FIRST ONSITE provides tips for commercial and residential properties amid severe storm season

MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 24, 2024 – First Onsite Property Restoration, Canada’s leading property restoration company, marks the start of summer with the release of its severe storms and tornadoes preparedness kit – providing much needed advice for commercial and residential property owners, residents and managers amid the summer severe storm season.

According to the Weather Network, forecasters expect a pattern of heat domes to develop south of the border that could enhance severe storms over parts of Canada through the heart of the summer.

Already this spring, Ontario, Quebec, the Prairies and Atlantic Canada have experienced a mix of severe storms, intense weather, thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes.

Below are some tips and information from the First Onsite Severe Weather Guide to help Canadians prepare for the effects of severe weather.

Severe storms can cause property damage:

  • Thunderstorms are accompanied by lightning, thunder activity, hail showers, tornadoes and gusty winds, and can cause severe damage to property and surrounding structures.
  • Lightning strikes can cause fires and electrical surges.
  • Tornadoes range in size and can cause excessive damage to building structures and property and can even cause catastrophic area-wide damage.

What we know about lightning storms:

  • In southern Ontario, the average lightning season runs from the middle of March to November. In the coastal regions, and offshore over the oceans on east and west coasts, lightning can take place year-round.
  • When lightning strikes, it can happen at any time of the day or night.

Geographical range for tornadoes in Canada:

  • Tornadoes range primarily across western New Brunswick to southern Quebec, Ontario, and westward to Manitoba, Saskatchewan and southern Alberta. The B.C. Interior also experiences tornadoes.
  • Tornado season is most climactic between the months of April and September, with the strongest winds typically peaking in June and July.

“Canada is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather and summer storms and is the world’s second most tornado-hit nation after the United States,” said Jim Mandeville, SVP, First Onsite Property Restoration. “Businesses, homeowners and property managers should not underestimate the power of the wind and water threat when storm warnings are issued.” 

First Onsite’s annual Weather and Property Survey explores Canada’s top catastrophic weather fears and asks Canadians about threats to their property during severe weather events. Below are the storm related findings.

  • Six-in-10 Canadians (60%) fear severe rains and flooding
  • Half of Canadians (50%) are worried about tornadoes, winds and severe storms.
  • 23 per cent are concerned about landslides/mudslides
  • 28 per cent are worried about hurricanes or tropical storms
  • Three quarters of Canadians (73%) are concerned about climate change related weather

Property threats

Drilling down, the survey also asked people what they felt were the top threats to their property during disasters or severe storms and weather events.

  • 79 per cent feared for personal or family safety
  • 63 per cent fear having to leave their home or community
  • 72 per cent are worried about the cost of major renovations and repairs
  • 60 per cent are worried about the level of their insurance coverage
  • 64 per cent are concerned about their level of preparedness in the event of a disaster

Here are some essential tips when putting a plan together to deal with severe weather (from the First Onsite Severe Weather Guide.)

  • Bring indoors any outdoor equipment and furniture that could blow away or cause damage. Tornado winds can pull trees from the ground, which means equipment and items that are not secured to the ground can be unsafe if lifted by storm winds.
  • Unplug electrical items such as computers and charging phones. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
  • Shutter building windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains to prevent shattered glass from flying inwards.
  • Have first aid kits available and employees ready to respond to injuries.
  • Take cover immediately when a strong storm approaches. Encourage individuals to stay away from outside walls and windows, and to go to the lowest floor in the building.

“At First Onsite, we see how quickly heavy storms can rip through communities,” said Mandeville. “It is important to be aware of how to deal with severe weather threats so you can be better prepared for keeping your property safe and the people inside the buildings even safer.”

“After a severe storm, if you are confronted with the task of partially or fully restoring your business or operations, contact a professional property restoration company to help you deal with assessing damage and safety considerations.”

Resources for businesses and residents

First Onsite is ready 24/7, 365 days per year to help Canadian residents and businesses protect their properties.  The company also offers free commercial and residential resources and preparedness guides, including the First Onsite Severe Weather Guide and the Severe Weather Damage website resource page.

First Onsite and Canadian catastrophic weather

In Canada, First Onsite has been on the frontlines of high-risk situations due to climate change, natural disasters, and weather-related events. The company has been on site at some of the country’s most severe catastrophes such as the 2013 southern Alberta floods; the 2018 GTA (Greater Toronto Area) floods; the Slave Lake, Fort McMurray, and BC wildfires; the Goderich tornado; and Hurricane Fiona, to name a few.

About the First Onsite Weather and Property Survey

From February 22 to February 24, 2023, an online survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of n=1,506 Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum, balanced and weighted on age, gender, region and education. For comparison purposes, a sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was offered in both English and French.

About First Onsite: North America’s Trusted Leader in Property Restoration 

First Onsite Property Restoration is one of the largest and fastest-growing emergency response planning, mitigation, and reconstruction service providers in North America. First Onsite employs over 2,500 team members and operates from more than 100 locations across Canada and the U.S. With a culture focused on harnessing the human power of its team members and a commitment to doing what’s right, the First Onsite team helps clients restore, rebuild, and rise. First Onsite is a subsidiary of FirstService Corporation. For more information, go to firstonsite.ca or follow @firstonsite on X and LinkedIn

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