What's the first thing you'd do when a hurricane warning sounds in the middle of a job? A ToolBase TechNote entitled "Hurricane Preparedness for Builders," by the NAHB Research Center of Upper Marlboro, Md., offers a preparation plan (reprinted with permission at right), which itemizes tasks you might not have thought about beforehand.

In addition to the tasks on this checklist, the TechNote includes a number of other important considerations to be made both before and immediately after the storm. Some of the key preparations, which may not be so obvious at first, include:

• Review your insurance coverage; be aware if you have contents coverage, replacement value, and loss of business coverage.

• Keep important telephone numbers with you. Develop a "telephone tree" with important members of your company and also develop a contingency plan to operate out of another site, if needed.

• Establish a contact point out of the area, so your employees and subs can keep in touch. Don't depend just on your cell phone; use the phone of a friend, relative, or other builder friend outside your area for contact. Make sure your customers and suppliers know where to reach you.

• Secure adequate cash to operate for several days.

With the right preparation, your site and your business will be better able to weather the storm.

For more information, visit the NAHB Research Center's ToolBase Services, www.toolbase.org.