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  • 5 Black Friday Facts

    The day after Thanksgiving is renowned for its midnight shopping sprees, crazy low prices, long lines, and possibly violent crowds. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Many people believe Black Friday came about because that’s the first day (or close to) that retail sales go out of the red and into the black. However, the BBC report that there is no evidence of that. So what can you even believe? Well, here are five fun Black Friday facts to help sate your curiosity.


    1. Holiday Shoppers Determined Thanksgiving’s Date (Sort Of)

    While not necessarily about Black Friday itself, it does play a large role in the day in which we celebrate Thanksgiving. According to the BBC report, Thanksgiving was always on the last Thursday of November. Sometimes, this became the very last day of the month. In a tizzy, retailers petitioned President Roosevelt to move the date a week earlier so as not keep holiday shoppers back from their stores any longer. To this day, the holiday shopping officially begins the day after Thanksgiving, and for that, you can thank Franklin D. Roosevelt.


    1. Black Friday is a World-Wide Event

    The United States is no longer the solitary observer of this shopping holiday. Now, many countries throughout the world participate in the retail revelry. This is becoming easier and easier, since many companies are online. Countries that participate in Black Friday include Canada, the United Kingdom, Romania, Norway, South Africa, Panama, and many others.


    1. The Day’s Name Is Based On Heavy Traffic

    1960s-traffic-jam - Black Friday FactsIt’s true. At least In Philadelphia, the day after Thanksgiving saw heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The term started in the early 1960s, and expanded out from Philly from then on. Other explanations also came about, but the blackness of the post-Thanksgiving shopping rush is too enjoyable a thought to dismiss, especially since that rush has only grown immensely over the years.


    1. It’s a Weeks-Long Camping Trip

    The record for longest campout in front of stores awaiting Black Friday deals is 22 days. This year, a man has already been camping out since October. If he succeeds in his camp, he’ll be living in a tent, in front of a store, for 33 days. But he’s also doing it to raise awareness for homelessness and is collecting toys and other things for needy local children, so at least he’s doing some good in the process. Other campers, like the ones who slept outside for 22 days, do it to be first in line. No matter what your goal, however, camping is camping, and you’ll most certainly want to have some good ol’ camping gear along for the ride (HydroHeat, anybody?).


    1. Grey Thursday
    Black Friday Store Times - Huffington Post - Black Friday Facts via Huffington Post

    It’s a thing. In recent years, big-name stores would open bright and early on Friday morning around 6:00 a.m. (or, if you’re crazy like Kohl’s, 4 a.m.). As the years went on, the time to open the doors for Black Friday got earlier and earlier until stores were opening at midnight, the earliest possible time while still being in Friday. But, pretty soon, that wasn’t early enough, and Black Friday faded to Grey Thursday, and shops were open late at night on Thanksgiving, then in the evening, and now…right after turkey.

    More and more stores are opening their doors to Black Friday deals on Thursday. Now, once the turkey’s been scarfed down, it’s out the door to wherever it is you're going that’s opening early. According to some, this makes the actual shopping experience less crazy. Hey, it’s something, right?



    Now while you wait for Black Friday to roll around, you can “wow” your friends with these nifty tidbits of information. You’re welcome.



    What other fun Black Friday facts do you have?



  • Why You Should Prepare for a Zombie Apocalypse

    You peek out the window, careful not to be seen. The moon is full, but it’s still dark outside. The streetlights aren’t on – they haven’t been for days. It’s late, and all you want to do is go to sleep. But you can’t. Not now. Not ever. At least, not with those things out there.

    There is a group of them, nearby, meandering towards your home. You hear the soft sound of fleshy feet, dragging and scraping across the pavement. They hunt at night, searching for anything living to feast upon. They amble along, arms outstretched, moaning and groaning in their brainless way, searching for food.

    Ironic that brains are what they feed on.


    Zombie Apocalypse


    Our world has become mildly obsessed with the idea of a zombie apocalypse. In fact, I was looking at some emergency preparedness articles on cdc.gov (try not to act surprised), when I came across something I really didn’t expect to find on a government website – Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.

    That’s right. Zombies. The government is spending your hard-earned tax dollars to promote zombie preparedness. Here’s a snippet from their Zombie Apocalypse post:

    “There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.”

    It looks as if our fictitious fantasies have finally spiraled into something that is near kin to reality.

    And that’s fantastic.

    Zombie apocalypses and “real emergencies” (as they say) actually have a lot in common. Let’s look at some of the basics of preparing for zombies. What will you need?



    Zombies in Water - Zombie ApocalypseIf a zombie ends up in your water supply (river, lake, etc.), you’re pretty much hosed. I don’t think I would feel comfortable drinking that water even if it was just my brother in the water. But a zombie? Forget it.

    In reality, our water supply can be cut off like an undead’s arm with a sword. If you have an alternate source of water, however, you’ll be just fine. This goes far beyond zombies, too. This goes for drought, water contamination during floods, or a broken water main in the city. Zombies are terrifying, sure, but being without water during any emergency is just as scary. Having a supply of water – or water filter – is one of the most important steps in survival.



    Closed Forever - Zombie ApocalypseDuring a zombie apocalypse, you might be able to get some pretty cheap food at the abandoned grocery store down the block, but you’re also walking into a trap. With only one exit and lots of places for zombies to hide, you’ll be lucky at all to get out with food. And who’s to say it hasn’t been contaminated by zombies already, or molded over or whatnot?

    Zombies. Tell ya what. They really do make a mess of things.

    But before the apocalypse comes, what are some more crises that you haven’t thought of yet where your food storage could come in handy? What about a tornado taking out your grocery store? Truck drivers going on strike could jack up food prices – or keep food from coming in at all. If you lose your job tomorrow, will you have food storage to live off until you can find something else? Accidents can also happen (not just when running from zombies) that can make you lose work for an extended period of time. Will you have food ready for those unexpected times?


    First Aid Kit

    Look. If you get bit by a zombie, there’s not much I can do for you. Sorry. But if you’re running from a zombie and need to be patched up, I’ve got you covered.

    First aid kits are essential to have around. They contain those all-important tools to hold you together when all your body wants to do is fall apart (but don’t worry, you’re not a zombie yet). Patching up cuts, scrapes, and other minor injuries can be a game changer in any emergency. Don’t leave home without one.


    Anyway, you get the picture. You can go to the CDC website for a more in-depth list of some useful items to use in a zombie apocalypse…or other emergency.

    Are you prepared for a zombie apocalypse? If you are, you’ll most likely have everything you need for anything else – earthquake, flood, power outage, job loss – you name it. So if you are prepared, I salute you.

    Now, lastly – Ow, hey! I think something just bit me! Ug. I feel funny.

    I think…


    Braaiinnss. Braaaaiiiinnnnss!

    Zombie Blogger - Zombie Apocalypse


    How are you prepared for a zombie apocalypse? Happy Halloween!


    Disaster_Blog_Banner - Zombie Apocalypse

  • How Preparing Early Helped Against Hurricane Patricia and Typhoon Koppu

    In the last two weeks, hurricanes hit western Mexico and Luzon Island in the Philippines.

    Patricia - Trees Blowing - Preparing Early via LA Times

    After both hurricanes, the death toll and damage were far less than feared. Hurricane Patricia, a storm equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane in the U.S., hit western Mexico on October 24. Wind and water destroyed an estimated 3,500 buildings as well as crops. But as of October 26, only six deaths had been reported.

    Typhoon Koppu, which struck the Philippines on October 18, was the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane. In the Philippines, the typhoon submerged 300 villages and caused an estimated $137 million in damage to agriculture alone. However, only about 50 people were reported killed.

    Haiyan - Preparing Early via NY Daily News

    Contrast those storms with Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in November 2013 and, until Patricia, was the most powerful hurricane recorded since accurate satellite measurements began in 1970. It left more than 7,300 people dead or missing and caused $2.8 billion in damage.

    After these October storms ended, disaster experts applauded both countries for their preparations that helped limit death and damage from the hurricanes.

    The United Nations 2014 Human Development Report listed two ways to limit vulnerability to disasters: prevent them from happening and build resilience among people and communities.

    Obviously, hurricanes aren’t preventable. However, both Mexico and the Philippines had plans in place to disseminate information and arrange for evacuation.

    After the devastation from Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, the government of the Philippines and aid agencies began focusing on disaster risk reduction, according to a story in The Guardian. They emphasized early warning dissemination, clear information about evacuation centers, pre-positioning aid in remote communities and teaching safer places to build homes and plant crops.

    Two days before Typhoon Koppu struck, Filipino president Benigno Aquino III broadcast a warning to the nation. According to the U.N., that broadcast, along with close coordination with meteorological, government and aid workers, helped people concentrate their efforts.

    More than 65,000 people were evacuated, with more than 12,000 staying in 136 shelters.

    Mexico made similar preparation. About 3,000 soldiers fanned out around southwestern Mexico in the days before Hurricane Patricia hit, and more soldiers and sailors came in after, according to an Associated Press story. USA Today reported at least 50,000 people stayed in more than 2,000 shelters.

    "'The 'warning-alert-evacuate-then hunker down' combination seems to have worked to limit the human losses from the wind component of the hazard," said Richard S. Olson, director at the International Hurricane Research Center in Miami, to the AP. "Local, state, and national authorities seemed to have gotten this one right."

    It helped too that the storm grew so big so quickly it didn’t have time to build up much of a storm surge and then quickly dissipated when it hit the mountains near the coast, Olsen said.

    Hurricane Evac Sign - Preparing EarlyIndividual families can have evacuation plans ready in case of emergency. They should include escape routes and emergency meeting places outside their home and neighborhood, according to ready.gov. They should account for individual needs and responsibilities, type of shelter and methods of transportation. Disability, age, and pets should also be considered.

    Families should also have communication plans with contact information for family members and friends, including an out of town contact. Each family member should carry a contact card, available to fill out at www.redcross.org.

    Resilience, the second way to limit vulnerability to disasters, includes developing skills to weather many types of shocks, according to the U.N. report.

    One way to develop resilience is to be financially prepared. That means having a savings and getting important information organized, according to Ann House, coordinator of the Personal Money Management Center at the University of Utah.

    A short-term savings covers things like a down payment on a home. An emergency savings helps to prevent high-interest debt like credit cards or short-term loans when things come up like car repairs or doctor bills, she said.

    Equally important is to take savings out first via direct deposit. Then live off the rest. It’s an out of sight, out of mind thing.

    “I know if I keep extra money in my checking account, I will spend it until it’s gone,” she House.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s “Emergency Financial First Aid Kit” is a great financial organization resource, House said.

    The 44-page booklet includes four sections that identify what information to collect, like social security cards, insurance policies, prescriptions and emergency contact information.

    “If there’s a natural disaster like a fire, do you know where your birth certificates are?” House asked.


    Hurricane_Blog_Banner - Preparing Early

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