The holiday rush is coming. People across the country will be shopping for the best deals on the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Your business needs to stand out to catch the eye of every potential customer, but how effective is your sale signage?
A bright, flashy sign may seem like a great idea, but what effect will it have? We addressed how to use psychology for your sale signage in a previous post, and we wanted to expand on the effect of the techniques addressed.
Signs Improve Sales
The purpose of your Black Friday sales is to move product, right? Proper labeling, even for items with unchanged prices, may improve your business’s numbers. Luckily, savvy marketers and researchers have already studied ways to capture sales.
Business Insider references an unpublished MIT study that separated products into three groups. The first was the control; unlabeled at regular price. The second group had their prices reduced by 12% without signage. And, the final group kept the normal price but marked with sale stickers.
The second group had an approximate increase of 17% in sales. But, the third labeled, unchanged-price group sold over 3% more compared to the control. This study’s conclusion demonstrates that sales improve by posting sale signs.¹
The end goal of your signage should be to influence a customer into committing to a sale.
Attracting new customers should be an integral part of your Black Friday sales. Studies show that appealing signage is great at bringing in new business and securing sales.
According to a FedEx survey, 68% of people make a purchase because a sign grabbed their attention. Additionally, 76% of Americans visit a new store based on their signage.²
Color and your product’s appearance also plays a major role in securing sales.
Results of Implementing Colors
Reading how colors influence customers is a great first step towards improving your store’s signage. But, how effective is it? In a previous post, we addressed how color influences people.
To recap; people associate emotions and reactions depending on which colors they see. Reds invoke a faster heartrate, blues elicit a sense of trustworthiness, greens indicate health or prosperity, etc.
What does this mean for your sale signage? Well, as mentioned previously, a large majority of consumers make purchases because a sign caught their eye. Additionally, roughly 93% of people claim that the visual appearance of a product is the main reason for their purchase.³ Furthermore, a study from the SCMS Journal of Indian Management estimates that a customer’s willingness to read and selling potentialincreases by 80% when color is present.4
Prepare for Black Friday
To give your business the best chance at taking advantage of the busiest shopping day of the year, we’ve aggregated some Black Friday statistics and frequently asked questions. Understanding key aspects of Black Friday shoppers and numbers helps in your preparations.
When is Black Friday?
Black Friday is November 29, 2019
How Much Does the Average Person Spend on Black Friday?
Finder estimates that the average person will spend between roughly $252 and $626 depending on their age5
How Many People Shopped on Black Friday?
Over 34 million people shopped in stores in 20186
How Much Did People Spend on Black Friday 2018?
Over $717 billion total between in-store and online7
While there seems to be a downward trend for in-store shopping, ignoring the millions of brick-and-mortar shoppers is ill-advised. Your sale signage can play a major role in ensuring a successful Black Friday and holiday season.
With so many people shopping, both online and in-store, you need to prepare the best deals and signage to stay competitive and catch the eyes of any and all potential customers.
CustomSigns.com is the best online store for ordering high-quality, eye-catching sale signs and business banners. Customization is always free and most orders ship next business day. Attract new customers for Black Friday and special holiday sales with CustomSigns.com.
With winter fast approaching and your holiday sales starting soon, if they haven’t already, you may want to consider some of the psychology behind successful signage. How does color affect customers? What do numbers mean to consumers? These are questions to bear in mind when designing signage for your sales.
How Colors Affect Customers
Since signs are a visual form of advertising, colors play an integral role in the success of your sales. According to The Ultralinx, over 84% of people say that color is the main reason they buy something.¹ With this in mind, the color of your sale signage influences your customers decisions.
The Color Red
Generally, sale and clearance signs are in red, but why? A 2011 study found that grip strength and the velocity of the force increases when a person sees the color red.² The study concludes that red encourages a fast, physical reaction from individuals. Additionally, red conjures up feelings of urgency and can lead to an increased heart rate. With all these factors combined, red is the perfect color to entice shoppers into taking advantage of sales.
What About Other Colors?
Other colors evoke intrinsic reactions as well. Shades of blue instill a sense of trustworthiness and dependability, green hues show health and wealth, and yellows elicit positivity.³ Depending on your business, you may want to play with colors that are in-line with your brand and what you want to convey to your customers. While colors are the first thing consumers notice, what your signage says should further entice a sale.
The Numbers Matter
If you’re planning on adjusting prices for your holiday sales, you may want to consider the specific numbers used. Numbers play an important part in any marketing or advertising campaign, and your signage should reflect that value. Prices ending in 7, 8, or 99 indicate value according Mark Ellwood, who wrote “Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World.” Items priced with “.99” generally advertise special savings while “7” or “8” are usually used for clearance items.4 The psychology behind “.99” comes from the idea that consumers tend to round down these numbers. For example, an item priced at $4.99 is perceived as $4 rather than $5. This plays into how your customers perceive the sales you launch during the holidays. Are your sales meant to convey value or that you are attempting to clear out your stock?
Dollars Signs Are Discouraged
In addition to how your sale prices end, you may want to reconsider including the dollar sign on your signage. Cornell University researchers conducted an experiment with customers of St. Andrew’s Cafe. They made three menus to test which one led to increased sales. One menu listed items with the dollar sign ($), one with the word “dollar” spelled out, and one with nothing next to the prices.
The study found that customers spent more money when they ordered from menus without the “$” or word “dollar.”5 The researchers concluded that the symbol or word solidified the idea that customers would be spending money whereas leaving them out meant the numbers were less concrete in the minds of the consumers.
Suggest Bulk Offers
Offering bulk discounts or sales touting savings for purchasing multiples of the same product is a tried-and-true marketing tactic. Buy one, get one has been around for decades, but advertising bigger can entice consumers to buy even more. John Gourville of Harvard Business School states “many people buy the amount, or buy in increments….”6Consumers perceive an inherent value when a greater number of goods is suggested for the same proportionate deal. Including this method on your holiday signage can help increase sales and move more merchandise.
Home fires are an unpredictable tragedy that can be difficult to recover from. While people are capable of finding their way to safety, pets follow their instincts, which means there is more risk in protecting them during emergencies. There are special considerations you should take to give your pets the best chance of survival in the case of a fire.
As humans, we understand that we need to escape a burning building. However, our pets often revert to their instincts during stressful situations. Many animals will go into familiar hiding places thinking they are safe. They may become agitated or aggressive, making it more difficult to remove them from a fire. Understanding your pet’s behaviors will give you a better chance of saving them during an emergency.
Pet Alert Stickers
Stickers or signs that alert to the presence of animals in your home may help keep them safe. Pet alert stickers are placed on windows or doors to alert firefighters and rescue workers that your household has animals inside.
Do They Work?
There is some question as to whether pet alert stickers and signs actually help keep our animals safe. The question “How do firefighters feel about those ‘Please save our pet(s)’ stickers” on Quora.¹ Most of the responses indicate that firefighters generally ignore these signs. According to the answers, there is no way of knowing if the pet, or pets, are still alive, if the animals are even present, or if the stickers were put in place by a previous occupant. Structural damage caused by a fire makes prolonged searching dangerous, so firefighters don’t seem to put special consideration into pet alert stickers.
However, firefighters generally conduct searches during a fire, if the circumstances allow. Additionally, there are a few responses on Quora from some firefighters stating they appreciate knowing that pets may be present. Ensure that your stickers are updated to reflect the current occupants.
Pet Safety Tips
What can be done to keep our pets safe during a fire? There are a number of precautions you can do in order to prepare for the worst.
1. Note Hiding Places
If your pets hide during thunderstorms or when fireworks are set off near your home, you should take note of their preferred spaces. Animals may tuck themselves under beds, under tables, in closets, or other confined spaces in order to feel safe. During a fire, your pets may hide themselves in one of their favorite spots in an attempt to escape the danger. Knowing where your pets could be can help you and rescue workers retrieve them in time.
2. Keep Kennels Close to Entrances
Many people keep their pets in kennels or crates during the day for various reasons. The locations of where these are kept vary according to house or apartment layout. However, if possible, place kennels, crates, and other animal carriers near entrances or exits while you’re away from home. This makes finding your pets much easier for firefighters and first responders.
3. Post Pet Alert Stickers
While pet alerts may or may not be heeded depending on the level of danger, it is still important to alert firefighters to the presence of your animals. An updated sticker detailing the number of animals in your household can help rescue workers in their search.
4. Train When Possible
It is also easier for first responders to locate your pets if you train them to respond to particular commands. You or emergency personnel, if given the command word or phrase, will then be able to call your pets during the search or out of the burning building.
What are vanity plates? How about custom car tags? Is there a difference between them? You may have seen these terms tossed around while registering or renewing your vehicle’s license plates. The answers to these questions are somewhat nebulous and there isn’t a black-and-white difference between them.
What is a Vanity Plate?
There isn’t a clear-cut way to define vanity plates. Cyber Drive Illinois is one of the few places that provides a definition and contrasts vanity plates with other personalized license plates:¹
“Vanity plates contain up to 3 numbers or 1 to 7 letters only”
“Personalized plates contain both letters and numbers”
Outside of this specific differentiation, the terms personalized license plates, custom car tags, and vanity plates are mostly interchangeable. Vanity plates may apply to purely decorative license plates more frequently, but the term still applies to official tags.
Typically, these terms refer to personalizing required license plates to read specific phrases or names. An important distinction comes into play when considering which states require front license plates.
What States Require Front License Plates?
While many motorists seem to want novelty or unofficial front license plates, there are only a handful of states that allow them. 19 states require the rear license plate only. This means the other 31 states require both front and back license plates. The following states do not require front license plates:²
The above list of states allow custom front license plates that aren’t required to follow established design guidelines or include assigned identifying alphanumeric character combinations. This gives motorists a wide degree of freedom to personalize their vehicles according to their personality and style. Looking for front license plate ideas is a fun way to find inspiration if you live in one of these states.
Advertising with a custom car tag is an easy way to get your company’s name in front of potential customers or clients. Some organizations utilize business license plates as an additional means of marketing their products or services.
However, this does not mean that drivers within these 19 states have complete freedom. There may be restrictions on what phrases or designs are allowed. For example, plates that could be mistaken as official tags for police or government officials. Designs of this nature could potentially pose public security and safety risks.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began requiring chemical manufacturers to label dangerous materials with warning pictograms in June of 2015. The standard helps decrease the risk of injuries, illnesses and accidents caused by exposure to certain chemicals.
OSHA’s standard follows guidelines set by the United Nations. The United Nations established the international system of pictograms to identify chemical hazards, known as the “Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals” (GHS) standards. This system includes distinct visual symbols assigned to each type of risk.
Upholding GHS Standards
Chemical manufacturers are required to make sure any container holding these substances is properly labeled. They must also prepare safety data sheets and provide training. By using the GHS standards, employers and workers can see and understand the same set of hazard labels in different businesses and industries.
According to OSHA, requiring this standard should help “prevent over 500 workplaces injuries and illnesses and 43 fatalities annually.” With a white background, red border and chemical hazard classification, the labels are easy to recognize. Now workers employed at chemical manufacturing companies and employers utilizing certain chemicals can quickly identify risks associated with specific substances.
9 Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) Pictograms
Health Hazard – The health hazard pictogram features a silhouette of a person with respiratory obstructions. It is used for chemicals that can cause cancer, genetic defects, respiratory irritation, reproductive toxicity, organ toxicity and aspiration toxicity. While some hazards relate more to the environment, this pictogram relates to danger to human health. For example, people working in metal production and metal fabrication industries often deal with toxic materials that must include this label.
Flame Sign – The flame sign features a silhouette of a fire flame. It is used to label chemicals that are flammable, self-heating, self-reacting, pyrophoric, contain organic peroxides and emit flammable gas. Work environments ranging from power plants to pharmaceutical companies may house chemical products with this label.
Exclamation Mark – This warning symbol is a simple exclamation mark. It is used for skin and eye irritants, narcotic effects, respiratory tract irritation and acute toxicity. Items with this label require proper storage and handling processes. Workers in electronics, engineering, and construction industries are often at risk for occupational skin diseases from materials with this label.
Corrosion – The corrosion symbol shows chemical vials pouring substances on metal and a hand. The corrosion pictogram distinguishes substances that make cause eye damage and burns. It is also used for substances that destroy metals. People may encounter corrosive substances in oil and gas refineries.
Exploding Bomb – This label features a fragmented circle representing a bomb explosion. It can be used on solids and liquids which are capable of causing damage to the surroundings. These explosive materials may be self-reactive (causing fires without reacting to air), organic peroxides (reacting to heat). Jobs in mining, quarrying, demolition, construction and firefighting may expose workers to these hazards.
Gas Cylinder – This symbol looks like a sideways bottle. It is used for substances that are compressed, liquefied or dissolved gas under pressure. The hazard pressure is set as 29 pounds per square inch or more. Cylinders can become uncontrolled rockets and may contain reactive substances. These types of chemicals are often found in the oil, marine and space industries.
Flame Over Circle – This symbol features an “O”, which stands for “oxygen” with a flame above it. It is used to label oxidizers, which can cause fires by increasing the concentration of oxygen in the air. Workers in the automotive industry and textile plants may encounter these types of substances. Proper storage and handling helps reduce this risk.
Environmental Hazard – The environmental hazard pictogram shows a tree next to a dead fish. It designates aquatic toxicity, which is passed through exposure to water. It can refer to harmful chemicals that may damage human health as well as fish, invertebrates and plants. These risks may be seen in places such as the wastewater management industry and disposal of farming and agriculture chemicals, among other places.
Skull and Crossbones – This symbol, commonly associated with poisonous substances, is used to designate substances with the potential for acute toxicity. With these chemicals, even exposure to a single dose can be toxic or fatal. Exposure can occur through inhalation, swallowing or skin contact. Manufacturers of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, as well as farming industries, may be in places where this label would be placed on substances.
Workers should always check labels which will alert them of specific risks. If less hazardous materials are available, those should be used first. Storage, safe handling, contamination prevention, and external conditions can be major factors in preventing chemical reactions and physical exposure.
Understanding the health hazards, special instructions and emergency procedures can help prevent severe injuries and illnesses, and fatal accidents. Workplace safety signs also include helpful information such as a Signal Word, Substance Name, Hazard Statement and Precautionary Statement. GHS chemical signs can include multiple pictograms, depending on the substance hazards.
The right to vote is an integral element to the United States electoral system. With the 2020 Presidential election rapidly approaching, it is imperative to follow along if you plan on participating. Throughout the next year, there will be many important dates and events to remember in order for you to exercise your right to vote. Passionate support for a candidate is well and good, but making an informed decision on who you vote for is important on guiding the direction of your town, county, state, and country.
We have aggregated major 2020 campaign dates to ensure that you to stay updated during the election season.
While the elections aren’t until November 2020, the campaign trail starts in 2019. The Democratic Party has already held two debates, and there are plans for additional debates before the end of the year.
At the time of writing this post, the Republican Party has not scheduled any debates.
Democratic Debate Schedule
Candidates addressed a variety of topics and their involvement from Medicare for All, environmental dangers, and geopolitical issues. NBC hosted the debates on their networks.¹
Watch the full debates on NBC’s YouTube channel here and here.
Candidates addressed healthcare and immigration primarily. CNN hosted the debates.²
Full transcripts of the debates can be found on NBC’s site here and here.
Candidates primarily debated over healthcare. However, they also touched on foreign relations and pulling forces out of Afghanistan. ABC and Univision aired the most recent Democratic debate.4
The next 2019 Democratic Debate will be held on November 20th and will be hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post.6
Most of the election cycle will take place over the course of 2020. From February until November, candidates will campaign across the country in bids to gain traction over their opponents.
The first part of the season, and by far the largest, will be the states holding primaries or caucuses.
Primary or Caucus?
What is the difference between primaries and caucuses? The difference between the two can be confusing as they accomplish the same goal; they determine which candidates will run for the presidency.
Caucuses are localized meetings where registered voters gather to elect delegates who will attend conventions to elect political candidates. Typically, attendees may only attend caucuses that are held by their registered party.
Primaries are statewide voting processes that allow voters to directly choose their preferred candidate. Registered voters submit secret ballots for their chosen candidate which are then tallied. There are two types of primary; Open Primaries and Closed Primaries. In an open primary, an individual may cast a vote for any valid candidate no matter their registered party, and in a closed primary, votes may only be submitted for candidates within an individual’s party.³
Primary & Caucus Dates
The primaries and caucuses held across the country are scheduled ahead of time for voters to prepare and educate themselves on the potential candidates.
Click here for a full list of primary and caucus dates by state and territory.
Once the primaries and caucuses have ended, the Democratic and Republican parties will hold conventions. These conventions are held to announce the official presidential candidates from each party. The nominations will be announced here and the last few months of campaigning will begin.
Democratic National Convention: July 13-16, 2020
Republican National Convention: August 24-27, 2020
Election day is November 3rd, 2020. In order for you to exercise your right to vote, you will need to register. Each state has its own laws concerning registration deadlines, so be sure you check to see if you are registered or how to register with a site like Vote.org.
Also check to see if your state has early voting procedures or vote by mail options. Military service members and spouses have the option to participate in absentee voting if they are stationed away from their residence.
Find out where your closest polling station is and make sure it is within your precinct, and help others find your station with directional yard signs. You will be assigned a polling station based on your address, so you will need to go there in order to cast your ballot. If you go to a different station, you will not be listed and not allowed to vote.
Inauguration day for the 2020 elections is January 20, 2021. This will mark the start of the new or continued administration based on the results from the election.
Loitering is not easy to define or to control. It is important to understand what constitutes loitering and how you can prevent it from leading to criminal activity on your property. You have likely seen no loitering signs posted in store windows, but what exactly is loitering?
What is loitering?
To loiter, or prowl, means to remain idle in a public place for a protracted time without any apparent purpose. The legal definition of loitering can vary by state, and can also include wearing masks or disguises in public. The essence of loitering is that an individual is engaged in suspicious behavior that causes justifiable concern that a crime will be committed against a person or property.¹
Examples of loitering
Loitering ordinances and statutes enable law enforcement to cut down on crimes such as prostitution, solicitation, panhandling, begging, drug dealing and other illegal acts. Standing outside of a business for a prolonged period of time is not in itself a punishable crime in most places, but is often known to be associated with illegal acts. However, if a business has a visible no loitering sign posted, police can take action against loiterers without other cause.²
Loitering laws give police the right to disperse suspicious or potentially dangerous crowds. The enforcement of loitering ordinances has been met with much controversy over the years.
Is loitering a felony?
Loitering is a subjective offense. In some places, loitering is a crime in and of itself. In other places, police must observe criminal behavior before they can confront a suspected person.
Loitering is most commonly a city or town ordinance, not state law.
Why is loitering an issue?
Loitering is a vague and subjective act and is difficult to punish. Business owners, schools, public spaces and venues often post no loitering signs to help prevent loitering that can lead to criminal behavior. If a person or group of people stands outside of a convenience store late at night, for a prolonged period, they may be suspected of selling drugs, begging, panhandling and more. If not dispersed, loiterers can also grow to become a disorderly or violent crowd.
Moreover, loiterers can deter other customers. When stagnant individuals or large crowds convene around a store entrance, for example, they can make incoming customers feel unsafe. In this case, the store owner may contact police to have the loiterers removed. A business owner, and the police, have grounds to disperse loiterers when there is a visible no loitering sign posted.
How can loitering be prevented/avoided?
There are a few simple steps you can take to reduce the chance of loitering on your public property.
1. Install a security camera and post a surveillance sign.
When people see that your building is under surveillance, they’re much less likely to stick around unnecessarily.
2. Perform regular maintenance and upkeep to your building, parking lot and entrance.
A well maintained commercial property helps deter loiterers. Unruly crowds, graffiti artists, skateboarders, drug dealers and other individuals are likely to avoid well maintained areas due to the heightened chance of police presence. Keep your parking lot free of trash, broken glass and debris. Provide adequate lighting at night and ensure all signage is in maintained and working order.
3. Provide trash and recycling receptacles inside and outside your building
Give people adequate opportunity to properly dispose of waste. This will help cut down on litter, and will let passersby know your business is under watch. There are many recycling signs to choose from that will help reduce litter and support your effort to go green.
4. Remove graffiti and vandalism quickly
If graffiti is painted on your building or in your parking lot, remove it within 24 hours if possible. Walk your business grounds daily to ensure signs, light fixtures and windows are secure and not broken. A well-maintained building lets people know you keep an eye on your property and that police will be contacted in the case of trespassing, loitering or vandalism.
5. Deter overnight loitering by eliminating potential sleeping areas
Unfortunately, transient individuals have no place to call home. They may resort to sleeping on commercial property, and if you’re concerned with overnight loitering on your business grounds, you’ll want to reduce potential sleeping areas. You can do this by locking public restrooms at night, planting thorny bushes, installing dividers or arm rests on benches or by installing gates that are locked after hours.
6. Play loud music or distracting sounds
There are also more unconventional but effective ways to reduce loitering. Many store owners have used music or annoying sounds to disperse crowds. A 7-Eleven owner in Modesto, California, for example, started blasting classical music and operas outside of his store.³
Loud music makes it harder for people to stand around, gossip and cause trouble. Annoying buzzing or screeching sounds can also be used. Store owners can turn these on and off as needed, which reduces the danger of them asking loiterers to leave their property.4
Order No Loitering Signs and Other Property Signs Online
First and foremost, to let customers and passersby know that the shop owner does not condone loitering, vandalism or trespassing, signs must be posted. A posted sign provides the initial warning that certain acts will not be tolerated, and gives the business owner grounds to call law enforcement if a person or group of people refuses to leave the property.
Protecting yourself and your finances following a natural disaster is an integral step in recovering. However, there are those individuals that seek to take advantage of victims of catastrophes in order to make a quick buck. Keeping an eye out for and understanding how solicitors, both legitimate and fraudulent, operate in the wake of a severe storm, fire, earthquake, flood, or other disaster can help you maintain peace of mind while you rebuild.
Before getting into what to beware of considering solicitors, what are the kinds of natural disasters in the United States?
Natural Disasters by Region
The United States has many different climates and regions. As such, there are just as many types of natural disasters that can happen.
Having a base knowledge of what disasters impact your region and what region your state is a part of will help in identifying and preparing for how solicitors may approach you. It is important to note that some disasters, such as heavy flooding and tornadoes, are possible with varying levels of frequency throughout the United States. The following list outlines specific catastrophes that solicitors may take advantage of per region.
The West Region of the United States covers a lot of ground with many different environments. This means a wide variety of natural disasters are possible and occur within this region. California, southern Alaska, and southwestern Montana are prone to earthquakes; Hawaii, Washington, and Alaska have volcanoes, not to mention the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming; eastern Colorado is caught in Tornado Alley, a section of the central United States where tornadoes frequently form;² fires tear through many of these states due to the dry climate; and intense cold and blizzards may occur in the more northern states.³
With such a variety of climates, many contracting businesses may seek to take advantage of many different disasters. Plumbing companies looking to repair broken and frozen pipes during a harsh winter; roofing and siding businesses seeking to take advantage of the strong winds from tornadoes and severe storms; and construction companies mobilizing after destructive earthquakes and fires are just a few of the kinds of solicitors to beware of.
States: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas¹
The states that comprise the Southwest Region typically suffer from weather-related emergencies. Due to the more hot and dry climate, these states are prone to massive dust storms. Oklahoma and Texas are part of Tornado Alley with the latter having an average of over 150 tornadoes per year according to a 1991-2010 study.4 While uncommon, earthquakes are known to happen within the Southwest Region. Parts of Arizona and New Mexico are prone to the formation of sinkholes due to the underlying karst topography, areas of land where bedrock has been weathered by water.5
Due to the frequency of tornadoes, many roofing, siding, and general contractors may flock to disaster sites. Insurance agents and scammers may also seek to take advantage of a catastrophe. Given the unique geological nature of the southwest, individuals offering sinkhole insurance could gather.
States: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio¹
The Midwest Region suffers from a number of disasters attributed to weather but there are instances of geological concerns as well. Most of Tornado Alley is found within the Midwest as it spans from South Dakota and stretches south down as far as Texas.³ However, much of the Midwest suffers from tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. The northern states are often bombarded with severe winter storms and blizzards. Despite not having many mountainous areas, the New Madrid and Wabash seismic zones along the southern edge of Missouri and Illinois can cause earthquakes, and similarly to Arizona and New Mexico, much of the Midwest is prone to sinkholes due to the formation of carbonic acid that eats away at underlying bedrock.6 Due to the relatively flat topography, the Midwest is especially prone to severe flooding.
Much like the southwest and with more frequency, the destruction that results from tornadoes draws roofing and other contractors and insurance agents offering coverage may flock to the midwest. With severe winter storms, window companies, roofing contractors, and plumbing businesses may take advantage of harsh blizzards and prolonged snowfall. Insurance agencies and construction companies will also take opportunity in the wake of sinkholes and earthquakes.
States: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine¹
Comparatively speaking, the Northeast Region of the United States suffers from few natural disasters. The most severe occur during harsh winters with heavy snowfall, blizzards, and freezing winter storms that can cause property damage and presents hazards to travel and health. Heavy rainfall is a possibility as hurricanes move up along the east coast.
Like the midwest, contractors and other solicitors will see heavy snowfall as an opportunity to sell their services and policies.
States: Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida¹
Comprising most of the continental United States’ east coast, the Southeast region has had some of the most costly natural disasters in the nation’s history. The most well-known and destructive catastrophes for this region are the hurricanes that impact many of the coastal states, and the remaining rainfall can extend further north and inland. However, with the New Madrid, Wabash, and other seismic zones along the northern edge of the region and South Carolina area, earthquakes are not uncommon.7 Additionally, while the main stretch of Tornado Alley resides within the Midwest, it does partially stretch into Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky², and many of the other states within the Southeast are prone to tornadoes such as Florida which has an estimated 66 tornadoes on average per year.4
Many different types of contracting businesses will take advantage of hurricanes and quote the destruction they cause. Tree removal services, siding contractors, roofing companies, and many other types of construction businesses will offer their services before, during, and after a hurricane.
Now with a basic understanding of what natural disasters can occur in your region, what solicitors should you be aware of?
Solicitors To Look For
Opportunity seeking and unscrupulous solicitors may become a problem following any disaster. As many people will begin rebuilding, searching for loved ones, or simply recovering, these individuals see a chance to take advantage of victims and their families. With the many different types of catastrophes and emergencies that occur within the United States, so too is there a variety of solicitors for every situation.
Most solicitors will belong to insurance companies or contracting businesses offering services for victims to recover. They may go door-to-door following a disaster or may send out physical mail detailing the services with provide. However, there is potential that these individuals are making false claims and are attempting to take advantage of victims. Be wary of anyone asking for money up-front or for simply approaching your property.
Among the solicitors to watch out for following a natural disaster include contractors. Construction, roofing, siding, and other companies, or individuals claiming to be from one, may send salespeople to an area recently hit by severe weather such as a hurricane or tornado or by a particularly strong earthquake in an attempt to solicit business.
Fraudulent contractors use a variety of tactics to mislead their victims, but there are ways to identify them. Examples include asking for a large portion of the payment up-front and claiming to not need a building permit.8
Other solicitors include insurance company agents and representatives. Following a natural disaster, both legitimate and fraudulent individuals representing insurance companies may attempt to coerce victims to purchase their company’s policies.
A recent tactic scammers have turned to is claiming to represent a specific agency, apply for a policy in your name with your permission, cancelling the policy, and keeping the money you paid them. These fraudulent agents, or “Ghost Brokers,” offer inexpensive prices in order to entice people. Some ways to identify these individuals include if they ask for cash-only payments in person, though payment apps are sometimes used, if they contact you through social media only, and if they claim to establish a policy without putting you in contact with the company directly.9
Even if their services are legitimate, door-to-door solicitors need the proper paperwork in order to legally approach your home or business.
Many places across the United States, such as Dallas, TX and Sandy Springs, GA among others, require businesses who use door-to-door marketing to apply for soliciting permits from their local government. The requirements for these permits vary but they are generally meant to prevent fraudulent individuals from offering nonexistent or low-quality goods and services. Some of these permits only grant businesses an allotted amount of time, such as those found in Sandwich, from the above example. Some cities and areas within the United States require solicitors to carry their permits on their person and to present it if asked, such as in Plano, TX.
Solicitation permits are a way to protect both consumers and legitimate businesses. While the processes may differ from state to state and city to city, most solicitors need to follow the same basic ideas and regulations such as heeding no soliciting signs.
Being aware of your local laws concerning solicitation permits following a natural disaster can help you protect your finances while you, your family, or your business recover.
Recovering from a natural disaster can be a long, arduous task and remaining mindful of solicitors and how to protect your stability is an important part of this process. Help ease the burden with CustomSigns.com and our line of property signs including no soliciting and no trespassing designs and templates.
Educators have struggled with mobile phone use in the classroom for years, and with the constant growth of the tech industry, those struggles will most likely continue to plague schools across the country into the foreseeable future. According to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center, “95% of teens…have or have access to a smartphone….”1 With that many mobile devices, teachers have been running into obstacles considering student distractions and dropping grade scores.
How do cell phones affect our students’ learning capabilities?
Student Cell Phone Statistics
Research tends to present a correlation between cell phone use and declining academic performance. A 2015 study in England showed an over 6% increase in performance across four schools that banned mobile phone usage.2 Additionally, another study showed that students not using phones “…scored a full letter grade and a half higher on a multiple choice test than those students who were actively using their mobile phones.”3
Research is continually ongoing as widespread cell phone use is still relatively new. With this information, how are educators approaching the issues?
Adapting to the Times
Some teachers see cell phones as a learning opportunity and use them as teaching tools. Mobile phones have evolved into small, handheld computers, so information is almost immediately available for students wanting to look up the definition of a word or concept they don’t understand. Some educators, such as Ken Halla, have altered their approach to their classroom by allowing open use of phones in class so long as the students use them for their education.4
There are also a number of applications and resources available for educators to enhance their lessons. Programs like PollEverywhere.com and Remind.com help students, teachers, and parents in gauging comprehension and improving organization.
Other teachers, like Stephanie Jones of Biscayne Elementary, haven’t had issues concerning cell phones in their classroom. “Cell phone use has been a non-issue in my teaching career,” says Jones.
Despite the move with technology, many institutions choose to restrict mobile devices on campus.
School Mobile Phone Bans & Restrictions
While some educators are resorting to adapting their curriculum around mobile devices, many schools take to removing cell phones as an obstacle all together, posting “No Cell Phone” signs or requiring students to drop off their devices at the office. Blanket bans like these have shown to improve test scores. However, many schools find it difficult or impossible to enforce zero tolerance bans on mobile devices.
Amy Eardley of Creekside High School takes a middle approach; not outright banning phones but not allowing the use of mobile devices in her class. However, even that proves more difficult in practice.
“For my own sanity, I had to give up on policing phones. Most of the kids will put them away when I walk by and give them a ‘what are you doing look’. Some will stay in them all year and will have a grade that matches their effort. I do occasionally have reminder chats with the whole group that the effort we put in isn’t forgotten when report card time comes around and that students who don’t spend the whole time on their phone will be looked upon more favorably when it comes to grades right on the border of lettergrades.”
Some institutions resort to signal jammers, devices that interfere with the radio wavelengths of mobile devices. However, the use of such items is illegal, as according to the FCC, “…it is a violation of federal law to use a cell jammer or similar devices that intentionally block, jam, or interfere with authorized radio communications such as cell phones, police radar, GPS, and Wi-Fi.”5
As our technology advances and becomes more and more mobile, schools and other institutions may face further difficulty in controlling the use of phones and other devices.
What are your thoughts on cell phones in our schools? How would/do you handle mobile devices in the classroom? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts, and for all of your signage needs, visit CustomSigns.com.
Take responsibility for your environmental footprint by managing your own water consumption. If you are not paying attention, daily water usage can easily accumulate. Without maintaining good habits and paying attention to home plumbing, you can waste this precious resource and end up with a hefty water bill.
How to Check Your Water Usage
To manage water consumption well, you need to know how much water you are using. You can figure this out using your home’s water meter.
1. Finding Your Water Meter
For most houses, you can find your meter in a labeled concrete or plastic box outside. You may need a long screwdriver to lift the lid. Often these are found by the driveway, in front of the house by the curb, or in the basement. For some houses these water meters and pipes are on the side of the house.
If you cannot find your water meter, you can call your landlord, property manager, or local utilities company for information about where the meter is located on your specific property.
2. Start with a 20 Minute Leak Check
Check for a leak by getting readings 20 minutes apart. First, make sure there is no water running anywhere in the house. This means toilets, household faucets, showers, washing machines, dishwashers, sprinklers, and pool systems should not be in use. Next, write down the reading from the numeric band.
After 20 minutes (where you haven’t used any water), write down the new reading. If during that interval more than a gallon is used, you may have a leak. Note: this may be caused by automatic water refills on your property from the pool to the ice maker. When you check for areas that may be damp or leaking, you can also check for any water sources you may have left running.
3. Evaluate General Consumption with a 24 Hour Check
Similar to the above meter check, you can evaluate your consumption by recording the water meter readings at interval times. However, this time you will use your water sources as normal and take down the new total 24 hours later. Subtract the old total from the new one to get your household usage. Divide that by the number of inhabitants and you will have the approximate individual usage per day.
4 Types of Conservation Signs to Curb Water Waste
Water conservation often begins with raising awareness by placing signs by frequently used water sources such as kitchen sinks, bathrooms, and hoses. Signs provide helpful reminders, warnings, alerts, guidelines, requests, and restrictions. All of these signs are designed to change wasteful water habits.
Four types of water usage signs you may encounter include:
Outdoor Drought Signs – These are often related to the usage of sprinklers, hoses and other types of irrigation during severe droughts.
Sink Signs – These remind people using facets to turn off tightly. These can be found in the home, restaurants and other businesses.
Bathroom Signs – These provide guidelines such as a recommendation to turn off water when brushing teeth, take shorter showers, or limiting the amount of water used for baths.
Custom Conservation Signs – Businesses and homeowners may customize signs for use of everything from pool cleaning to dishwashing and laundry areas. Other custom water signs feature How-To’s for checking water meters, directions for what to do in case of leak detection, and warnings related to reclaimed or recycled water.
How You Can Start Saving Water
Begin by searching for possible leaks that are currently occurring in your home. The EPA estimates that Leaky faucets can result in nearly 50 gallons of wasted water in a week. To get a broader perspective, consider that an undetected leak of 0.1 gallon per minute wastes 4,320 gallons per month.
You can troubleshoot to find out whether or not a leak is occurring inside or outside your home by turning off the inside and outside valves and seeing if the leak indicator continues to change. You may discover hard to find leaks in the walls, under your home, or by the water meter or valves. Other signs of leakage include excess water condensation and unusual amounts of mold in areas outside of the bathroom.
Being aware of your water consumption goes beyond your home. Try and limit your water usage in the workplace as well. Take a moment to learn about water conservation for business here.
What is an Appropriate Water Use by Family Size?
The average person uses around 80-100 gallons of water per day, according to water.usgs.gov. In certain states, legislators have pushed for future laws that will restrict individuals to 55 gallons per day. In some areas, there are outdoor water usage restrictions put into place during droughts.
For now, you can help prevent water waste by setting a household water usage budget goal or simply reducing the amount you currently use. You can evaluate your own usage patterns by using a water usage calculator. The simple act of looking at how you use water and where you overuse it most can help you quickly identify areas for improvement.
If you want to know more about water usage rules and guidelines for your property, visit the website of your utilities provider and local water management agency. State governments and city governments create regulations which may be related to droughts and environmental initiatives, so laws often vary from city to city.