Be Thunderstorm Ready: What to do Before, During, and After Thunderstorms
Calgary Thunder Storm
All storms are dangerous and thunderstorms are no exception. Every thunderstorm produces lightning and other hazardous weather conditions, which can include tornadoes, strong winds, hail and flash flooding.
In Western Canada we tend to get a mix of heavy rain and dry thunderstorms, those storms do not produce rain that reaches the ground. As the raindrops fall they are evaporated, with that said the storms lightning can still reach the ground and can start wildfires. Below are great tips from READY to help prepare you for what to do before, during and after a thunderstorm.
What to do before a thunderstorm
To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
- Postpone outdoor activities.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
- Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.
- Unplug any electronic equipment well before the storm arrives.
Lightning Risk Reduction When Outdoors
If you are:
In a forest: Seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.
In an open area: Go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. Be alert for flash floods.
On open water: Get to land and find shelter immediately.
Facts about Thunderstorms
- They may occur singly, in clusters or in lines.
- Some of the most severe occur when a single thunderstorm affects one location for an extended time.
- Thunderstorms typically produce heavy rain for a brief period, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
- Warm, humid conditions are highly favourable for thunderstorm development.
- About 10 percent of thunderstorms are classified as severe – one that produces hail at least an inch or larger in diameter, has strong winds or produces a tornado.
Facts about Lightning
- Lightning’s unpredictability increases the risk to individuals and property.
- Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 15 km away from any rainfall.
- “Heat lightning” is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away from thunder to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction.
- Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening.
- Your chances of being struck by lightning are estimated to be 1 in 600,000 but could be reduced even further by following safety precautions.
- Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.
What to do during a thunderstorm
If thunderstorm and lightning are occurring in your area, you should:
- Use a battery-operated weather radio for updates from local officials.
- Avoid contact with corded phones and devices including those plugged into electric for recharging. Cordless and wireless phones not connected to wall outlets are OK to use.
- Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
- Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches, patios and deks.
- Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.
- Avoid natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.
- Avoid hilltops, open fields, the beach or a boat on the water.
- Take shelter in a sturdy building. Avoid isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
- Avoid contact with anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.
- If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
What to do after a thunderstorm
If lightning strikes you or someone you know, call 9-1-1 for medical assistance as soon as possible. The following are things you should check when you attempt to give aid to a victim of lightning:
- Breathing or Heartbeat - if the heart or breath has stopped, administer CPR.
- Pulse - if the victim has a pulse and is breathing, look for other possible injuries. Check for burns where the lightning entered and left the body. Also be alert for nervous system damage, broken bones and loss of hearing and eyesight.
After the storm passes remember to:
- Never drive through a flooded roadway. Turn around or wait till water subsides.
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
- Continue to listen to local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.
- Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or those with access or functional needs.
- Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
- Watch your animals closely. Keep them under your direct control.
The Dangers of Asbestos
Asbestos can be hiding in your property. It is not dangerous unless it is disturbed, but knowing if you have to worry about it or not is step number 1
Asbestos has been being mined for the past 4000 years, but its popularity really bloomed during the industrial revolution and peaked during World War II. Asbestos was seen as a miracle mineral because it was resistant to fire, heat, electricity, chemical erosion, and it is inexpensive to mine. Today, asbestos can still be found in many homes and commercial properties, especially if it was built before 1980, often in the drywall, insulation, or ceiling tiles. Please do not attempt to remove asbestos yourself, it is extremely dangerous and should only be handled by a certified asbestos abatement professional.
Asbestos is actually an umbrella term that describes 6 long fibrous minerals, much like fiberglass, that when irritated can release millions of tiny “fibrils” into the air. These fibrils cannot be seen by the naked eye, tasted, or smelled, so they can easily be inhaled. When inhaled, the fibrils get stuck in a person’s lungs and never dissolve. Years of exposure and build up causes inflammation and scarring, the symptoms are not immediate, they often take 20-50 years to develop, resulting in life threatening diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Asbestos is still the leading cause of occupational cancer in the world.
Asbestos has been banned in many countries all around the world, including Canada, but surprising not all countries have followed suite. The United States has not banned asbestos due to business interests and Russia still mines asbestos; Russia mined over 1 million metric tonnes in 2015.
Community Chronicles: Rogers Run for L'Arche
SERVPRO Water Station, helping thirsty runners during the Rogers Run for L'Arche
The SERVPRO of Calgary South team is not only dedicated to helping property owners recover after a disaster, we also love to help within our community. This March 2019, the SERVPRO of Calgary South team participated in the Rogers Run for L’Arche. L’Arche Calgary has five locations in the city offering a Supported Independent Living Program and a Day Program. L’Arche supports 29 people with developmental disabilities in Calgary and have been operating since 1973 (https://www.larchecalgary.org/). L’Arche is a global organization doing great work in 38 countries, including 29 communities within Canada.
The Rogers Run for L’Arche started in 2011 and since then has raised almost half a million dollars, with all proceeds going towards L’Arche. We were honoured to be able to hold down a water station for the day, cheering on every thirsty runner. It was truly a great event, for a great cause and SERVPRO of Calgary South is already looking forward to next year!
Spring Tips: General Spring Maintenance
The warmer temperatures are finally on the way after a long, cold winter. Spring is a beautiful time of year, but we must also remember spring cleaning entails a lot more than a thorough vacuum and dusting. For easy home maintenance it is important to stay on top of it and not let the chores build up season to season. In addition to saving time and money, regular maintenance is beneficial for your property because it can help you discover problems by identifying small issues before they become major repairs. Maintenance also helps with curb appeal because a well-maintained home has a more pleasant appearance increasing property value.
Here are a few more tips for your General Spring Maintenance:
1) Air Movement (Air Conditioner and Furnace)
It is a good idea to check your A/C and furnace before the first heatwave hits and your home becomes a sauna. Check all the connections, change the filter, and if necessary, have it serviced. You won’t regret it.
2) Attack the Attic
After a long and cold winter, it’s important to check your attic space to make sure no water has found its way in. You will also want to make sure no mice, insects, or other critters have nested over the winter, terrorizing your insulation. Check to make sure the insulation is dry (wet insulation is less effective) and look for signs of mould or water damage. Improper ventilation can cause condensation to buildup, become frost, and eventually result in water damage.
3) Browse the Basement
Changing season often lead to basement issues as, basements are often a hotspot for repairs. Check for cracks in the cement walls and look for signs of leaks. While you are down there, check the washing machine hoses for leaks or holes, inspect the basement windows for mould, leaks, or drafts, and watch out for signs of bugs or rodents.
5) Look for Leaks and Monitor for Mould
In addition to browsing the basement, looking for leaks and mold is vital in all areas of your home. Take the time to inspect all windows, doors, bathrooms, toilets, sinks, and other areas where water is prevalent. If you discover mould, take action immediately. If you have a large amount of mold, SERVPRO of Calgary South would be happy to help with your mould remediation.
6) Secure Smoke Signals
Frequently checking the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be a regular household activity, make sure they are working properly and change the batteries when necessary (check monthly, change annually). Check your fire extinguishers to ensure there are no leaks and the pin is in place and it is not expired. It is also important to store you fire extinguisher in an easily accessible place where everyone knows where it is.
Spring Tips: Exterior Maintenance
Time to get your home ready for BBQ season, here are a few tips to help with you spring time maintenance.
With Spring approaching, it’s time to check your home and see if the wintery cold caused any damage to your home or building. Signs of winter damage start to show themselves once the weather warms up and the surrounding environment starts to thaw. This article will help you get out of winter hibernation and back into barbeque season! Here is a quick maintenance checklist focusing on the exterior of your building:
1) Start at the Top (Inspect the Roof)
A healthy roof is one of the most important parts of your home. Ensuring it is sturdy and sealed is central to keeping your entire home efficient. Damage to your shingles, flashing, or any leaks can quickly trickle down and affect other areas of your home. When looking at your shingles look for curled edges, tears, or loose stones in your gutters, these are all signs of damage and could be a signal for replacement.
It is also important to have proper drainage form your roof, this means cleaning you gutters and downspouts. Repair any holes in the gutters and clean out leaves and pine needles. Organic material can degrade in your gutter and create a thick muddy mess, stopping water from being properly redirected away from your property.
2) Check the Structure (Inspect the Foundation, Walls, Windows, and Doors)
Do a walk around of your home and check for cracks/holes in the foundation. as well as inspecting the exterior walls, siding, windows and door. If you identify a foundation issue, contact a specialist to take a look. When inspecting the windows and doors, pay special attention to the caulking and weather stripping, issues in the seal are often harder to find than obvious holes or tears. All of this will limit the chances of water using one of these pathways into your house and reduce your heating/AC bill.
3) Independent Structures (Garages, Sheds, Fences etc)
Make sure the garage door is functioning properly and has a strong seal at the bottom. Sweep and vacuum dust, dirt, and debris around the doors. Also make sure there is nothing that could fall off the ceiling and impede the doors from working properly. Looks for signs of cracked or split fencing boards, especially near any gates and ice can raise fence boards and make gates stick.
4) Spring Yard Cleanup
It is grass cutting season! Time to get that lawn mower out, change the oil, get the blade sharpened and have the yearly debate of what is the better way to cut the yard, side-to-side or up-and-down (My vote is for side-to-side) Now, head to your local hardware store to restock on supplies such as landscaping bags and grass seed. Don’t forget to pick up the tools you need to thatch, weed, and clean out your garden beds. Now that you are ready, fire up the BBQ, pull out the cooler, and invite for the family and friends.
For Immediate Service in Calgary, Call SERVPRO
Calgary Residents: We provide immediate service day or night!
SERVPRO of Calgary South provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster in Calgary and surrounding area. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.
- 24-Hour Emergency Service
- Faster to Any-Sized Disaster
- Highly Trained Restoration Technicians
- A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry
- Locally Owned and Operated
- Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment
Have Questions? Call Us 24/7 – (403) 255-0202
Whether your Calgary home needs emergency flood damage or your upholstery cleaned, you can depend on us. Our technicians have extensive cleaning and restoration training and can make your property look its best. Learn more about our residential services:
- Water Damage Restoration
- Fire Damage Restoration
- Mold Remediation
- Storm Damage Restoration
- Cleaning Services
- Building/Reconstruction Services
There's never a convenient time for fire or Water damage to strike your Calgary commercial property. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services we have the training and expertise to respond promptly with highly trained technicians to get your property back to business. Learn more about our commercial services: Commercial Cleaning
- Commercial Water Damage Restoration
- Commercial Fire Damage Restoration
Calgary and Alberta Flood Prevention
Calgary, Alberta Flood prevention and reaction tips
Floods happen and they can be extremely devastating to properties and disruptive to our everyday lives. Some are calling Alberta the “natural disaster capital” of Canada after a study commissioned by the Insurance Bureau of Canada shows that an increase in extreme weather is hitting Alberta insurance companies pretty hard. Not only does this cause a financial and personal burden for families and businesses owners, the livelihood of communities across the province are being affected. Wildfires, floods, hail storms, and other extreme weather conditions continue to sweep in each year causing millions of dollars in damage. Question is, what can we expect moving forward and how can Albertans protect themselves?
Don Forgeron, the President and CEO of Insurance Bureau of Canada made a speech in November of 2015 discussing the dire need of a National Flood program. Forgeron says “A national flood program, we believe, would offer a much more comprehensive and disciplined way to compensate people as a result of damage from flood.” This program would include new sewer and storm-water infrastructures around flood prone areas, create a “culture of flood preparedness” providing a comprehensive list of steps on how to flood proof their properties.
Will this National Flood Program move forward? We will have to wait and see. In the meantime, homeowners/property owners should take all the steps necessary to flood proof their homes and properties. Some of which include the following.
- Know if your home is built on Fill, clay, sand, or gravely soil as these materials can help prevent flood damage.
- Do you have an option to build elevated structures (columns or bearing walls) around your properties or more specifically the areas prone to flood damage?
- Observe the kind of materials of the structure of your house and make sure that it is properly sealed.
- Purchasing sandbags in the event of a flood are a great emergency tool to help prevent water from flowing into your home or property.
While all of these measures will help prevent severe damage in the event of a flood, home owners/property owners should still be educated about their insurance policies should they live in an area prone to flooding. Contact you Insurance company and educate yourself what kind of coverage you have and what is available.
As for a new national flood program, we will have to wait on new developments. Brenda Neufled reports that “IBC is proposing a framework for the financial management of flood risk, with shared responsibilities for the insurance industry, all tiers of government and consumers.” This could mean good news for Albertans living in flood plan areas. Keep an ear out as new aid might be available in the near future for those affected by floods or potential flood victims.
Albertans can also purchase overland flood insurance. This covers any water that flows on top of the land and enters the property from windows, doors, garages, and other openings. Contact your insurance provider today to see if overland flood insurance is right for your property.
Does your Calgary Home Have A Mold (Mould) Problem?
In Calgary, mold can spread through a home in as little as 48 hours.
I know what you're going to ask, "Is it Mold or Mould?"
- In all senses of the word, both spellings are correct. "Mold is typically the American English spelling while "Mould" stems from British English. Being Canadian we all have the pleasure of questioning ourselves on adding that pesky little "U" to many words in our language (Labor or Labour, Favorite or Favourite, ajnd now Mold or Mould). No matter which way you spell it, if you see it give SERVPRO a call.
Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural safe level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 403-255-0202 –
Our Highly Trained Restoration Specialists can restore your Calgary Home
We are proudly an IICRC Certified Firm
Industry standards are very important in business as they not only give the business a baseline of how to conduct business, they also protect the consumers by ensuring the company they choose is qualified.
SERVPRO of Calgary South is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.
IICRC Certified Firms must
• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.
The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry
The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.
Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.
About SERVPRO of Calgary South
SERVPRO of Calgary South specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Meet Our Crew
Keep Your Home Safe This Winter: Cold Weather Housekeeping Tips
Cold winter weather tips and tricks
Keep Your Home Safe!
Since the severe weather has made an appearance (and doesn't seem to be going anywhere) across the country, it's only right if we give you Awesome Tips on keeping your home and business safe!
Tips for Preparing Your Home for Winter Weather
- Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets run through unheated or un-insulated areas of your home.
- Consider shutting off outdoor faucets. Find the shut-off valve in the basement or crawl space and turn it to "off".
- If you follow the previous step, then open the outdoor faucet to help ensure it drains completely and the inner valve is shut off.
- Remove any attachments (hoses or sprinklers) from outdoor faucets, water can build up behind the attachment and freeze
- Ensure gutters are clean and secure. Leaves and debris accumulate, causing a damming effect on gutters, which could lead to roof problems and water damage.
- Proper maintenance of your furnace can help reduce the risk of puff backs.
If you follow these tips, especially on those extreme cold days, your home will stand a better chance against the cruel and cold winter weather.