3 Ways South Florida Power Outages Can Affect Your Health

3 Ways South Florida Power Outages Can Affect Your HealthIf you live in a household with people with special needs, all the expensive equipment in the world won’t help them unless you can operate it. During a South Florida power outage, it’s possible that you could spend hours, days or in extreme cases, weeks without power, while the authorities work to restore infrastructure damaged by the storms we get. Here are some of the issues you could face if you find yourself in this situation.

Refrigerated Medication

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses in America today, with around 22 million suffering from type 1 and 2 combined. Type 1 diabetics typically require daily insulin injections, and insulin needs to be refrigerated to be fully effective. “Items that require refrigeration, like insulin, should not be relied upon for full effectiveness if they could not be maintained at the temperature recommended by the manufacturer,” says Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein. “Temperature -sensitive drugs lose potency if not refrigerated and should be replaced with a new supply as soon as possible. “ This can be a costly process if you have a supply of medication on hand and you lose power for any reason.

Other frequently-used medications that need to be refrigerated are:

  • Amoxil® (amoxicillin) — suspension
  • Cipro® (ciprofloxacin) — suspension
  • Mycostatin® (nystatin) — pastilles
  • Thyrolar® (liotrix)
  • Vibramycin® (doxycycline) — suspension
  • Xalatan® (latanoprost) — eye drops
  • Zithromax® (azithromycin) — suspension

Click here for a full list of medicines requiring refrigeration. To protect your family from the problems associated with storing these types of medication during a power outage, install an emergency power source such as a home standby generator.

Oxygen Equipment

Respiratory problems such as COPD and asthma are on the rise with an estimated 20 million Americans affected by these conditions. Many of them reside in Florida, which is reported to be one of the top places to live for reduced symptoms. In households with patients suffering from these illnesses, oxygen equipment and nebulizers are common. Some people use oxygen delivered in tanks or cylinders, while others use oxygen produced at home using concentrator equipment, which requires electricity to operate. If your area experiences a power outage resulting from bad weather or infrastructure failure, your concentrator won’t work unless you have an emergency power supply. A home standby generator will enable you to maintain your oxygen supply without a hiccup, using natural gas lines that are installed in your home.

Wheelchair Lifts

The invention of the wheelchair lift has made a huge difference to the lives of many people who have mobility constraints. Many of the homes in South Florida have more than one level, and are the only way to get around the house for someone who is wheelchair bound or otherwise unable to climb stairs. What happens when you experience a power outage and are unable to move between the different levels of your home? An emergency power supply such as a home standby generator is the only way to ensure that you aren’t incapacitated by electricity outages.

For an assessment of your power requirements and an estimate to install a generator to power your home during an outage, contact us to request a quote today.

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Lights, Cameras, Action – Security Systems Need Emergency Power

Lights, Cameras, Action - Security Systems Need Emergency PowerHome security systems come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they have one thing in common—they all need power to operate. This means that during a Florida power outage your family is vulnerable to several risks. We took a look at the types of security systems that use electricity, and what you can do to ensure that you have sufficient emergency power to keep them functioning during downtime.

Home Alarm System

Most home alarm systems are designed to deliver an audible alert whenever they are triggered by any of the events programmed. These include:

  • Opening a door or window across an activated beam
  • Breaking a circuit by actions such as cutting through the wiring
  • Detecting the presence of smoke and/or fire
  • Detection of carbon monoxide gas
  • Activation of the emergency panic button if you have this option installed

If you have an independently-monitored home alarm system, the monitoring company gets the signal at its head office when the alarm is triggered. Typically, a siren will also sound at your home. While the signal operates on a system with a battery backup, the siren needs power to function properly.

Closed Circuit Cameras

Security cameras are popular in upmarket South Florida homes, but all the security in the world isn’t any use unless it’s operational. During a Florida power outage, closed circuit filming can still work for as long as the system’s own backup battery lasts. By connecting the system to your backup generator, however, you can run the system using power generated by natural gas and avoid draining the battery.

Closed circuit cameras work in conjunction with your security lighting and home alarm system, alerting you to any intruders and providing the means for the authorities to identify any unwanted visitors.

Security Lights

Lights are one of the greatest assets to homeowners trying to protect their property from intruders. Most security lights use motion sensor technology, which automatically turns on the lights when it detects activity. Whether you install perimeter lighting or strategically-placed lighting that helps to beautify the home and allow guests to safely navigate your stairs and walkways, the system needs to be connected to an emergency power source in case of a Florida power outage.

In addition, adequate lighting is vital if you install security cameras as part of your home security system. Often, the two components are fitted by separate service providers, which makes it difficult for police to identify intruders caught on camera if the area filmed is too dark. Lighting needs to be expertly installed to avoid the glare created by unshielded lights.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke detection is a vital aspect of your home security system. Most house fires are caused by problems such as electrical faults, gas leaks etc. The smoke detector provides you with a warning system before any potential fire progresses to the point that lives are at risk, by sounding when it catches a blast of smoke.

Some smoke detectors are operated purely by battery, while others are connected to the home’s energy supply so they can activate the alarm when necessary. Detectors operate on the principle of detecting smoke using a fine beam of light, which is not able to operate round the clock without power. Installation of a backup generator keeps smoke detectors operational right through a power outage.

Wireless Connection

Many of the various aspects of your home security system are connected via a wireless modem, which also requires power to operate. The most sophisticated relays may have independent battery backups, but these are usually rechargeable batteries that need a power source to keep them working during a Florida power outage.

Install an adequately-sized backup generator to provide your South Florida home with emergency power during a crisis, and you’ll have the reassurance of knowing your family is safe and protected with security systems that work – no matter what.

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Keeping Pets Cool in a Power Outage

Keeping Pets Cool in a Power Outage

Protecting your pet from heat exhaustion in the hot South Florida summers is a primary concern for pet owners. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that 164.4 million households own pets, and a large percentage of those consider their pets to be members of their families. We spend a lot of money every year on our pets, and their health and well-being is just as important as that of the humans in the household. So what happens when you have a power outage caused by bad weather, that goes on and on for days in what can sometimes be 100-degree heat?

Here are some ways to keep dogs, cats and other family pets cool and comfortable until the power is restored.

#1: Keep AC Running

Maintain a comfortable temperature indoors by keeping your AC running. To do this, you’ll need a source of emergency power such as a home standby generator. Of course, this needs to be arranged well before the situation that causes the outage, because it may be difficult to perform the installation without power.  These backup generators typically work using natural gas as a source of fuel, and are installed outdoors in a secure cabinet.

#2: Create Air Circulation

If you don’t have AC, you’ll need to circulate the air in the home. You can do this using ceiling or standing fans. In a power outage, you’ll need a source of emergency power to operate ceiling fans, but if you have cage pets or elderly ones that have restricted mobility, a battery-operated desk fan beside their bed can help to keep them cool.

#3: Dehumidify the Home

Dehumidify your home interior to help reduce the stress to your pets and lower the risk of heat exhaustion or heatstroke occurring. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) advocates the use of desiccants such as silica beads or rock salt for absorbing the moisture in the air. A range of non-electric dehumidifier units are available, which contain crystal products that help to proactively remove moisture from the air. Investing in a few of these not only keeps your pets cool and comfortable during a power outage, but can reduce the energy usually needed to power your household. It will also reduce the number of appliances supported by a home standby generator during an outage.

#4: Use Cool Baths and Towels

Bathing your dog or cat in cool water or wrapping them in wet towels can help to reduce their body temperature. This is particularly effective if the pet is showing signs of heat exhaustion. If you live in an area with a municipal water supply, this can be your fall-back option for pet cooling during a power outage. If you live in an outlying area and have an independent water supply, however, you will still need emergency power to operate a well pump. In such cases, some form of backup generator is essential to keep your home functioning while the power is down.

Keeping your pets cool during a power outage can be challenging if you aren’t prepared for it. In South Florida, tropical storms hit regularly with often frightening consequences. Take steps to ensure that your home is ready to withstand bad weather and any other natural disasters.

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Gas Appliances Still Need Emergency Power During an Outage

Gas Appliances Still Need Emergency Power During an OutageChanging from electrical to gas appliances has a number of benefits, but it doesn’t mean you no longer need electricity. Many appliances may use natural gas for operating purposes, but they still require electrical power to manage certain features. This means that during a power outage, all the gas in the world isn’t going to help you unless you have a source of emergency power. Here are some of the gas appliances that use power:

Stoves

Gas stoves are great. Not only are they trendy because all the celebrity chefs use them, but it’s much easier to control the temperature precisely than most electric stoves. Certain models need electricity to ignite, while others use a spark generated by a piezo crystal. However, if your gas stove has any of these features, you probably need power to operate them:

  • Oven light
  • Clock or timer
  • Rotating grill or plate
  • Fan-assisted oven

Of course, when you’re preparing food in an emergency you can probably use the stove without the benefit of these options, but if you want to be truly independent during a power outage, a home standby generator is the answer to providing all the conveniences you’re accustomed to.

Hot Water Heaters

Depending on the model you buy, your gas hot water heater may need emergency power to operate the pilot light. While many older models had a pilot light that could be ignited with a match, for safety purposes most modern versions have an electronic one.

Then there’s the thermocouple, which generates voltage to hold the gas valve open. Although it uses only the tiniest amount of power, it’s necessary for safe operation of the heater. Thermostats and timers also both operate using electricity, so in the event of a power outage your hot water may be useless without a home standby generator to keep it going.

Air Conditioning

Natural gas air conditioners aren’t new, and were popular during the 1940s and 1950s. New technology to make them safer and more efficient coupled with the threat of power outages is giving them a new lease on life. While you can operate a gas air conditioner without emergency power there’s no way to control the temperature without an electric thermostat, so it’s necessary to operate the unit manually by switching it on and off as needed. By connecting a gas air conditioner to your home standby generator, however, you can make sure that your home is cool and comfortable at all times.

Furnaces

While furnaces are seldom needed (or even installed!) in most homes in the South Florida area, this is another example of a gas appliance that requires emergency power to operate effectively. Igniting the furnace, operation of the thermostat and air blowers all require electricity, so in times of power outage it’s essential that you have back up power such as that provided by a home standby generator.

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No Electricity, No Water During a Power Outage for Homes with Well Pumps

No Electricity, No Water During a Power Outage for Homes with Well PumpsIf you live in a town or city, you probably don’t give much thought to how the water you use each day gets to your house. Even small villages usually have a network of supply pipes that transport water to homes in the neighborhood. All you need to know is how to open the tap at the sink, and if you experience a power outage there’s no impact on your water supply.

Homes with Wells

Move a few miles out of town, however, and the picture can change. Many homes have their own well from which to draw water, and an electromechanical system for getting the water from the well to the house. At the heart of this system is a well pump, and while the type of pump differs depending on the depth of your well, most pumps have one thing in common – they all use electricity to operate. This means that homes with well pumps depend on having power to support their water supply.

No Electricity Means No Water

No electricity means no water. In a power outage, if your pump stops operating so does your well. That means no bathing, showering, or flushing the toilet. No water to drink or wash in, no laundry and no tea or coffee. It also means no water for animals such as horses or livestock, which could have disastrous results. The only way to protect your livelihood is to consider a residential standby system with a generator large enough to supply all your needs.

Installing a Generator

Installation of a generator to supply emergency power during an outage changes the picture yet again. Not only does it keep your well pump working, it ensures that your family can go on enjoying the comfort and safety of a well-equipped home. Lights, A/C, security, television and cooking facilities – all these need power to keep functioning.

Choose a Home Standby Generator

Generators come in all shapes and sizes, from portable generators that are great for camping and emergency power use to whole-house generators strong enough to operate all your appliances, regardless of how long the power outage lasts. When you choose a home standby generator, it’s important to get the right size for your South Florida home – one that’s big enough to operate all the appliances you need to use simultaneously.

Essential Appliances

This list usually includes your lights, security system, refrigerators and freezers, stove and other kitchen appliances as well as television and computers. Of course, your well pump falls into this category, as does a sump pump if there’s any risk of your home flooding after the type of heavy rains that can accompany hurricane-season storms. Other essential appliances you may need during a power outage include medical equipment such as oxygen tanks, if anyone in your household uses them.

Don’t compromise your family’s health or safety. By installing a residential standby system that kicks in automatically whenever your area experiences a power outage, you’ll be able to sleep peacefully at night knowing that your home is protected. There’s no need to keep dangerous items such as candles or inconvenient ones such as manual water pumps on hand – your home standby generator will ensure that you have the emergency power you need when it’s necessary.

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5 Ways a Home Standby Generator Benefits Sport Lovers

5 Ways a Home Standby Generator Benefits Sport LoversAre you a sports lover? Do you spend hours in front of the TV watching baseball, football, tennis, cycling and golf? If that’s the case, you won’t even want to contemplate what can happen if you have a power outage that lasts for several days – or even weeks, in some cases. You can probably manage without a few of your luxuries such as A/C and hot water, but how do you manage without any entertainment? The only way to protect yourself and your family against this is to install a home standby generator that can power all the major circuits in your home for an extended period of time.

#1: Keeps the TV Operational

Installing a generator enables you to not only power your basic circuits such as lights and home security, it also helps keep the family entertained. Can you imagine being without power for 10 days or more and having nothing to keep the kids busy with? And what about your cable or satellite? Those need power to delivery your daily sports fix. A standard LCD television uses minimal power such as 50 to 100 watts, but a large plasma screen uses much more. A 42-inch plasma can hit your power supply for up to 500 watts – almost as much as cooking on your stove. With a home standby generator, you can keep the TV going 24/7.

#2: Maintains Radio Reports

If you’re a TV-phobe, or even if you aren’t but enjoy keeping your radio running for sports updates and scores while you fiddle with your car’s engine or sip a beer on the patio, short of sitting in your car with the engine running you’re going to need power to operate the radio. Most basic radios use between 30 and 100 watts, so even if you’re listening for a blow-by-blow commentary and need to run the radio in all the rooms in case you miss something, a home standby generator makes sure you don’t miss a thing.

#3: Charges All Your Computers

Computers are vital for maintaining communications with family and friends outside the power outage zone, but desktops don’t run without power and laptop batteries only last a certain number of hours. It’s essential to keep your household computers fully charged in case of a major emergency, and a home standby generator can help you to do so. So even if you have to go online to follow the Rays, the Dolphins or the Sharks, you can do so with full connectivity.

#4: Provides Tablet Power

You got a tablet for the convenience, right? Oh – and because when your kids are on the computer all day and night you need a way to follow what’s going on in the world. Tablets usually have very long-lasting batteries, but they don’t remain charged forever. Installing a home standby generator helps provide your tablet with enough power to keep it running as long as you need it.

#5: Supports Smart Phone Charging

Keeping in touch with other sports fans is critical during the major baseball season. Isn’t it? I mean, how else can you compare notes, argue the finer points of the referee’s decisions and share your opinion on Aaron Garcia’s latest play for the Orlando Predators? Your smart phone is your lifeline to the world of sports, between texting, social media and good, old-fashioned phone calls. Make sure you keep it charged so you can call out and others can call you.

Installing the right-sized home standby generator will take care of all your sports-following needs, and keep your family safe, cool and comfortable while you keep up with your passion.

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Need a Quiet Generator? Take Steps to Sound-Proof Yours

Need a Quiet Generator? Take Steps to Sound-Proof YoursExperts have predicted an exceptionally active hurricane season for 2013, and after the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irene and Sandy recently the demand for home standby generators has increased. One of the challenges of installing a generator is the noise levels, however, and one of the first questions most homeowners ask is how they can find a quiet generator. We took a look at the generator noise problem, and came to the following conclusions:

Noise Levels

Your home standby generator won’t be running permanently, but if there’s a power outage you may need to run it for several days and nights to supply emergency power. When you do, it’s likely to emit noise levels ranging from 65 to 100 decibels, which exceeds most noise areas’ noise ordinances. So what can you do to reduce the irritation for your family and close neighbours? There’s no such thing as a quiet generator, but you can take steps during installation to reduce the noise levels.

Location is Important

By law, a home standby generator installation needs to be located at least 5 feet away from your home, which means you need a reasonable sized yard. This might help with deadening the sound for you, especially when you’re indoors running the A/C. Your neighbors won’t be quite so fortunate, however, and a large generator can be pretty loud.

An Enclosure Helps

A standby home generator such as the ones manufactured by Generac come with a sturdy, galvanized steel enclosure. This protects the generator from the elements but doesn’t help much with the sound. The manufacturer also offers premium aluminum enclosures that can be installed in addition to the basic one, which are rust and corrosion resistant. The additional layer of protection helps to reduce sound emitted by the generator.

Sound-Absorbing Barriers Work

Provided you have enough space, you can also build a sound-absorbing barrier between your house and the generator, or between the generator and your closest neighbors. Freestanding, self-supporting all-weather acoustic panels can be placed around the generator to help muffle the sound. They’re easy to move and don’t need to be a permanent fixture. The panels are typically used in manufacturing environments to temporarily enclose a source of noise, such as loud machinery.

Low frequency noise from 30 to 100 Hz is the most difficult to block. As a comparison, the bass in music mostly ranges from 40 to 80 Hz. Most sound barriers block very little noise below 100 Hz, which is why the bass sound is so predominant when you hear music from afar. Tests show that the sound-blocking materials contained in acoustic panels actually work best below 100 Hz, which makes them beneficial for soundproofing your emergency power source.

Keep Them Handy

A temporary soundproofing barrier may not look so good in your garden, but if you have acoustic panels available (and they can be stored outdoors) you can set them up around the home standby generator installation area as soon as the bad weather passes, and leave them there for the duration of your emergency power usage. Meanwhile, you will be able to enjoy worry-free convenience from your generator with a fully-operational household.

None of these solutions will give you a quiet generator, but they will help to reduce the noise levels and irritation for you and your neighborhood.

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How Home Standby Generators Protect You with Automatic Load Shedding

How Home Standby Generators Protect You with Automatic Load SheddingAt one time, home standby generators had to be big enough to supply emergency power to your whole house at once, or you could connect only the essential circuits that you really couldn’t live without. In the past, when a generator was installed that was not big enough to handle the entire household at once, the installer would connect the essential loads to a separate emergency panel powered by the generator.

That’s no longer the case, thanks to the ability of modern generators to initiate a process called “load shedding.” What is it and how does it benefit your wallet? Here’s how:

What is Load Shedding?

Load shedding is when an electrical generator “dumps” or sheds part of its load to enable it to operate more smoothly. In terms of a mainstream power supply, it usually causes rolling blackouts, particularly in countries where electrical demand can’t be predicted as accurately as it can in the U.S. When you apply the terminology to home standby generators, however, it means that the generator disconnects or sheds particular circuits to prevent overuse of the equipment.

How it Works

When you have a power outage for any reason and your emergency power supply kicks in, all your circuits are connected automatically. As you use various appliances in the home, the load on the generator increases. If it reaches the point where the load is too much and the equipment is at risk of overheating, the system automatically sheds smaller circuits to reduce the load.

Benefits of Load Shedding

So how could the reduction of the load be a benefit to you, if you’ve installed a home standby generator to protect your power supply in times of emergency? There are several advantages of this:

  1. You won’t be able to overload and damage your generator.
  2. You save money, because you don’t need to install as large a generator as you might have previously, because the load shedding capability makes it possible for the equipment to manage the load.
  3. The automatic transfer switch installed with the generator controls the load shedding and enables the system to re-connect circuits as the load reduces, which means you don’t have to do a thing.

Transfer Switches

The automatic transfer switch is the heart of your generator. Called a Load Transfer Switch (LTS), it’s designed to work with the digital controls used on air- and liquid-cooled home standby generators in a variety of different sizes. It comes with its own aluminum housing for protection and a standard, built-in priority load center.

Don’t wait until you have a power outage to start thinking about emergency power for your home. Contact us today for an estimate on the generator you need to keep your home and family safe even during a blackout.

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Keep Your Home and Family Safe with a Residential Standby System

Keep Your Home and Family Safe with a Residential Standby SystemAnyone who has been watching the recent season of NBC’s Revolution on TV will have realized just how much we take electrical power for granted, and what our society could be reduced to without it! One of the most critical issues these days is safety – our own and our family’s safety – and that’s one of the first things that could be compromised during a power outage. Here are some ways in which installing a residential standby system will help keep your family safe.

Cooling

Keeping your A/C running avoids having to open windows for fresh air, which leaves your family vulnerable. That’s what you’d have to do, however, if you lost power for any reason during a South Florida summer. Particularly at night, going to sleep with open windows protected only by screens could act as an invitation for would-be burglars to attempt to get in. And for anyone who suffers from high blood pressure, the heat in a tightly-closed home could be detrimental to their health. A standby generator will enable you to keep cool air flowing for as long as you need it to.

Lighting

A darkened home is an unprotected home. Certainly, that’s the message that anyone with mischief in mind might get. Looting is a common problem during blackout periods, partly because thieves are able to get in under cover of darkness. So whether you are at home or not when a power outage happens, the ability to keep your lights on will protect you and your possessions. A residential standby system not only enables you to use the lights but will power up and keep a computerized lighting scheme going too.

Alarms

Alarms aren’t just for intruders; your home alarm serves multiple purposes, one of which is to alert the authorities to fire. Many home alarms are also connected to a sprinkler system, and if a fire breaks out these are the first line of defense. Without a standby generator to keep the alarm active, you’ll have no timely fire warning and the sprinkler system may not function correctly as a result.

Water

Many homes located in outlying areas rely on wells for their daily water needs. A residential standby system is imperative to keep a well pump working, delivering water for household and farming uses. Similarly, if your home is prone to basement flooding you likely have a sump pump installed to keep your home clear during periods of heavy rain. Modern pumps usually require power to operate, and a stormy season with a power outage and a flooded basement is likely to be a miserable experience.

Secure the safety of your family and possessions by installing a standby generator that powers all your essential circuits and maintains the integrity of your South Florida home. Check out the range of generator accessories available that can increase the functionality of the system you choose.

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How Much Does It Cost to Install a Home Generator?

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Home Generator?Demand for home standby generators has increased since the devastation by various hurricanes and tropical storms in recent years. In South Florida, one thing you can count on is a power outage at least every few years. When it happens, though, it could last for days or even weeks, and being without power for that length of time is inconceivable for most homeowners. The solution, of course, is a home backup system. But how much does it cost to install a home generator?

Generator Size

The primary factor influencing the cost is the size system you choose. You’ll need to decide whether you want to power only a few emergency circuits, in which case you need a basic system. Your second option is a managed load generator that can power the lights and most of your electrical appliances, swopping between them by means of a transfer switch. Your third option in home standby generator is one that can power your entire home. The size of this is also based on the number of electrical devices that you expect to use simultaneously.

Location

The spot where you want to have your generator located affects how much to install a home generator. The easier it is to access, the lower your labor costs are likely to be. In addition, the closer it is to your house the less material is required for connection purposes, which also reduces the installation expenses. You need to find a level area of ground where the generator can fit in with the aesthetics of the surrounding garden but still deliver power directly to your home.

Supply and Installation

A home standby generator should always be installed by a qualified professional. As electrical equipment that produces voltage and runs on either liquid fuel or natural gas, it can be hazardous if installed by someone who isn’t familiar with the process. Installation costs usually include all the wiring and cables needed to connect the generator and to bring it online and make it fully operational.

Costs

The purchasing and installation cost of a home standby generator falls within the following ranges:

  • Basic Generator                   $4,000 to $7,500
  • Managed Load Generator  $7,000 to $10,000
  • Whole-Home Generator     $8,000 to $22,000

You’ll also need to factor in ongoing maintenance and fuel costs, regardless of the type of fuel you use. Most installers offer service contracts to keep your home standby generator running smoothly throughout the year.

These costs are only guidelines because every installation is different. To get true indication of how much to install a home generator for your particular situation, contact us for a free consultation and estimate.

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