weeks and cause additional property damage, with Ultrasonic most items can be cleaned in as little as 30 seconds to 2 minutes). As a result, it’s no surprise that most people are happy simply getting their property back, especially if it means getting their lives back to normal as quickly as possible and even more so if the items have sentimental value.

Types of Contents Restoration

The damage that occurs to property during fires, floods, accidents and other disasters is often much more severe than it first appears. To be sure, fire itself is destructive and an item that is physically burned or melted cannot be restored. However, property that has been engulfed in smoke, covered in soot, stained or discolored by water or contaminated by chemicals or molds can usually be restored to functional (or even good-as-new) condition with Morantz Ultrasonic.

How Common Damage Occurs

Damage to property and personal possessions can occur in many different ways. While damage as described above is common, fires are particularly troublesome as they can often result in multiple forms of damage. For example:

  • During a Fire:Fires can produce vast amounts of smoke that leave soot deposits on property. Depending on what has burned and the temperature of the fire, the soot produced by the fire may not only be mixed with a variety of chemicals and toxins. Additionally, physical properties of the soot can range from a fine powder to a thick sludge. Furthermore, because the particulate matter that makes up soot (and the chemical residue) is microscopic, it can not only penetrate deep into tiny crevices on the surface of an item, but it can also “sink” deep into the item This is especially true of electronics which can actually attract soot and dirt because they can generate magnetic fields or become charged with static electricity.
  • Immediately After a Fire:The water that was used to extinguish the flames can discolor the surfaces of many types of items. Additionally, water can cause severe physical damage since the materials from which many items are made can actually absorb surprising amounts of water.
  • Long After a Fire:Many types of materials and even the items themselves can retain significant levels of moisture. Moisture absorbed by an item that has not been properly dried, or that remains on or near the surface, may quickly become a breeding ground for molds and bacteria or other potentially hazardous residues (again, depending on what has burned).

Everyday Fire Hazard

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

Charred Cell Phone Charger Photo of cell phone charger that overheated, possibly starting a fire.

As Black Friday approaches, the number of personal electronic devices gracing the coveted Black Friday shopping ads, is astounding.

Almost everyone has multiple electronic devices that they carry on them every day.  One of our SERVPRO employees mentioned the other day that their teenage daughter has an iPhone, and iPad, wireless ear buds, an apple watch that she will simply not leave home without.  In addition, she has a myriad of other electronic devices in the house or car that are always either plugged in to recharge or are awaiting some juice.

The amount of devices that the average home has either plugged in and charging or the plug and cord are plugged in awaiting a device is simply staggering. 

OK, so here comes the scary part.... Each and every one of those plugs and ports is a fire hazard. Most device plugs, especially the really cool ones with LED lights on them, have electricity coursing through them even when a device is not attached.

These are often of inferior or cheap quality and are prone to over heating and shorting out.  Hundreds of house fires every year are caused by these plugs and charging ports.  Even worse, they are usually tucked behind a piece of furniture or other contents with just the charging cord protruding into the open for easy access.  Not to mention the devices that are accidentally left bundled in blankets or under pillows where the heat can build up and increase the chance of a fire.

We are not asking you to skip all the AWESOME Black Friday sales or to pass up the tech device on someone's Christmas list.  Just be cognizant of the risks associated with the abundance of charging devices that are in your home.  Consider unplugging the plug or port when the device is not being charged.

Happy Shopping from all of us at SERVPRO of Dubuque.  We might even put out our Christmas list in an upcoming blog.... 

Don't Let Winter Weather Take a Toll on You | Part 1

1/31/2017 (Permalink)

Soot damage to interior walls and carpet from Puff Back in Dubuque Iowa

The Puff Back Problem - Oil Burning Furnaces

The Problem

A puff back is a messy furnace malfunction that occurs when an oil burner backfires, sending soot throughout your home or business. It can happen all at once, covering the interior in grimy soot, or a puff back can leak soot particles gradually. The soot caused by the Puff Back can do significant damage to both building structure and contents.

Cost of Damage

Minimal to significant depending on the amount of soot released.  It also depends on the amount of contents affected by the soot discharge.


Consider having your oil burner serviced before you suffer a puff back. If your home or business experiences a puff back, your SERVPRO of Dubuque has the tools, training and experience to help make it “Like it never even happened." We can handle the structural cleaning as well as the contents cleaning.  More information about contents cleaning off soot damaged contents can be found in our blog post about using ultrasonic cleaning.