Recent Posts

What To Do When You Discover a Burst Pipe

3/13/2023 (Permalink)

Burst water line Call the pro's if you experience water damage to your home or property.

Winter is hard enough, but when you find a broken water pipe it makes it that much worse. While most water pipe breaks do happen in the winter, it can happen in the warmer months as well. Even if you have never had to come across a burst pipe, it is very important to be prepared so you know what to do if it ever happens. Here are three steps that you should take if you happen to come across a broken pipe:

Shut Off Water

Know where the main shut off valve is. It is crucial to turn off the water as soon as the broken pipe is found to avoid further damage to the property. Once the water is stopped, you can focus on the ruptured pipe and further assess the damage.

Contact Your Insurer

Take the time to read over your insurance policy to see if you will be covered for broken pipe damage. Depending on if the pipe burst was a result of homeowner neglect or not, the damage may or may not be covered. 

Begin Cleanup Phase

After calling your insurance agent and determining if you are covered or not, your next call should be to a restoration specialist to begin the cleanup phase. Remember the longer you put off the restoration, the worse the damage can become. Leaving standing water for a long period of time can result in property damage and mold issues.

Evacuation Plan For Those Who Need Assistance

2/15/2023 (Permalink)

Couple walking down road When disaster strikes, have an evacuation plan.

Do you know and love someone who may have a disability such as deaf, blindness, or immobility? Maybe you know someone who is unable to move as quickly as necessary during an evacuation. Most of us can name at least one person that they know who might need assistance in case of an evacuation.

It is important to have a set plan for your loved ones in case of an emergency evacuation due to storm, fire, or flooding. Follow these steps to ensure the safety of those who need assistance:

  • Have an emergency kit ready and accessible.
  • If person has hard hearing, always have a backup battery for hearing aids
  • Install a strobe light smoke alarm for those who are hard of hearing or deaf
  • Have a backup cane in a safe place in case of an emergency
  • Create multiple escape plans in case of emergency

Be Prepared: How to Protect Your Commercial Property

1/16/2023 (Permalink)

Commercial building Know your plan of action before disaster strikes!

Do you have a plan in place in case disaster strikes your commercial building? It is so important to be prepared BEFORE a fire, water, or storm event happens.Without a plan, your costs can skyrocket. Here are a few strategies to avoid future headache:

Keep Important Items Above Ground Level
If a disaster event takes place and floods any areas of storage, it can leave a real mess. Make sure to keep important documents, inventory, tools, and electronics above ground level in case of flooding.

Backup All Data
Always, always, always backup your data! We live in a digital world and to lose digital data can quickly destroy a business. It is so important to keep your data in a cloud to ensure that you can always recover it. Local computer experts can help you with this if you need.

Have an Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) in Place
Nobody plans for damage to their property and it can be difficult to gauge just how much damage may occur. At SERVPRO of Douglas & Otter Tail Counties we encourage all businesses, large or small, to create an ERP. From planning a fire evacuation route to wearing a seatbelt, we are planning for the unexpected everyday. Why not protect your business with a foolproof plan that all employees can follow? Consider scheduling a meeting with your local SERVPRO Sales and Marketing Representative to discuss setting up an ERP today.

Keep Snow Cleared from Gas Meters and Vent Pipes

12/12/2022 (Permalink)

Snow storm Have you cleared the snow from your meters and vents?

Keep Snow Cleared from Gas Meters and Vent Pipes

There are a lot of things we think about after a snowstorm such as plowing the driveway and clearing the snow and ice from the roof, but do you always remember to clear the snow from outside meters and vents? It is extremely important to keep these areas cleared.

Exhaust vents for water heaters, furnaces, or fireplaces should also be kept clear and free from snow/ice. If the exhaust cannot escape through the vent, you risk carbon monoxide buildup inside the property.

When clearing these areas outside of your home or business, make sure you do it carefully. Melting with a heat source or chipping/scraping can damage the equipment and cause further problems down the road. Instead, use a broom or brush to rid the snow.

What is IICRC Certified?

10/24/2022 (Permalink)

Certified Badge What does IICRC certified mean?

What Does IICRC Stand for?

IICRC stands for “The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification.” They are a non-profit organization that was formed in 1972.

What does the IICRC Do for Restoration Companies?

The IICRC creates the standards held within the restoration industry and provides the training and resources to restoration companies to complete certification. An IICRC firm has the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo. 

What does IICRC Certification Mean to SERVPRO of Douglas and Otter Tail Counties?

The IICRC Certification gives the SERVPRO of Douglas and Otter Tail Counties customers the comfort of knowing that our crew has the knowledge and experience to work on their home or business. Our crew has dedicated time and effort to learn the correct protocols when working restoration.

Have Questions? Call SERVPRO of Douglas & Otter Tail Counties - (320)219-6505

Your Local Cleaning, Restoration, and Construction Company.

Barn Cleaning in West Central Minnesota

9/22/2022 (Permalink)

Man cleaning turkey barn with pressure washer Schedule your barn cleaning with us today!

Did you know we offer livestock barn cleanings? We clean barns across Minnesota and North Dakota, regularly making sure that they are up to standards.

Cleaning a livestock barn is a lot of work! Tackling it on your own can feel daunting. Our crew of professionals can take that stress off your back. When hiring us to clean a livestock barn, we will ensure that your barn will be left clean, safe for the animals, and smelling fresh. Well… as fresh as a barn can smell! Whether you raise cattle, turkeys, swine, or any other type of livestock, we can do it all.Call us today to schedule your next barn cleaning.

Book Your Cleaning Today! Call SERVPRO of Douglas & Otter Tail Counties – (320)219-6505

Your Local Cleaning, Restoration, and Construction Company.

Do I Wait to Clean Up Until an Adjuster Comes to Document the Damage?

9/15/2022 (Permalink)

Storm brewing on a dirt road While you might not have to wait for an adjuster to start the clean up process, you should always take extensive photo and video of the damage!

After experiencing storm damage you may wonder, do I wait for an adjuster to come and assess the damage before I can start cleaning up and moving my things?

The answer is no. 

An insurance adjuster does not need to witness the damage to process a claim, but will require you to document the damage if you decide to begin cleaning up. Take extensive photos and videos, while also listing damaged property and recording their condition and value.

Side note: Do not throw any damaged items away, as your adjuster may want to take note of these items

Adjusters are Likely Busy with Multiple Claims

If your property was affected by a storm, it is likely that neighboring properties are as well. This will result in a number of claims for insurance companies and it may take adjusters awhile to actually follow up on your claim. 

Further Damage Can Happen the Longer You Wait

The longer you allow damage to sit, the worse it can get, especially water damage. If you let the water sit too long it can result in mold issues. Mold damage can emerge between 24 and 48 hours after water or moisture is present. Make sure to take action as soon as possible to avoid this outcome. 

Have Questions? Call SERVPRO of Douglas & Otter Tail Counties – (320)219-6505

Your Local Cleaning, Restoration, and Construction Company.

How to Safely Extinguish Fires

9/8/2022 (Permalink)

hand holding a fire extinguisher Don't be caught off guard when a fire happens to you - know how to extinguish!

Most people’s first thought when putting out a fire is water. However, not all types of fires should be put out with water. In fact, in some cases, water would only make the fire worse. Here is an easy guide on how to put out specific types of fires:


Kitchens are a hotspot for fires. When you have grease, oil, heat, and/or open flames, it is a recipe for disaster. If the fire is in a frying pan, try to smother it by using the lid of a pot, not something flammable. If the fire is in the microwave, simply turn off the microwave, shut the door, and keep an eye on it.

If neither of these methods work, use a fire extinguisher, not water. If all else fails, call the fire department. 


If you have a grease fire, whether it is in the kitchen or somewhere else, you should NEVER use water or flour to put it out. Flour can make it worse and water does not mix with oil, causing the fire to spread. 

Instead, use baking soda or salt. If the fire is still not out, use a fire extinguisher.


NEVER try to extinguish an electrical fire on your own. Call the fire department and leave the home immediately. 


When putting out a campfire, make sure to let it die down. Quit fueling the fire awhile before you plan on extinguishing the fire. Slowly pour water onto the remaining flames until the embers die out completely. If there is no water source, try pouring sand or dry dirt onto the fire. Not to bury the fire, but to “coat” the flames until the fire dies.

While there are other fires and methods to extinguish those fires, these are the most common. When in doubt, always call the fire department! 

Do You Need Fire Restoration Services? Call Us Today - (320)219-6505

Your Local Cleaning, Restoration, and Construction Company.

The Components of Fire

8/29/2022 (Permalink)

Black background and fire Starting a fire requires three components - oxygen, heat and fuel

We often talk about fire damage and the aftermath in our industry, but the elements to start a fire go overlooked. Fire requires 3 different components to “live” - oxygen, heat and fuel. Knowing how these 3 components work, can give you some insight on how to decrease your chances of a fire loss. Let's break it down:


A fire will not survive very long without oxygen. Oxygen helps produce an expanding series of chemical reactions. During this process, smoke and carbon monoxide are produced.

  • HEAT

There needs to be enough combustible heat present to ignite. The heat necessary for igniting is different for each substance. For example, a large piece of wood is more difficult to light than a pile of dry leaves.

  • FUEL

The type of fuel necessary to ignite a fire can be either organic or inorganic material. Wood or plastic can be the perfect “fuel” for a fire, especially on a property.

Fire can be extremely destructive. Make sure that you are doing the most to decrease your chances of home or property fire. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need fire restoration services, let us help you get your life back - give us a call at (320) 219-6505!

Contaminated Water Categories

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

Sink that is overflowed Water Damage? Give us a call today!

If you are a home or business owner, you have most likely been affected by some sort of water damage. Depending on the source of the damage, that water may be contaminated and require extra safety precautions. The most common types of water contaminants are:

  • Sewage
  • Food residue
  • Grease or oils
  • Bodily waste
  • Cleaning solutions such as chemicals or bleach

At SERVPRO, we use an expert led system to categorize water. Our team of experts know the correct way to determine the water contamination category by finding out the source, talking with the property owner, and observing the contaminated water.

Category 1: Clean Water

A Category 1 type of water loss is normally caused from a faucet overflow, household appliance malfunction, or broken water supply line. Although typically not harmful, it is important to call your local water restoration company as soon as possible to clean up the damage. If the water sits for too long, the environmental conditions can worsen the water contamination to a Category 2 or 3. 

Category 2: Gray Water

Sources that can cause a Category 2 contamination are broken sump pumps, appliance discharge, or toilet water mixed with urination. Proceed with caution during these water losses. Bacteria and mold growth happen rapidly during this type of a water loss and can quickly turn into a Category 3 if not taken care of in a timely fashion.

Category 3: Black Water

Category 3 is the worst kind of water contamination. This type of contamination is normally sourced from sewage backup containing human or animal waste. It can also be sourced from rivers, streams, and oceans, where bacteria and unsanitary chemicals are often found. Call a water cleanup service immediately after finding this type of water loss!

For all of your water damage questions, call SERVPRO of Douglas & Otter Tail Counties - (320) 219-6505!