FirstOnSite Restoration: Everything you need to know
FirstOnSite Restoration is a Canadian disaster restoration company that offers remediation, restoration, and reconstruction services to clients from coast to coast, and has been doing so under its current name since 2007. The company also provides its services for the US large loss and commercial market. FirstOnSite Restoration is a vendor for many insurance companies, providing 24/7 emergency service to firms in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.
The restoration firm’s US involvement dates back to 2012, when the company opened an office in Nashville, TN to provide its services to the commercial market south of the border. Then in May 2016, FirstOnSite teamed up with US-based Interstate Restoration, further expanding its resources.
FirstOnSite Restoration in the news
May 2014: Restoration company launches customer-direct mobile app
January 2018: FirstOnSite Restoration opens new branch in Quebec
January 2018: FirstOnSite Restoration highlights danger zones after bomb cyclone
November 2018: FirstOnSite expands Ontario team with new appointments
August 2019: FirstOnSite Restoration enters agreement to purchase JPL Disaster Recovery in Ottawa
September 2019: FirstOnSite Restoration completes acquisition of JPL Disaster Recovery
September 2019: FirstOnSite names vice president of commercial operations
Key people as of 2020
Dave Demos – CEO
Demos came onboard at FirstOnSite in July 2009, first as a member of the board of directors. Not long after, he was appointed chief executive officer in August 2010. Prior to the role, he held senior leadership positions in both the property and furniture restoration industries for more than three decades.
He’s also an entrepreneur. In 1989, Demos founded Action Fire Restoration, which later became a subsidiary of InStar Services Group, a US-based disaster restoration company. He held the position of president and chief executive officer of InStar up until his work for FirstOnSite.
Under the leadership of Demos, and specifically from 2003 to 2009, the business was integrated from four separate entities with 15 branches into a single company with expertise in commercial restoration and large-loss catastrophe work. The company grew from having offices in 12 states to 38 states, an expansion for which Demos was instrumental.
Outside of the office, Demos is active in industry associations. He founded the northeast division of Disaster Kleenup International, the restoration industry’s largest trade association, and served as VP from 1992 to 1995. He has also been a member of the Association of Cleaning and Restoration Specialists and of the National Institute of Disaster Restoration. Today, Demos serves on the board of directors for AAA Pioneer Valley and is a lecturer for the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum.
FirstOnSite offers resources and tools to its clients to help them prevent major damage to their properties after a disaster. Its experts also offer tips through thought leadership. For example, during the winter of 2019, Jim Mandeville, senior project manager of Large Loss North America at FirstOnSite Restoration, recommended that property owners look out for icicles. If a neighbourhood has lots of icicles, there will inevitably be properties suffering from ice damming, he noted.
“It’s important to manage the debris in your gutters, which is a big contributor to ice damming, as well as the insulation in your attic and the amount of heat loss from within your building,” Mandeville told Insurance Business. “When we have a lot of snow like this and we have temperatures that fluctuate between slightly above and below zero, we can get that build-up of ice on the eave – and that’s detected by the presence of large icicles. Those icicles may look pretty, but unfortunately that water might end up in your living room.”
The company has also played an important role in the wildfires in Western Canada. In fact, FirstOnSite has been on the frontlines of the decade’s largest forest fires, including 2017’s BC wildfires, the catastrophic Fort McMurray wildfire in 2016, and the Slave Lake wildfire in 2011. The firm released some top tips to help property owners mitigate their wildfire exposures.
“We would advise any property owner, whether commercial or personal, to create a 10-metre defensible space around their property, which means clearing away any highly combustible material like twigs, branches, leaves, brush, wood piles and mulch,” said William Elliot, branch manager (Calgary) for FirstOnSite. “We also suggest making sure your roof is fire-resistant, using materials like asphalt, metal, slate or tile, and regularly clearing gutters of any debris.”