Nova Scotia

Lawn chairs still outside? Insurers warn you could be liable for damage they cause

Nova Scotians are being advised to secure their property in an effort to limit the damage from hurricane-force winds.

'Please take in anything that could fly through the air'

Emergency officials are asking for objects, like traffic cones, to be picked up in advance of Saturday's high winds. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

Emergency officials are urging Nova Scotians to do their part to try to limit the damage that will be caused by anticipated hurricane-force winds Saturday afternoon.

Forecasters are predicting Hurricane Dorian will sweep across Nova Scotia packing sustained winds of about 120 km/h, with gusts as high as 150 km/h.

"We're urging residents to please take in anything that could fly through the air — lawn umbrellas, lawn furniture, toys, planters," said HRM official Erica Fleck.

"For businesses downtown, those sandwich boards, placards outside, anything that could really be a [projectile] during high wind conditions which we are expecting."

Objects left unattended can become projectiles in hurricane-force winds. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

After complaints from residents and lobbying by a downtown councillor, the city is making an extra effort to pick up discarded furniture and garbage left by students who have recently moved in or out of buildings near university campuses. 

"With students moving out, moving in, there [has] been furniture left by the curbside, so we are actually looking at that right now," Fleck told reporters at an afternoon briefing in the EMO command centre.

The command centre will be staffed around the clock till Dorian passes.

She said construction crews have been advised to remove or secure any loose material and store traffic signs and cones.

Ignoring official warnings could come at a cost, according to Amanda Dean of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

"You could potentially be liable, especially where all levels of government, Environment Canada and a lot of media outlets have been getting a lot of information out there about the heavy winds that we are anticipating," said Dean. "A reasonable person would secure those items."

Dean offered the example of a trampoline being picked up and thrown.

"What that means is if the trampoline in your yard goes through your neighbour's window, it's your insurance policy that will respond in that case. It will be a claim against your insurance policy."

Follow the live weather blog

Keep up-to-date on Hurricane Dorian with the CBC Maritimes live weather blog, updated every day.

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