Storm Update: President Obama has declared a State of Emergency in Maryland, VA, and DC. We should expect 60-80 MPH winds for up to 24 hours, tons of rain and possibly even snow. The storm is 500 miles wide. The storm is coming our way, and it will likely hit in Delaware, NJ or Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

We are still about 24 hours away from the worst of this storm ….this gives enough time for our friends, family and clients to do what they need to do to be sure that they are prepared. We pray that all our friends, family and clients will be safe and endure this difficult weather coming in the days ahead.

1. The Basics: Fill your car with gas, stock up on food (non-perishables), withdraw cash from the ATM, and make sure that you have flashlights, a first aid kit and extra batteries (Have you noticed it’s impossible to find “D” batteries?). A battery operated radio is a great idea too.

2. Evacuations: If you are told to evacuate, then PLEASE EVACUATE. This is common sense. This has the potential to be the type of natural disaster that we honestly have not seen around here in our lifetime. I know that Ocean City, MD has already been told to evacuate.

3. Loose Items: Tie down loose items in your yard, on your deck and on your porch (e.g. chairs, umbrellas, grille). Take what you can in-doors. With 60-80 mph winds do what you can to make sure that items do not come flying into your home and/or cars. Move potted plants indoors.

4. Insurance Claims: Keep in mind that most people who do not live close to the shore in Maryland, DC and Virginia do not have flood insurance. Homeowner’s insurance will usually cover claims related to wind damage but not claims related to flood damage. Therefore, take pictures/video and do what you can to document that damage was caused by wind as opposed to from flood water. Be careful about giving recorded statement to insurance adjusters because they may ask tricky questions to try to get you to say that the damage was caused by water/floods as opposed to by wind. Our friends at the insurance companies ALWAYS ARGUE THAT DAMAGE IS CAUSED BY FLOOD DAMAGE AS OPPOSED TO WIND DAMAGE. We need to be ready for this!!!

5. Power Outages: Be prepared for long term power outages. Why would we expect anything else from our friends at PEPO, BGE, and Constellation Energy? Be sure to have a good supply of bottled water and non-perishables to eat.

6. Cell Phones: Be sure that your cell phones are charged, and that you have easy access to your car charger so that if power goes out you can charge your cell phone in your car.

7. Water: If power goes out it is possible that we could lose access to our water supply. It is a good idea to stockpile some water in case this happens.

8. It is a good idea to board up any glass windows to protect from flying debris.

9. IMPORTANT-If you know people who are frail, weak, homeless, sick, handicapped, elderly or alone, and if you feel that you have a relatively safe place to host them, consider inviting them over to weather the storm with you.

Again, our thoughts and prayers are with all of our friends, family and clients.