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A summer of sun and storms: Safety tips for extreme weather in Richmond Hill

Ontario is likely to see more stormy weather throughout this summer as the heat and humidity and several cold fronts track across the region.
July 5, 2022

Do you have a "go bag" at home? Do you know who to call in case of a power outage? What about fallen trees on your property after storms?

The City of Richmond Hill, along with Richmond Hill Fire and Emergency Services, recently released five emergency preparedness tips to help residents to stay safe in case of severe storm and extreme weather this summer.

The tips came about a month after hurricane-force winds uprooted trees, ripped shingles from roofs and sent debris strewn across York Region on the Victoria Day weekend. At the height of the storm, 119,000 customers were without power.

Ontario is likely to see more stormy weather throughout this summer as the heat and humidity and several cold fronts track across the region.

To stay safe in case of extreme weather, here are five tips to bear in mind:

Make a plan --- Having a family emergency plan will save time and make emergency situations less stressful. It should include where you would stay if you had to leave your home quickly, what to do if separated from family, how to assist members of your household with medical needs, what you need for your pets and other considerations. Know your neighbours, especially those who may need assistance during an emergency.

Create an emergency kit --- Everyone should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. You may need to get by without power or tap water and it could take emergency services time to reach you. An emergency kit --- filled with food, water, clothing, medicine, money (small bills), batteries, device power cables and other supplies --- will help sustain you until services are restored or help arrives. You should also have a "go bag" ready in case you need to evacuate quickly.

Be weather aware --- Pay attention to weather conditions and warnings. Seek shelter immediately if a warning is issued or you think one may occur. If you can’t get inside, stay away from trees, telephone poles, wires, fences or anything metal.

Stay clear of downed power lines --- Stay at least 10 metres away (the length of a school bus) from downed power lines, and call 911 immediately.

Know who to contact --- Call 911 if you need immediate help from fire, police or ambulance services. Here are some other key contacts to know:

Power outage: To report or find information on power outages, contact Alectra Utilities at 1-877-963-6900, visit or follow them on Twitter at @alectranews.

Damaged or fallen trees on public property: Report them using Richmond Hill’s online customer service portal or contact Access Richmond Hill at or 905-771-8800. Note: trees on private property are the responsibility of the property owner and it may be best to consult an arborist.

Private tree debris disposal: Visit for collection guidelines or contact Access Richmond Hill at 905-771-8800 or

Depending on the amount of damage following a storm, it can take some time for crews to clean up and complete repairs. Thank you in advance for your patience as we work to do so as quickly and safely as possible. You can stay up to date on information about city services following a significant storm by visiting or following the city on Twitter at @myRichmondHill.

For more information on how to protect yourself and your loved ones during severe summer weather, including how to build an emergency kit and make an emergency plan, visit