Recent Posts

SERVPRO Is Raising Money For Hospitalized Children Over the Holiday Season, Come Join Us!

10/23/2020 (Permalink)

A flyer with a green banner on top gives information for the Nov. bag toss SERVPRO is always looking for ways we can improve and support our communities. This is just one way we are doing just that!

I think we all can agree that 2020 has been a horrible year for most people locally, regionally, nationally and across the globe.  Unemployment is at record highs, businesses are closing all around us and hospitalizations related to depression and other behavioral health issues related to COVID-19 are skyrocketing.

What makes things worse, many children are struggling dealing with these challenges related to the pandemic.  Kids are having difficulties coping with problems caused by the pandemic and hospitalizations are projected to be very high over the Christmas season.

Many families have lost their job and are struggling to make ends meet.  Some children from these families have been or will be admitted to the hospital where the families can not afford a hospital stay, let alone a Christmas gift for their child.  We are SERVPRO felt compelled to help.  So, we are hosting another bean bags tournament fund raiser where all proceeds will be donated to the Rogers Behavioral Health Foundation to purchase Christmas gifts for children who will be hospitalized over Christmas and the family can not afford to purchase a gift for their child. 

Help us to bring some joy to these children.  And YOU can help us make a difference by either playing in the tournament or by making a monetary donation to this cause.

If you are interested in playing or making a donation, please give us a call and we will gladly accept your money.  We want to put as many smiles on the children's faces as possible.  It has been a terrible year, but please help us end it on a good note and pray that 2021 will be MUCH better!

Call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc to be a part of this fund raiser.  920-674-3002.

Todd & Tina Szada

SERVPRO Is On the Front Lines Of COVID-19 Decontamination

10/14/2020 (Permalink)

A SERVPRO employee is in PPE cleaning a desk area for COVID contamination SERVPRO is always trying our best to keep you, and ourselves, safe.

The year of 2020 has been very challenging for most people.  Business owners and employees have been impacted in numerous ways as well.  With the COVID-19 pandemic, SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc is being called upon to clean and disinfect after an exposure.  Even though businesses are taking extra and special pre-cautions, this virus is still finding ways of getting into both commercial and residential settings.

This photo shows a SERVPRO employee wearing personal protective equipment while wiping down with a hospital-grade disinfectant an office that recently had 2 confirmed employee cases of COVID-19.  Not only are the horizontal and vertical surfaces cleaned and disinfected, a disinfectant is sprayed into the air to knock down any virus that might be in the air.

If you are concerned about a possible exposure to COVID-19 and would like your place of employment or home disinfected, call on the professionals who have been cleaning and disinfecting since the 1960s.  Call on SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc at 920-674-3002 and speak with a member of the management team who can assist you in making your structure Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Managing Finances during Covid-19

10/12/2020 (Permalink)

Multiple bubbles with cut outs of people are connected to one central one by lines SERVPRO always tries to support and educate our community and will always continue our dedication to education and safety.

Here at SERVPRO, we deal with all kinds of disasters. From a flooded basement, to a warehouse fire, and everything in between SERVPRO Of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc is Here to Help. So, why should an economic disaster be any different?

SERVPRO helps with both national and natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, so here at SERVPRO Of Jefferson County of Oconomowoc we figure it's only appropriate to inform our community about a national economic disaster.

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country. We found a government website that aims to provide information regarding the fiscal side of dealing with Covid-19. The article provides a generous number of links to separate articles for different situations you may potentially be facing. 

Please feel free to contact SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc with any of your fire/water, general cleaning, or Covid cleaning needs at 920-674-3002. We hope everyone in our community is staying safe and educated during these times, especially in our community.

Spooky Season is Upon Us, SERVPRO Might Be Able To Help With The Eerie Feeling In Your Home

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

An eerie mansion is surrounded by a gloomy sky and slight fog Is your house feeling a bit creepy? SERVPRO might be able to help you with that.

With October already here, Halloween just around the corner, and spooky season coming to its peak, we thought it would be appropriate to share some reasons your house might feel a little creepy. 

The following comes from "October 2020 Talking Real Estate ENewsletter.” Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

Have you ever toured a home and just wanted to run right back outside? Maybe something hit you negatively, but it could be easily fixed. If the location and price are good, updates could be the answer. Ask yourself: what would you do to make a creepy home warm and inviting?

Improve lighting –Dark rooms can be spooky. Low light, especially from too few windows, can also be depressing. Can windows be enlarged? Can the electrical be updated to allow for the installation of sconces and ceiling lights? 

Re-design living areas – Low ceilings, awkward layouts, or rooms too small for their purpose can make a home feel claustrophobic. Can the ceilings be raised into the attic? Can a wall or two be removed? Can space be “borrowed” from another room for better flow?  

Simple maintenance – Keeping a home in good condition shows that it’s loved, while neglect makes homebuyers feel uncomfortable. Can obvious flaws be fixed and at what cost? 

Freshen - If the problem is odor, it could be pets, smoking, old furnishings, or musty spaces. Dampness can suggest a leak in bathrooms or kitchens.  Can the smell be identified and eliminated through cleaning or remodeling?

Modern updates – Homes stuck in the past need updating which can eliminate a lot of problems? Is there enough room in the budget to remodel to get the home to meet your criteria?

You could turn the spookiest house in the neighborhood into the home of your dreams.

If your home is feeling a little creepy because of odor, water damage, pet and child created flaws, or simply the need for a good cleaning, give us a call. SERVPRO Of Jefferson County/Oconomowocs office number is 920-674-3002 for all of your spooky maintance needs. 


  1. Hubrich , Dian. “October 2020 Talking Real Estate ENewsletter.” Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Oct. 2020,

SERVPRO Is Coming In

10/2/2020 (Permalink)

Lots of equipment sit in a school room for drying SERVPRO is coming in! And you are going to want to let us help.

SERVPRO is the largest restoration company in the United States and that means we are in a lot of buildings, both residential and commercial.  

We admit that sometimes we get in the way. We ask invasive questions about your personal spaces. We bring in loud equipment. It seems like we are always invading our customer's spaces.  

While we are sorry for this inconvenience, at the same time we aren't because we know that this is the best way to mitigate your problem.  Without us walking through all the affected areas, asking questions, looking in closets, checking inside shower stalls, etc., we can't do our job thoroughly and efficiently.  Our job is to take care of the issues that come with mitigation work. Water, fire or mold mitigation, even asbestos abatement, requires thorough inspections. It requires our employees to ask tough questions to get to the best solution for YOU, our customer.  

Our loud equipment is often left for several days and we will ask you to allow us access every 24-36 hours to ensure that the equipment is doing what is supposed to. Our visiting every day can get annoying, but it is necessary.  

SERVPRO is the number one restoration company and we got there by being annoying. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are HERE TO HELP.   

We GREATLY appreciate our customers putting up with our invasions. And we want you to know we do it because we love helping others.   

Please call our office at 920-674-3002 to schedule SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc to come and invade your home or business. You'll be glad you did. 

Toxins In The Air After A Fire: Hidden Hazards

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

The following comes directly from RandR

This also Includes RandRs references. 

After a structure fire, restoration contractors are often on scene within hours to perform emergency services.  This usually begins with boarding up windows and doors and covering holes in the roof cut by the fire department. This is intended to protect properties from further damage as well as prevent unauthorized entry, theft, or spoiling of evidence. However, what many restoration contractors may not realize is that boarding-up a fire damaged structure can create an extremely hazardous environment.

Although the flames have been extinguished, the smoke has cleared, and the fire department removed the yellow tape, the fire scene isn’t as safe as one might think. Toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) created by the vast array of materials and products that, after being burned, are now in a state of off-gassing, saturating the indoor air with poisonous gases and particulates. The combination of the lack of ventilation after a board-up and the toxicity of the combustion byproducts created classifies this environment as immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH). The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states that a respiratory hazard exists when a toxic contaminant is present in the air at a sufficient concentration to cause harm when inhaled. The damage may occur immediately, or it may take days, weeks, months, or years for effects to surface.

The types and quantities of materials and products that combust, their chemical reactions, heat, time, and other factors, make each post-fire environment unique.  The vast array of toxic chemicals, VOC’s, and particulates are limitless and exposure to them can have immediate and/or long-term health effects.  Fire investigators know all too well the dangers of post-fire environments and many are sickened and die from exposure to fire toxins.

One example of this occurred when a fire chief in California walked through a residential fire to assess the damage. A short time later, as he was returning to the fire station, he became ill and his aide transported him to a local hospital. The hazardous material response team was called to the scene and located several glass containers of a substance later identified as liquid sodium cyanide. The chief was subsequently transported to a medical facility equipped with a hyperbaric chamber for treatment and fully recovered. Physicians and investigators eventually determined that he had inhaled near-lethal doses of sodium cyanide from a jewelry refinishing business that was operated from the home. (1)

Restoration contractors face similar dangers in structure fire settings, where they may spend days performing emergency services, mucking out debris, estimating, and inventorying personal property.

Smoke, Toxic Gasses, & Chemicals

Considering that cigarette smoke alone contains over 7,000 chemicals, with 70 identified as cancer-causing, the products and materials that burn in a structure fire produce innumerable toxins. These products may include plastics, fiberglass, fabrics, fire retardants, electronics, pesticides, cleaning solutions, automotive fluids, solvents, chemicals used to manufacture illicit drugs and a host of others.

Currently, the EPA has over 85,000 chemicals registered in its inventory of substances that fall under the Toxic Substances Control Act and approximately 2,000 new chemicals are introduced each year.(2) The Chemical Abstracts Service is the world’s authority on chemical information and it has over 100 million registered chemical substances in its registry.(3)  These chemicals are combined in more than 7 million mixtures formulations that are found in homes and buildings across the U.S.(4) The majority of the chemicals currently in commercial use haven’t been evaluated.(5)

Some of the most toxic chemicals and gases found in smoke include: hydrogen cyanide, phosgene, dioxins, furans, sulfur dioxide, PCB’s, hydrochloric and sulfuric acid, and arsenic. Other toxins may include benzene, lead, chromium, and other metals, toluene, acrolein, mercury, formaldehyde, phenol, styrene, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

To give you an idea of how toxic some of these chemicals are, phosgene and hydrogen cyanide were used in World War I as chemical warfare agents, resulting in thousands of casualties. Both hydrogen cyanide and phosgene are commonly found in structure fire smoke. 

Dioxins – The Worst of the Worst

Restorers are well aware of hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead, and mold, but few realize how toxic  smoke particulates and soot can be. The dioxin named 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) has been called the most toxic man-made compound on Earth.(6) Scientists say it is exceeded in toxicity only by radioactive waste.(7) Certain dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) with similar toxic properties are also included under the term dioxins.(8) A characterization by the National Institute of Standards and Technology of cancer causing potential evaluated dioxin as over 10,000 times more potent than the next highest chemical (diethanol amine), half a million times more than arsenic and a million or more times greater than all others. (9) TCDD has also been extensively studied for health effects linked to its presence as an ingredient in Agent Orange, which was used as a defoliant during the Vietnam War.(10)  Dioxins are formed when products containing carbon and chlorine are burned, such as plastics containing PVC. (11)

Even in picograms (parts per trillion), dioxins are associated with severe health damage that can shorten the lives of people exposed to it, and potentially that of their offspring and future generations. The genetic effects may skip a generation and reappear in subsequent generations. (12) Ingesting dioxin can also result in congenital malformations and a slow wasting syndrome followed by death similar to the AIDS. It is strongly suspected of contributing to pathology of the urinary and hematological systems, growths in the colon, gall bladder complications, multiple myeloma, and lung, larynx and prostate cancer. According to researcher Joe Thornton, “Dioxin’s health effects include endocrine disruption, reproductive impairment, infertility, birth defects, impaired neurological development, damage to the kidneys, and metabolic dysfunction...There is no evidence that there is a safe level of dioxin exposure below which none of these effects will occur.” Dioxin is tied to such a large number of diseases because it intensifies cancers which other toxins begin.

Particulate Exposure

Particle exposure leads to around 20,000 premature deaths in America each year. Inhaled particles that are less than 5 microns travel to the lower lung where the gas exchange occurs in the alveoli. The particle size of soot is approximately 2.5 microns or less and to offer some perspective on the size of these particles, a red blood cell is approximately 7 microns in size. 

Smoke particles--approx 2.5 microns (left); Red blood cells--approx 7 microns (right)

The smallest ultrafine particles are so minute they behave like gases, passing through the lungs and directly into the bloodstream. Ultrafine particles also travel up through the nose and, rather than passing down into the lungs, they are delivered directly into the brain and central nervous system via the olfactory nerve, bypassing the body’s protective blood/brain barrier. Once in the bloodstream, these particles carry toxins around the body where they promote inflammation, disease, and even death.

Safety Considerations

The importance of wearing proper protective equipment when working in or around fire debris or a fire damaged structure cannot be understated. Restorers should consider the following safety tips:

  1. Establish a safety and site assessment protocol to determine what type of PPE should be worn. The highest level of respiratory protection should be considered.
  2. Have all workers fit tested to ensure their respirators function properly.
  3. Conduct air, VOC, and surface sampling to determine what types and quantities of hazardous chemicals may be present. (See OSHA Regulation 1910.134(d)(1)(iii)
  4. Obtain a soot and particulate remediation protocol that details the proper steps of cleaning and/or decontamination.
  5. Ventilate enclosed areas unless doing so will expose others to health hazards.
  6. If workers experience any adverse health symptoms from exposure to smoke odors or soot, seek medical attention immediately. 


  2. It could take centuries for EPA to test all the unregulated chemicals under a new landmark bill By Mark Scialla:
  4. Characterization of fire Investigators Exposure During Fire Scene Examination By: Dennis L. Rogers – DuPage County Arson Task Force (page 19)
  7. Medical Effects: Dioxin and PCB’s From Wood Burning
  8. World Health Organization
  9. A Guide to Living Plasticless
  10. Dioxins and their Effects on Human Health
  11. Dioxins Produced by Backyard Burning
  12. and
  13. The Aspen institute

Please feel free to call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc with any fire or water needs. 920-674-3002. 

Proper Containment: Why It's So Important

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

Plastic sheeting creates a small room of containment in a home SERVPRO is always prepared for asbestos and mold containment for any job.

The following come from RandR. Their website is linked at the end of this blog. 

Containment in remediation protocols is an industry staple. But all too often mold specialists are missing the point and failing to be effective in their containment efforts.

Many of the traditional protocols and methods currently associated with, what may be termed as “traditional mold remediation methods”, were borne from the asbestos abatement industry. Once a problem area is identified, one of the first steps is to set up containment around the affected area.

This is entirely appropriate and necessary for asbestos work as the harmful by products of the abatement do not become airborne until after the containment is set up and the remediation has begun.

Mold is a different beast. It is a living organism. As such, it is actively seeking to expand its environment beyond its present location. As remediators, we may conscientiously set up containment around a visible mold bloom the moment we step onto the jobsite. But long before our arrival our musty friend has been hard at work (often times with the help of we humans) sending its spores throughout  the building environment, potentially starting new colonies in unseen locations and most assuredly compromising the quality of the building’s breathable air supply. Therefore our true containment in an effective mold remediation is the entire building envelope, not just the immediate area or room where we have visible growth.

Keep in mind that many contractors would have been content in merely treating the area within containment, and no doubt would have passed any Industrial Hygienist written protocol or post remediation testing. But the real culprit, the air borne spores that had already spread throughout the building envelope, would have been left behind to create further havoc.

Please give us a call for any mold or asbestos needs at 920-674-3002. SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc has certifications in both areas so don't hesitate to get in contact.  


Recognizing Hidden Hazards of Fire Soot on Electronics

9/23/2020 (Permalink)

The following blog comes directly from

Have you ever tried fixing your own electronics and appliances and ended up with extra parts? In the beginning of my career, I probably broke more electronic equipment than I ever repaired, but over the years I developed the skills needed to properly disassemble electronics and appliances as well as restore them to preloss condition. Also, along the way I learned a thing or two about the hidden hazards of fire soot.

According to the insurance industry, about one in 325 insured homes has a property damage claim related to fire and lightning, and on average, Americans own approximately 25 electronic products per home. Although most of the time electronics can be restored by a professional after a fire and returned to the home afterwards, there are a lot of hidden hazards of smoke and soot damage that are commonly misunderstood and pose certain health risks when not handled properly.

A typical structure (residential home or business) contains various materials such as plastics, elastomers, foams, polymers, adhesives, fabrics, wood products and asbestos containing materials. The incomplete combustion of these materials as a result of fire can produce an array of toxic organic compounds such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SOVCs), and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAHs).

Exposure to these compounds during a fire may exhibit both acute and chronic toxicity. Some of the other chemicals and gases found in smoke are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, water vapor, hydrogen cyanide, carbon particles, aldehydes, nitrogen oxide, benzene, toluene, styrene, metals, and dioxins. The size, quantity, character, and type of particles, gases, and chemicals in smoke varies depending on what is burning and whether it was complete or incomplete combustion.

When different types of items burn, various types of soot residue and smoke are produced including wet smoke, dry smoke, plastic or rubber smoke, protein smoke, furnace soot, and candle smoke. When restoring or cleaning electronics, it is important to be able to recognize the difference in various types of soot and smoke as they pose different risks and implications.

Wet smoke is thick, smeary, sticky, has a pungent odor, and is prone to discoloration. It is very difficult to clean and requires specialized products and techniques. Wet smoke must be addressed quickly.

Dry smoke typically involves smaller, non-smeary particles, and is usually a result of hot, fast burning fires. The odor is usually not as strong as wet smoke.

Burning Plastic, foam, rubber, and polymers produce plastic or rubber smoke and burn with high energy at low temperatures. The particles produced have a high degree of ionization, therefore are attracted to other materials and form smoke webs. The smoke produced can potentially be acidic, if it is not addressed soon enough or treated properly with specialized products, bare metal surfaces can corrode and pit.

Protein smoke residue is a result of slow burning food such as meat and poultry. The particles are usually invisible and have a particularly strong pungent odor. A slow burn allows the protein to disperse and attach to everything, tends to stain painted and varnished surfaces, and is typically very difficult to clean.

Furnace soot or puff-backs result from the misfiring in a furnace or when an older furnace is replaced with a newer, high efficiency furnace. The ventilation system will aid in the distribution of the soot and can send it throughout the entire home, covering drapes, bedding, furniture, cabinets, walls, and everything in between. It is possible that before the malfunction occurred, the furnace may have been emitting small quantities of soot over an extended length of time. When this occurs, the soot bonds to the surfaces making it more difficult to clean.

Candle soot residue AKA “dirty house syndrome” is visible residue without a recognizable fire source. Studies show that it is very possible to be a result of burning cheap scented decorative candles. Candle soot production normally begins when the particulate matter produced reaches .06 to 0.1 microns in size. Because the particles are so fine, they lodge in irregular surfaces and are held by electrostatic bonds requiring complete disassembly of the item.

Smoke aids in the distribution of soot and travels to cooler areas and continues until the fire is extinguished, thereby causing soot to be distributed everywhere in its path.

When it comes to restoration, electronics are very sensitive and when compromised by smoke and soot, become a safety hazard. Damage from smoke and soot primarily stems from increased resistance in circuits and connections by corrosive metal loss, short circuiting caused by current leakage, and overheating. Cleaning smoke and soot damage on electronics and appliances requires learned skill sets, professional cleaning products, and techniques. It is important to take the complexity of effective electronics restoration into consideration before letting your team disassemble a computer or flat screen TV and hope for the best. 

In the unfortuante event of a fire, do be sure to give SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc a call at 920-674-3002.


  1. Copeland, James. “Recognizing Hidden Hazards of Fire Soot on Electronics.” Restoration Remediation Magazine RSS, Restoration & Remediation Magazine, 24 Oct. 2019,


Is It Time For a Duct Cleaning?

9/23/2020 (Permalink)

A green machine sits on a basement floor and is connected to a furnace SERVPRO has equipment for almost any task!

So, you're trying to decide whether a duct cleaning is for you. In this blog we will be giving you some facts to try and help you decide whether or not it's time.

Before we start with the facts, you should know it's recommended ducts be cleaned about every five years. There is no magic number that determines whether or not your ducts in particular need to be cleaned, so these facts may help you determine if you think it's time based off of what is happening in your home. 

Fact #1: Having a duct cleaning done can save you energy.

  • Obstructions can create reduced airflow; obstructions include dirt, dust, cobwebs, pest droppings and biological growth
  • Cleaning duct work creates an easier job for your HVAC system. A system that doesn't have to work as hard, lasts longer
  • Removing obstructions and debris reduces risk of damage to essential parts of an HVAC system

Fact #2: Duct cleanings create a better indoor air quality 

  • Air duct cleanings remove contaminants from your duct work. These contaminants include pollen, dirt, dust and cobwebs. For some people, contaminated air ducts can create allergic reactions, or even asthma attacks
  • Duct cleanings can result in a lower amount of duct accumulating on horizontal surfaces, creating less irritants sitting in the open home

Fact 3: Comfort

  • A duct cleaning can identify leaks in your duct work that could be causing drafts or excessive noise

If you are having low air flow, unusual allergies or respiratory issues, or leaks and noise a duct cleaning may help. Reach out to medical professionals about serious health effects and if you believe they are related to something in your home, please contact an indoor air quality specialist to identify those problems. If issues are identified, SERVPRO is always here to help you resolve them.

As always please feel free to contact SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc with any further questions, comments, or to seek services at 920-674-3002.

Hydrostatic Pressure Causes Flood Water to Leek Into Jefferson County Home

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

Multiple large axial fans sit on a hard wood floor SERVPRO is always prepared to assist you with storm damage needs.

A strong rainstorm in July 2020 hit Jefferson County and this basement in Jefferson WI  got severely flooded due to the hydrostatic pressure in the ground and the water having no where to go except into the basement.

Because this was rain water, SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc was able to save this new carpet.  The carpet pad had to be removed in order to dry out the structure and the carpet more efficiently.  After lifting the carpet and removal of the carpet pad, the technicians at SERVPRO extracted the remaining water from the concrete and laid the carpet back down.  Then, specialty drying equipment designed to direct air flow down, was set up to dry that carpet and, believe it or not, the concrete underneath it.  Also, as the air flow hits the carpet, it will bounce off the floor and blow onto the drywall.  As a result, We can dry the carpet, concrete and drywall with one fan.

For all your emergency water damage and restoration needs, call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc.  920-674-3002