From the Archives: Be Prepared

spork Although some of the ProfHacker team would probably do better than others in handling a bear attack or the zombie apocalypse, in general I think it’s fair to say that part of the ProfHacker mindset includes the old maxim “Be Prepared.” A little action now can save you a lot of time and frustration should something unexpected occur.

Prepare for the Weather

As we head into fall, it’s worth revisiting George’s Anticipate the Commute (and the comments by other PHers), which recommends updating your regular auto maintenance tasks and switching out the summertime items in your trunk for rain, mud, and snow gear as appropriate for your region.

At a more pedestrian level, how many umbrellas do you have? Do you have them where and when you need one? Pick up a couple cheap ones to keep in your office or in your car for those mornings when you forget to check the forecast.

Back Up Your Digital Life

We write about backups a lot, precisely because it’s very easy to put off backing up your files. But once something bad happens (power outage, hard drive failure, etc) you don’t get extra points for thinking about backups, only for actually creating them. So go ahead, back up your stuff already:

Prepare for Emergencies

Few of us want to think about the possibility of deeply disruptive or dangerous events occurring on our campuses, in our classrooms, or in our personal lives. But, as we know from recent events this year and in past years, things can happen.

When I wrote In Case of Emergency, I suggested two steps that take only a few minutes and can make a big difference: make your own emergency contact information available for rescue personnel and have your campus emergency numbers programmed into your phone. Only eight days later, Jason commented that a medical situation arose in his classroom requiring campus dispatch. His post on Managing Medical Emergencies offers good advice and resources.

Guest author Courtney Danforth expands the topic of Disaster Planning and the Academic Career to remind us that being prepared might not simply mean preparing for your own well-being but also being prepared to help serve others in times of need.

How do you prepare for the unexpected? Let us know in the comments.

[Creative Commons licensed photo by Flickr user icyfrance]

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