What is the Difference Between Personalized & Vanity Plates?

Vintage Car with an Old License Plate

Custom Car Tags vs Vanity License Plates

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?

Car with a Decorative Front License 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?

License Plate Art Featuring Many States

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

Alabama Michigan
Arizona Misissippi
Arkansas New Mexico
Delaware North Carolina
Florida Oklahoma
Georgia Pennsylvania
Indiana South Carolina
Kansas Tennessee
Kentucky West Virginia
Louisiana

Personalized Tropical Front License PlateThe 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.

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CustomSigns.com is your one-stop-shop for all of your signage needs including decorative car tags and political license plates. Whatever your signage needs, CustomSigns.com’s wide variety of signs, banners, and decals are sure to satisfy.

Other posts you may like:

References:

  1. Cyber Drive Illinois
  2. Autolist

2020 Presidential Campaign Dates

Interracial Group of People Waving Small American Flags

[UPDATED: 10/4/19]

Election Dates

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.

2019 Dates

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

  • June 26-27
  • 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.

  • July 30-31
  • 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.

  • September 12
  • 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

    You can read the full transcript of the third Democratic debate on ABC’s website or watch the debate on ABC’s YouTube Channel.

  • October 15-16
  • The October debates are scheduled for the 15th and may run over into the 16th. CNN and The New York Times will host and report on the debate.5

  • November: TBA
  • December: TBA

2020 Dates

Zoomed in Portion of the American Flag

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.

Party Conventions

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.

Convention Dates:

  • Democratic National Convention: July 13-16, 2020
  • Republican National Convention: August 24-27, 2020

Voting Reminders

Word Board Reads "Voting Day," "I Voted" Stickers Next to Sign

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.

Yard Sign featuring the Seal of the President of the United States, Text Reads "2020 Presidential Candidates"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

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.

 

CustomSigns.com is your destination for all of your election and political signage. Find proposition signs, signs for local elections, signs by presidential candidate, and more.

Get Out the Vote, Shop Political Signs, Get 20% Off Next Order with Code VOTE2020, Vote Sign on Lawn in Front of House

We will update this post when new information becomes available.

Primary & Caucus Dates

NOTE: Many of these dates are still subject to change.

Month Date State & Type
February 3rd Iowa caucuses
11th New Hampshire primaries
22nd Nevada Democratic caucuses
29th South Carolina Democratic primary
March 3rd Alabama Primaries
American Samoa Democratic caucus
Arkansas primaries
California primaries
Colorado primaries
Maine primaries
Massachusetts primaries
Minnesota primaries
North Carolina primaries
Oklahoma primaries
Tennessee primaries
Texas primaries
Utah primaries
Vermont primaries
Virginia primaries
Democrats Abroad primaries
8th Puerto Rico Republican primary
10th Hawaii Republican caucuses
Idaho primaries
Michigan primaries
Mississippi primaries
Missouri primaries
North Dakota Democratic caucuses
Washington primaries
12th Virgin Islands Republican caucus
14th District of Columbia Republican convention
Guam Republican caucus
Northern Marianas Democratic convention
Wyoming Republican conventions
17th Arizona Democratic primary
Florida primaries
Illinois primaries
Northern Marianas Republican convention
Ohio primaries
21st Kentucky Republican caucuses
24th American Samoa Republican caucus
Georgia primaries
29th Puerto Rico Democratic primary
April 3rd-5th North Dakota Republican state convention
4th Alaska Democratic primary
Hawaii Democratic primary
Louisiana primaries
7th Wisconsin primaries
Wyoming Democratic caucuses
28th Connecticut primaries
Delaware primaries
Maryland primaries
New York primaries
Pennsylvania primaries
Rhode Island primaries
May 2nd Guam Democratic caucus
Kansas Democratic primary
5th Indiana primaries
12th Nebraska primaries
West Virginia primaries
19th Kentucky Democratic primary
Oregon primaries
June 2nd District of Columbia Democratic primary
Montana primaries
New Jersey primaries
New Mexico primaries
South Dakota primaries
6th Virgin Islands Democratic caucuses
Cancelled Alaska Republican conventions
Arizona Republican primary
Kansas Republican caucuses
Nevada Republican caucuses
South Carolina Republican primary

References:

  1. Ballotpedia – June 2019 Democratic Debates
  2. Ballotpedia – July 2019 Democratic Debates
  3. FactCheck
  4. Ballotpedia – September 2019 Democratic Debates
  5. Ballotpedia – October 2019 Democratic Debates

Stop Solicitors After the Storm

Lightning and a Tornado Strike Down on a Rural Hillside, Buildings dot the Landscape

Natural Disasters & Solicitors

Table of Contents
Natural Disasters by Region
West Region
Southwest Region
Midwest Region
Northeast Region
Southeast Region
Solicitors to Beware Of
Contractors
Insurance Agents
Soliciting Permits
References

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

Map of the Continental United States of America

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.

West Region

States: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Alaska, and Hawaii¹

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.

Southwest Region

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.

Midwest Region

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.

Northeast Region

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.

Southeast Region

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

Two Business People Walking Towards the Camera

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.

Bilingual No Soliciting Sign Near Front Door

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.

Contractors

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

Insurance Representatives

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.

Soliciting Permits

Person Signing a Document on a Wooden Desk with a Silver Fountain Pen

The town of Sandwich, Illinois was hit by a severe storm earlier this year. In the aftermath, roofing solicitors from out of town began approaching residents while their local contractors waited on background checks in order to receive a permit allowing them to go door-to-door.

Store Front with a Glass Pane Door, a "We're Open Sign" Hangs on the Inside

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.

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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.

 

Related Posts:

References:

  1. National Geographic
  2. EnchantedLearning
  3. ePact Network
  4. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  5. Teacher Friendly Guide: Ch. 9
  6. Teacher Friendly Guide: Ch. 10
  7. Virginia Tech Seismological Observatory
  8. Houselogic
  9. Allstate

 

Cell Phones in the Classroom

Teacher Writes on Chalkboard while Student Texts on their Cell Phone

How Teachers Handle Cell Phones in Class

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

Pencils, Pens, and a Cell Phone on a Composition Notebook

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

Tablet Resting on Book on a Table Desk

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

Classroom with No Cell Phones Sign by Door

No Cell Phones Sign on a Chain Link Fence
“No Cell Phones” Signs

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

 

Library with Quiet Please Sign
“Quiet Please – Important Work in Progress” Sign

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.

 

Related Posts

References

Signs Every Business Needs

There are many aspects to making sure your business runs smoothly and effectively. Advertising, finance, and customer service are just 3 of the many roles that serve a huge part in your business’s success. While these are all essential duties, making sure your customers have a pleasurable experience may be the most vital task. Clearly displayed business hours, designated parking spaces and handicap accessible restrooms show customers that you care. By installing signage inside and around your building, you’re telling your customers they can trust you.

Here is a list of signs that every business should display:

Grand Opening

Once your storefront has come together, you’ll want to let customers and clients know you are open for business. Personalizing a grand opening banner can inform onlookers that you are up and running. Drive customers in with creative designs, a custom logo, and opening promotions. You will want to include your company name, phone number, location and web address. Give your hard work the recognition it deserves and make sure you implement enough advertisement to bring in excited customers.

Parking Spots

After attracting the customers to your store, make it easy for them to park and walk in. Depending on your location you may have storefront parking, a stand-alone lot, or street parking. Show customers you care about their convenience and display signs for your business’s designated parking spots.

You can get creative and design your own parking sign or order a pre-made template. Before installing a sign, find out if you are authorized to make those changes. Whether you need to contact the city or the owner of the complex your store is in, take the time to get the information you need.

If you can’t hold certain spots available, you can display a sign informing future customers where available parking lots/spots are for those who wish to enter your business.

Hours of Operation

It is wonderful to gain repeat customers and loyal clients! While you and your staff work hard to keep your store up and running, you can only stay open for so long. Displaying a sign that solely contains business hours is essential. Clings and decals can be placed in the window by the front door, or you can hang a sign for optimal visibility. If hours are flexible or you just opened and are figuring out your hours of operation, you can display a reversible open/closed sign. You can hang it next to your hours of operation sign and flip it depending on if your store is open or closed.

Restroom Signs

Whether you serve food, goods, or service, you most likely have restrooms for your patrons. It can be hard to spot the bathroom if you do not display signage. You can help point them in the right direction with a directional sign. You’ll be surprised how helpful a simple arrow sign can be to a customer who is unfamiliar with your building.

Once they get to the designated restroom, make sure you distinguish the type of lavatories provided. Are your bathrooms for men and women, family, and/or handicap accessible? Show it!

Depending on your establishment, you may or may not be required to provide a washroom for customers to use. Make sure to check your state and local laws when finding a place for your business.

In Case of Emergency

While you should be taking the proper precautions to prevent any emergencies from occurring, accidents still happen. If a problem does arise, it is imperative that you have had emergency signs placed to ensure staff and customer safety.

Mark the proper doors as emergency exits and use a directional sign so people can locate the fire extinguisher. If your place of business has multiple floors, make sure to use a sign that states using the stairs in case of an emergency. For any tripping hazards, you should use a caution watch your step sign.

 

 

Keep your business running safe and effectively by displaying the proper signage. This is both a courtesy to your customers, but will also help protect your business from liability. Customize signs or order templates to make sure you convey important information to customers, clients, and staff. For all your sign and plaque needs shop our online store at Customsigns.com.

5 Summer Safety Reminders for HOAs

Neighborhood Street Lined With Blooming Cherry Trees

Summer Safety in Your Community

Summer is finally here, so now is the perfect time for summer safety reminders for your Home Owner’s Association community. Your residents are responsible for following your HOA’s rules and regulations, but posting memos or holding community meetings are helpful for everyone. Additionally, your organization is responsible for maintaining communal grounds and amenities, so here are some summer safety reminders.

  1. Heat Hazards

  2. Small Dog in an Orange Car

    According to Heat Kills, the interior temperature of a car can increase by 34 degrees in as little as 30 minutes.1 Even if the temperature outside is a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit, that increases to 104 degrees in half-an-hour, so remind your residents to NEVER leave children or animals in their vehicles. Post custom signs around your community as a reminder of the dangers of the summer heat as a way to prevent unnecessary tragedies.

  3. Common Area Consciousness

  4. Exercise Equipment in Front of Window

    If your HOA has communal areas such as pools or clubhouses, then you’ll want to make sure they’re in good working order. Providing clean and functional community amenities will keep residents happy and appreciative. Here are a few reminders for common community areas for the summer.

    • Playgrounds

    • After a long winter of un-Colorful playground and sunrise on yard in the parkuse, your community’s playgrounds should be inspected before summer takes full effect. Ensure all children’s playground equipment is free of potential hazards and replace bolts and other structural pieces as needed. Watch out for any other hazards such as glass or insect infestations to remove as well. Post children at play signs near playground amenities to prevent accidents along roads.

    • Clubhouses

    • Providing a clean and well-maintained lounge or clubhouse for your residents shows your HOA’s professionalism and instills confidence in your community. Ensure HVAC units are well-maintained and in working order. Additionally, check to make sure any lounges or other communal buildings are clean and presentable. Inspect any equipment, such as lights or televisions, to make sure they function properly.

    • Pools

    • Swimming is a favorite Pool Area Set Against Forest & Sky Backgroundsummer activity for many, so ensuring your pool is well-kept is imperative for the coming months. Remove any debris that may have collected over the winter and spring months from in and around your pool area. Update any pool signage to reflect new or revised safety rules. Inspect and repair pool filters and lighting fixtures as needed.

    • Gyms

    • Summer means more free time to exercise, so ensure that all equipment is in proper working condition for the safety of your residents. Wipe down and disinfect all equipment to prevent sickness. Ensure that all HVAC or other cooling units are working adequately.

    • Outdoor Areas

    • Your outdoor community Tennis player holding racket preparing for playing game on outdoor court during summer.areas will probably see more use thanks to warmer weather. Clean all outdoor recreation areas such as gazebos, tennis courts, dog parks, etc. Ensure that gazebos are structurally sound and repair any equipment as necessary. Fences and other sectional walls should be inspected for integrity.

  5. Night Nuisances

  6. Close-up of a street lamp glowing in retro colors

    Remind your residents to stay safe at night. With summer comes an increase in criminal activity, so marking monitored areas with video surveillance signs can help prevent potential robberies or violent crimes. Whether lights deter crime or not is still up for debate, but maintaining street lights helps your residents see once night falls, so ensure your community’s light sources are properly maintained.

  7. Secure Street Safety

  8. 25 Miles Per Hour Speed Limit Sign Set Against Blue Sky

    With school out for the year, many children will be home or using your pools or playgrounds. Keep your community safer by posting speed limit signs along heavy foot traffic areas near communal amenities. Additionally, inspect roads for damage such as pot holes or large cracks and contact your local city or county maintenance department for repairs to prevent damage to vehicles.

  9. Vacation Ventures

  10. Kids playing throwing inflatable ball

    Remind your residents to keep their homes safe if they will be leaving for a summer vacation. Warn them not to advertise their vacations as this could alert potential criminals that their home will be vacant for a time.

Get 20% Off No Soliciting Signs at CustomSigns.com with Code CSIGN20, Absolutely No Soliciting Sign

Ensuring your community’s health and happiness is important for every Home Owner’s Association. With these safety tips and signs from CustomSigns.com, you can keep this summer fun and safe for you and your residents.

References:

  1. HeatKills.org
  2. DigitalJournal.com

Honor Those Who Served This Memorial Day and Every Day of the Year

What is Memorial Day?

Observed during the last Monday in May, Memorial Day is the day our country comes together to commemorate our brave service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for the extraordinary freedom our nation has enjoyed for generations. Introduced as Decoration Day in May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, to lay flowers on (or decorate) the graves of fallen service members, Memorial Day became a federal holiday with the congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971.

Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day

Honor Memorial Day and the memory of our family members, loved ones, friends, neighbors, and everyone who has served our country with a few thoughtful ways we’ve gathered to commemorate this special holiday.

Wear a Memorial Day Pin, Button, or Red Poppy Flower

Proudly wearing a symbol of our country’s military, including a button or pin of the American flag, is a vibrant, eye-catching way to show everyone your patriotic spirit. Choosing to wear a red poppy is a time honored Memorial Day tradition that began during the time of World War I after a poem written by physician and Lt. Col. John McCrae, In Flanders Fields, that describes the fields of brightly colored red poppies he observed while treating the wounded on battlefields during the war. These brightly colored flowers are now known as a national symbol of military sacrifice throughout many countries around the world.

Volunteer Your Time to Veterans, Widows, and Others Affected by Our Fight for Freedom

Photo Courtesy CPL Donald C Bolash USMC

Perhaps you live near a VA hospital or clinic, an assisted living center, or even in the same neighborhood that a veteran calls home. Spend part of your Memorial Day weekend – and other days throughout the year – bringing joy and the camaraderie of a friendly conversation to veterans, their widows, children, or other loved ones by stopping by for a visit. Whether you bring along a sweet treat, a little token of gratitude, or simply offer your time, they’re sure to feel cared for, remembered, and appreciated.

Honor Our Patriots with a Memorial Plaque

From park benches to tree lined walkways, gardens, bike trails, or even city centers, a professionally engraved brass plaque is a simple, timeless way to memorialize those who selflessly served our country. Go classic by engraving names and dates, or get a bit creative and include a special quote or favorite saying of the person who’s memory you re honoring, even a favorite hobby or an engraved image. Anything that will show others something special about your loved one is a wonderful way to honor his or her memory and military service.

Fly the American Flag Proudly and Properly on Memorial Day

To properly display the American flag on Memorial Day, swiftly raise the flag to the top of the flag pole, and then solemnly lower it to half-staff until noon. This is done to honor and remember our fallen service men and women who gave their lives serving our country. At noon, raise the flag back to the top to symbolize that we continue the fight for liberty, freedom, and justice for our fellow Americans.

Our Original Star Spangled Banner Still Flying Proudly

If you’ve ever been to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., then you’ve had the awe-inspiring experience of viewing the original Star Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired Frances Scott Key to pen our national anthem. Raised over Fort McHenry on September 14, 1814, to show America’s victory over the British in the Battle of Baltimore, this flag is among the Smithsonian’s most treasured artifacts. After years of painstaking preservation efforts, America’s original Star Spangled Banner is proudly displayed in a permanent exhibition gallery where millions of people continue to enjoy her incredible splendor!

Secure Your Summer with These Safety Signs & Tips

Beach with No Swimming Signs and Sunbather

Vacation Season

With summer almost here, many people will be spending time outside or rushing off for family trips. It’s easy to forget general safety tips during summertime if you’re busy taking advantage of the pleasant weather or enjoying your time off. Camping, long-awaited vacations, the beach, grilling, swimming, and many other fun activities await, after all, and according to a 2017 study, 80% of United States residents took a vacation during the summer.1 However, summer safety should stay a priority even during your upcoming holiday. Here are some tips for kids and adults to help keep your summer safe and fun!

The Great Outdoors

If you’re going hiking or camping, be sure to heed any warnings concerning fire or wildlife danger. Ensure any fire pits or campfires you light are built properly and away from tents, dry twigs, and nearby foliage to prevent wildfires. Yellow Sign w/ Black Text & Image of BearRemember to bring bug spray to keep pests away and first aid materials in the case of a minor incident. Be mindful of any local fauna postings, such as bear warnings, or if you run a campground or other such location, ensure you prominently place appropriate signage warning campers of potential wildlife and forest fire dangers.

Whether you’re going hiking, camping, to the beach, to the pool, or simply spending time outside at home, always remember to pack and apply sunscreen every two to four hours. The sun’s harmful UVB rays are the cause of 95% of melanoma cases and 99% of non-melanoma skin cancers.2 However, according to an Australian study, appropriate application of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your chance of developing melanoma by up to 50%.3 Make sure your sunscreen isn’t expired as it can lose effectiveness over time. Sunscreen is an important and easy way to keep you and your skin healthy!

Pool or Beach Side

White Sign w/ Blue Border, Blue and Red Text - "Pool Rules"Many vacationers and coast-dwellers will probably spend some time swimming this summer. It’s a refreshing break from the hot summer sun, a phenomenal form of exercise, and a great way to stay cool. However, there are a few water safety tips to keep in mind while you’re at your favorite swimming locale. If you plan on going to a public pool, you can start by following all posted pool policies. Generally, swimming pool rules are established for the protection of swimmers. No diving, running, glass containers, and leaving children unsupervised are common safety rules meant to protect pool-goers from injury. If you own a pool or your organization has one on property, be sure to keep your swimming pool safety signage updated to reflect current policies. Additionally, there’s the old belief that you should wait 30 minutes to an hour after eating before you can swim, but according to an article from Mayo Clinic and Dr. Boniface, “You may end up with some stomach cramping or a muscle cramp” and “it may not be the most comfortable thing to go for a swim with a full belly, the world won’t end if you ignore your mom’s advice.”4

Workplace Woes

Unfortunately, many of us don’t get to enjoy a summer break. Work still needs to be done, but now is a prime opportunity to address summer safety topics Black Sign w/ White Text - "In Case of Fire - Do Not Use Elevator"for your workplace. It’s easy to skip drinking water while you’re on the clock, so remind your employees and coworkers to stay hydrated during the hot months to prevent dehydration. Perhaps now is the time to update your business’ safety signage. Given the hot and dry weather summer brings, you may consider updating or adding additional fire safety signs and equipment. Clearly marking fire exits and extinguishers can help keep you and your coworkers safe in the case of an emergency. Finally, if your employees spend most of the workday outdoors, remember to let them take plenty of breaks to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

At Home

Whether you can’t travel due to work or simply want a relaxing stay-cation, you always want to keep your home or apartment safe. From a 2014 study White sign w/ Red and Black Text - Bilingual English/Spanish - "Warning - Beware of Dog"from the Bureau of Justice, there is evidence of increased crime rate during the summer. Burglaries occur up to 11% more and household larceny up to 8% more frequently compared to other seasons.5 One way to discourage potential criminals is by posting video surveillance signs if you have a camera security system. If you don’t have an electronic security system but do have a canine companion, then hanging “Beware of Dog” signs on your property can help deter would-be burglars and vandals. Home is meant to be a safe haven for you and your family, and warding off unwelcome guests and intruders with clearly marked warning signs can help this summer.

Summer is the season of fun for many. Ensure you keep yours that way by following a few summer safety tips!

References

  1. Minnaert, Lynn. (2017). US Family Travel Survey 2017. Retrieved from https://www.scps.nyu.edu/content/dam/scps/pdf/200/200-4/200-4-16/P1718-0036-2017_Family_Travel_Survey.pdf
  2. www.cancercouncil.com.au
  3. ascopubs.org
  4. newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org
  5. www.bjs.gov

Promote Conservation in Your Office with Our Ecofriendly Tips and Tools

Earth Day is on its way! This is the perfect time for organizations around the world to join the green movement and adopt ecofriendly habits that will go a long way toward protecting our planet. Here, we share our favorite ways to help your company ‘go green’ and inspire employees and guests alike to make every day Earth Day.

 

Use Electricity Wisely

While turning off the lights may seem obvious, conservation reminders are especially helpful in the office where light switches often are overlooked. Consider installing motion activated light sensors; they’re a great way to keep the lights out until a room is in use. Additionally, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LED bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last nearly three times as long.  And LED bulbs are nontoxic and recyclable.

Let the sunshine in! Take advantage of natural light by keeping those shades up and the lights turned down. Since 25 percent of the electricity we use illuminates offices across the country, natural light is an ecofriendly and budget conscious choice.

Reduce | Reuse | Recycle

Make recycling easy by placing the proper recycle bins throughout your buildings. While most people are happy to recycle, they’re not always sure where to properly place their recyclables. Clearly labeling recycle bins will make recycling easy for everyone. Recycle signs and decals often include paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, compost, landfill, and even ink cartridges.

Promote Ecofriendly Transportation

Encourage employees to park their vehicles at home and give public transportation a try. ‘Transportation Tuesdays’ are a terrific opportunity for taking a bus, train, subway, ride share, or even a bicycle to work. Set up a bike rack and offer incentives for taking ecofriendly modes of transportation to and from the office. Offering a catered lunch or raffling off a floating holiday to participants are fun ways to show your appreciation!

Go (Almost!) Paperless

Reducing the amount of waste that goes into our landfills – and reducing our carbon footprint – will go a long way toward protecting the earth’s valuable, yet limited, resources. With the digital age and the benefits of cloud storage, going paperless or significantly reducing our paper usage has never been easier. When paper is a must, selecting paper made from recycled materials is a wise choice.

Create an Ecofriendly Kitchen and Break Space

Reducing or eliminating single use paper and plastic in your lunchroom is ecofriendly and good for your budget. Investing in reusable plates, drinking cups, and silverware will keep tons of unnecessary waste out of landfills each year. If your breakroom doesn’t allow for easy dish washing, purchasing biodegradable plates and cups will lessen your environmental impact.

Practice Green Procurement

Sourcing and purchasing ecofriendly office products is the perfect way to move your office toward sustainably produced goods that are made with protecting our planet at the forefront. Recycled paper products, refillable ink cartridges, ecofriendly pens and highlighters, non-toxic cleaning products, and compostable trash bags are just a few terrific options. If budget is a concern, choose just one or two items to swap each month and your transition will be complete in no time.

Even the smallest changes we make together will create a valuable impact on caring for our precious resources and the planet we share. Here’s to a happy Earth Day every day of the year!

Water Conservation for Businesses

Running Water Faucet

Earth Over North & South America
Over 97% of Earth’s water is salt water

Of all the water on the planet, roughly 97 percent of it is unusable, or difficult to desalinate salt water. This leaves us with about 3 percent of the total as fresh water, more than 98 percent of which is inaccessible due to being located in ice caps, glaciers, and deep groundwater.1 We are left with a little over 1 percent of fresh water that is usable coming from lakes, rivers, and ground ice. As such, fresh water is considered a limited resource simply because, by comparison, there is so little of it, and when consumption outpaces the natural water cycle, the usable amount decreases, affecting the environment and local populace.

So, what is water conservation?

Water conservation is the process of reducing the amount of excess water used for daily activities domestically, commercially, and industrially through the planning and execution of management practices.

Why is it important?

Maintaining a steady, available supply of usable water affects many aspects of daily activities. Restrooms, laundry facilities, kitchens, and other modern amenities rely on water to function. The wanton and excessive use of water damages the environment. Contaminated water can re-enter the ecosystem and the overuse of a water supply can dry out an entire region.

White & Yellow Sign with Black Lettering that Reads "SEVERE DROUGHT, Please Conserve Water"
Raise drought awareness

Making a plan for conserving water and reducing use can help prevent long-lasting repercussions. The importance of lessening water use in the United States can be inferred from concerns of state water managers who expect water shortages in 40 states by 2023, according to a 2014 Government Accountability Office study.2  Simply and economically speaking, reducing excessive water use means less money that your business has to pay for water. It just also happens to help the environment.

Water Use in Businesses

Publicly supplied water is “water delivered to users for domestic, commercial, and industrial purposes”3 and makes up approximately 12 percent of fresh water usage in the United States.4 According to the EPA, commercial and industrial businesses account for 17 percent of the use of public water supplies. This includes usage in laundry and cleaning facilities, maintenance of medical equipment, kitchen and restroom use, landscaping, and others. Roughly 40 percent of a company’s water use comes from bathrooms and laundry facilities.5 Water use in these sectors is often required, so taking steps towards reducing this utilization would help in decreasing environmental and economical impact.

Steps to Lessen Water Usage

There are a myriad of ways to reduce our water consumption at home, such as:

  • Turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth

    Navy Background with White Icons Reading "Please Help Save Water, Make sure all taps are securely shut"
    Reminder to save water
  • Only washing full loads of laundry
  • Updating bathroom fixtures, laundry, and kitchen fixtures

Similarly, implementing a conservative water usage policy within your business can help reduce your company’s footprint.

Help control water usage by:

  • Monitoring and metering your business’s water usage
  • Updating cooling and restroom fixtures
  • Educating and rewarding employees for adhering to a strict water usage plan

Custom Signs offers a wide selection of conservation signage to remind your employees to strive towards lessening your business’ water consumption. Our brass and plastic signs come either engraved or in full color and can be customized to meet your company’s needs. Take the first steps of your company’s journey towards preserving our water supplies by informing your employees with a custom conservation sign from CustomSigns.com.

References

  1. https://water.usgs.gov/edu/earthhowmuch.html
  2. https://www.gao.gov/assets/670/663343.pdf
  3. https://water.usgs.gov/watuse/wups.html
  4. https://www.epa.gov/watersense/types-facilities
  5. https://www.epa.gov/watersense/best-management-practices