Campus Fire and Security

Fire Extinguisher Success Stories: The First Line of Defense

It seems to us that it has been too long since we wrote a fire extinguisher success story wrap-up. As usual, the stories aren’t hard to find.  Small fires kept from turning into large, devastating fires by quick thinking individuals using these critical life safety devices.  Here is a wrap up:

Nursing Home Employees Keep Fire From Spreading

 
Nursing home employees in Missouri used a fire extinguisher to save the Bluffs Nursing home from burning down after a food warmer caught fire.  According to an article from Connect Mid-Missouri:
 

The Columbia fire department says employees at a nursing home saved the building during an early evening fire.It happened at about 5:00pm last night at the Bluffs nursing home on Bluff Creek drive.

Firefighters found a small fire involving the plug from a food warmer and an electrical outlet that had been extinguished by employees using a fire extinguisher.  The fire caused about $4,000 worth of damage.

 
Without the use of proper fire extinguishers by the employees this accident could have been much worse.  Evacuating elderly people can be a very dangerous activity for both the firefighters and the people being evacuated.

 

Fire Extinguishers (and Good Fences) Make Good Neighbors

 A neighbor with a keen eye saved a house in New London Connecticut using a fire extinguisher to put out a blaze before fire officials would even arrive.  These actions prevented injuries and minimized the damages to the house.  According to Connecticut’s TheDay.com:
 

An alert neighbor grabbed a fire extinguisher and quickly knocked down an outside fire at 12 Home St. on Monday afternoon.  Battalion Chief Keith Nichols said fire personnel arrived around 2 p.m. to find lots of smoke with the blaze knocked down but still smoldering. No one was injured, Nichols said, and the damage was contained to the outside, porch and siding area of the multi-family home.  Firefighters pulled siding from the home and sprayed it down. One firefighter used a chainsaw to cut away burnt siding and another peeled up porch slats to make sure the fire had not spread.  Nichols did not know the cause of the fire, which remains under investigation by the fire marshal’s office.

 
 This good neighbor was prepared and ready for an accident, when it happened he reacted and saved the house.  Without the necessary equipment this small fire could’ve easily engulfed the entire house
 

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Dig Deeper:  Watch The Brief Presentation, 4 Reasons it is an Emergency When An Extinguisher is Pulled on Your Campus 

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Tenant Fights Kitchen Fire: Protects Fellow Residents, Building

 The occupant of an apartment in Ohio saved his unit as well as others’ in the apartment building when he quelled a kitchen fire using a fire extinguisher.  The article in IndieOnline.com reports:
 

According to reports, fire crews responded to 1819 Miles Ave. NW around 9:45 p.m. Fire Chief Tracy Hogue said that the occupant of the apartment where the fire started used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames and that the department needed minimal amounts of water to extinguish the fire.  Smoke from the fire filled the entire apartment and forced the residents of the adjoining apartments to evacuate.  The only damage reported was to the apartment where the fire originated. The smoke and heat damage, which was contained to the kitchen, was estimated at $5,000.


This quick thinking tenant was well prepared and potentially saved not only his unit, but also the entire building.  


Couple Uses Fire Extinguishers To Escape Aggressive Blaze

A well prepared Oregon couple narrowly escape their home unharmed by using fire extinguishers to fend off flames that filled their home.  An article by The Oregonian reports:  
 

Regina and Dwayne Dennis discovered a blaze in their home in the 3700 block of North Vancouver Avenue and called 9-1-1 at 4:45 a.m. They then fought the blaze with fire extinguishers they kept in the house as they backed away from the flames and toward safety.  "This is a case where the homeowners did everything right and got out of the house quickly and safely," said Paul Corah, spokesman for the Portland Fire Bureau. "They had working smoke alarms, portable fire extinguishers, called 911, and met firefighters out front just as they should have."


With millions of fires each year being effectively fought with fire extinguishers, it is vitally important to ensure that these silent heroes are available, accessible and working properly.  Find out more about how enGauge monitors your organization's extinguishers so they are ready when you need them.

 

 

 

 

 

False Alarms and Missing Fire Extinguishers - A Bad Combination

This is the type of story that we run across all too often at en-Gauge.  Some pranksters at Western Washington University have taken to pulling fire alarms in the middle of the night.  And to make things worse, there have been several instances where fire extinguishers have gone missing or have been discharged during the same time period.  These types of actions when found in combination can increase the likelihood of a tragedy occuring in the event of an actual emergency.Missing-fire-extinguisher-campus

 

According to the Western Front, the school newspaper:

Chief of the Bellingham Fire Department Bill Boyd said pulling a fire alarm when there isn’t a fire is similar to the “crying wolf” analogy.

“Repeat false fire alarms in the same location can lull occupants into a false sense of security,” Boyd said.

He said he realizes false fire alarms are occasional, but is still aware of the danger they can cause.

“Most of our false fire alarm responses are due to malfunctioning smoke and heat detectors or properly operating detectors that were tripped inadvertently due to construction dust or burned food,” he said. “It does have an impact on our response readiness and ability to quickly respond to emergencies when the dispatched engine company is tied up on the alarm investigation.”

 

In addition to the impact this has on the students and the fire authorities, in the event of an actual fire, missing or empty fire extinguishers can lead to a rapidly escalating emergency.  As we've mentioned in the past, fire extinguishers put out an estimated 5 Million plus fires in the U.S. in 2010, and is most often the first line of fire defense for residents.  en-Gauge fire extinguisher monitoring technology ensures that fire extinguishers on campus are in place, pressurized and accessible, while at the same time dramatically decreasing or eliminating the instances of costly fire extinguisher vandalism.  To learn more about why monitored fire extinguishers are a vital piece of the fire safety program at every campus, watch this short presentation:  4 Reasons it is an Emergency when a Fire Extinguisher is Pulled on Campus.

 

Deadly School Fire Soon Forgotten - Inspections Critical to Safety

Unfortunately, the desire for fun and games has trumped the memory of a deadly fire at Nebraska Weslyan campus.  4 short years after a 19 year old student was killed in a fraternity fire at Weslyan, fire safety has taken a back seat to good times.  Acoording to the Lincoln Journal Star:

Fire Inspector Rick Campos made a surprise visit to Theta Chi, a fraternity on the other side of campus.

He found all of the house's smoke detectors blocked by commercial-grade covers.

The covers were the same kind construction crews use to keep out dust. But the fraternity brothers weren't doing contract work, Campos says, they were smoking inside and didn't want to get caught.

Although the fraternities may consider the fire inspectors to be the bane of their existence, this type of inspectionburning-school-building is vital to ensuring the safety of students.  While the school and nearly University of Nebraska at Lincoln have been working to improve fire safety and student education, it is clear just how difficult the challenge is.

At UNL's Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house, a student discharged a fire extinguisher in December when there wasn't a fire. The student is set to appear in court this week.

Earlier in the semester, someone set off fireworks in the house. No one was cited, but a similar incident in Iowa recently resulted in felony charges, Campos said.

At another UNL fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, someone set a chair on fire in a second-floor hallway at 5 a.m. on a Monday, when the house was filled with students. 

Fire extinguisher vandalism is an epidemic on college campuses, and when you hear about stunts like this, having the first line of fire defense unavailable due to someone goofing around is inexcusable.  In addition to the invaluable job that fire inspectors perform, having the fire extinguishers on campus monitored electronically for removal, blockage or lack of pressure will dramatically cut down on expenses associated with vandalism and improve the safety of students.

To Learn More, Watch the Presentation - 4 Reasons It is an Emergency when a Fire Extinguisher is Pulled on Campus!

Fire Exinguisher Vandalism Roundup

Vandals continue to do thousands of dollars of damage and interrupt business and community activities by carelessly using fire extinguishers in acts of vandalism.  We continue to be amazed a how many articles come across our desk describing the damage and disruption caused by these acts of fire extinguisher vandalism.  Here are just a handful of the examples from the last few weeks.


Michigan Church Close For Over A Week Due to Fire Extinguisher Vandalism


The Eureka Christian Church in Clinton County Michigan was extensively vandalized by intruders that took delight in having a fire extinguisher fight with multiple dry chemical fire extinguishers.  According to WILX.com:



Volunteers showed up at Eureka Christian Church to help clean up, but were shocked to find more damage than they could handle. Some people snuck into the church gym and had a ball blasting three fire extinguishers.


"It's everywhere. It's on the tables, on the chairs, on the lights, and on the floor. It's just filth," said Eureka Christian Church member Karry Shears of the extinguisher residue.


"When I walked in and saw the damage my heart fell to the ground," said 43-year church member Todd Colley.


...Their insurance company estimates the job will take at least two weeks to clean, but has not determined how much the damage will cost.


The residue for the fire extinguishers is still thick in the air 3 days after the incident and has covered nearly every surface.


A long term concern the church may need to address is that the dry chemicals from extinguishers is corrosive to electronics and extremely difficult to remove from the delicate instrumentation.  The best way to discourage fire extinguisher vandalism is to know when it is taking place by using a fire extinguisher monitoring solution like that provided by en-Gauge.


 


Vandals Coat Spokane, WA School Gyms with Fire ExtinguishersFire-Extinguisher-Vandalism


In an all to familiar story, vandals broke into a school overnight and the staff came in to find a huge mess and a major disruption to business as ususal.



This photo from KREM.com gives an indication of just how much area a vandal can impact by discharging just a single fire extinguisher.


 



Former Hewlett-Packard Building Vandalized with Fire Extinguishers


In Greeley, Colorado police arrested 3 teenaged boys involved in a truly expensive act of vandalism.  According to The Greeley Tribune:



Three 16-year-old boys were arrested by Greeley police after they were found inside the old Hewlett-Packard building in west Greeley, where they were accused of causing up to $100,000 in damage.


Greeley police spokesman Sgt. Joe Tymkowych said police received a call from a watchman at the plant, in the 900 block of 71st Avenue, at about 11 a.m. Thursday. The caller said he saw three boys setting off fire extinguishers inside the building.


Police arrived minutes later and found the three boys hiding on the roof of the building.


Based on the feedback from the community regarding this story on the Tribune website, passions are running high about the amount of damage and the need to make an example of these vandals.



$10,000 of damage to Eureka, MO High School Pool due to Fire Exinguisher Vandalism


Why is it that schools get hit so hard by vandals that think it is funny to discharge these vital life safety devices as a prank.  With the vandals caught in this situation and a $10K price tag plus criminal charges pending, they probably no longer think it was a very clever idea.  According to the Eureka-Wildwood Patch:



Damage to the school's pool was deemed "extensive," and estimated to cost  more than $10,000.


Wiegand said the police report filed by Eureka police and school resource officer Michael Smith indicated the incident was reported by Eureka's athletic director Jason Green.


"(Green's) statements outlined that he found chemicals floating in the pool from fire extinguishers being sprayed there, and on the equipment of the school's aquatic sports department, which rendered the pool and items unoperable," Wiegand said.


....Monday night, Eureka High School physical education teacher and swim coach Sharon Wasson said the pool underwent extensive cleaning, but that the swimmers were happy to have it return to operational. St. Louis-based catastrophe and restoration company CATCO, handled the cleaning project.  She said they did a phenomenal job with the situation.


 


Don't be taken by surprise by vandals.  Start monitoring your fire extinguisher 24/7/365 with the en-Gauge electronic fire extinguisher monitoring system and be sure that your first line of defense against fires is where is needs to be, accessible and ready for proper use. 

The Importance of Fire Extinguishers

 Just how important to society are fire extinguishers?  It turns out VERY IMPORTANT!  Often ignored,  even by the fire community, these overlooked life safety devices play a vital role in keeping us safe.  It is time for fire extinguishers to get the respect they deserve.
 
For most people fire extinguishers are invisible red cans on walls,  never looked at,  rarely considered. fire-extinguisher-in-use  To some they are the joke in a funny story about cooling beer in college or the laugh from the time they shot one off that drunken night.  But in more than 600 businesses and non-residential structures every day in America they are the difference between a minor fire problem and a conflagration.
 
Yes, you read that right, 600 time a day fire extinguishers put out fires in non-residential structures in the United States and many more around the globe.
 

Here are the facts.  

 
According to the most recent NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) data1, in 2008 U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,451,500 fires.  These fires resulted in 3,320 civilian fire fatalities, 16,705 civilian fire injuries and an estimated $15,478,000,000 in direct property loss.
 
Of these fires 112,000 were responded to in commercial or municipal buildings.  Of the over $15 Billion in property damage, more than $3.811 Billion took place in these non-residential structures.  This represents an average loss per reported incident in non-residential / commercial structures of over $34,000.
 
These facts, pure and simple, don’t tell the story of the true value of fire extinguishers to our society.
 

The Vital Role of Fire Extinguishers

 

To highlight the effectiveness of extinguishers in the early stage fire fighting, a 2002 UK study performed by FETA (Fire Extinguishing Trades Association) and IFEDA (Independent Fire Engineering and Distributors Association) reviewed over 2100 fire incidents and found that in 80% of the cases a portable fire extinguisher successfully extinguished the fire and in 75% of those cases, the fire department was not required to attend.

fire extinguisher putting out fireA similar survey was conducted in 2002 by EUROFEU (European Committee of the Manufacturers of Fire Protection Equipment and Fire Fighting Vehicles) in 6 European countries and it found strikingly consistent results.  In over 2600 incidents recorded it concluded that in 81.5% of cases the portable extinguisher successfully extinguished the fire and in 74.6% of the cases the fire department was not required to attend.

Extrapolating the results of these surveys to the U.S. market provides solid statistical evidence that in approximately 80% of all fire incidents a portable fire extinguisher is the only fire fighting tool needed to extinguish the fire.  Further, they indicate that in 60% of all fire incidents the fire department is not notified (and thus the event would not  appear in NFPA statistics).  If applied to the 2008 NFPA data, fire extinguishers effectively managed approximately 224,000 fires in commercial structures, 168,000 of which do not appear in NFPA statistics.  

Fire Extinguishers in Academic Settings

 
To provide some additional insight, a 2010 White Paper from Worcester Polytechnic Institute reported on the use of fire extinguishers to combat real fires in academic settings.  According to their research, fire extinguishers are used approximately 15,000 times each year in schools, colleges, universities, dormitories, fraternities, sororities and barracks.  
 
That means that fire extinguishers are called into service more that 41 times each day as the first line of fire defense in our nations schools.  What is more important than protecting the lives of our young people?

Fires in Hotels

 
According to a recent article on HotelInteractive.com, a leading web portal for hotel professionals,
 

....an estimated 3,900 fires occur each year in hotels and motels. Annually, these fires result in $76 million in property loss.

 

According to a recent report by the U.S. Fire Administration, 46 percent of hotel and motel fires are caused by cooking, with electrical malfunctions and heating each causing an additional 7 percent of fires. These fires occur primarily in the evening, between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. While 73 percent of fires are confined to the object of origin, 18 percent are confined to the room of fire origin and the remaining 9 percent of fires extend beyond the room of origin.


With 73 % of these fires confined to the object of origin, it is easy to see the absolutelyputting out fire with extinguisher critical role that fire extinguishers play in keeping the guests in hotels safe.  Extrapolating the prominent studies,  this indicated more than 20 fires everyday are put out by fire extinguishers in hotels.

Fire Extinguishers Protect the Environment


Fire extinguishers also play a critical role in protecting the environment by controlling fires at their very early stages.  According to a 2010 White Paper from Green Collar Research, a leading sustainability on-line research organization,

From a safety as well as from an environmental and carbon release perspective, the management of a fire with a fire extinguisher when it is in its very early stages is a best case scenario.

Green Collar Research sums up the beneficial role that fire extinguishers, and particularly electronically monitored fire extinguishers like those offered by en-Gauge, in the following manner.

Fire and fire protection plays a significant role in releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  Fire extinguishers play a crucial role in protecting the environment due to their proven ability to fight fires while they are at their very early stages.  The availability of accessible and working fire extinguishers assures that the highest possible percentage of fires will be controlled with the minimal environmental impact possible.

Replacing the inefficient and carbon-intensive manual extinguisher inspection methodology with electronically monitored extinguishers will have significant positive impacts on the environment, including:

  • ·Fewer carbon emissions from fire incidents in which a missing, blocked or non-functioning fire extinguisher is a contributing factor

  • Reduced embodied carbon generated via the manufacture of replacement building materials necessary to repair fire damage

  • Reduced carbon emission from the burning of fossil fuels for transportation necessary for the manual inspection of extinguishers

  • Reduced water use required to fight fires

  • Reduced levels of persistent pollutants associated with fires and waste water run-off


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Fire Extinguishers - Society’s Silent Heroes


With all of the benefits that fire extinguishers provide for us, it is surprising that we don’t appreciate them more.  In extinguishing fire with extinguisherfact, the only time we think about them is when we need them in an emergency.  The only time we hear about them is when they are unavailable, or when the are unable to do their job.  

One of the major concerns relative to fire extinguishers is that the 30-day fire extinguisher inspection required by the National Fire Protection Association in NFPA 10, is not sufficient to be sure fire extinguishers are available, accessible and functional at all times.  In order to ensure these silent heroes are ready when needed, it is crucial to have them monitored 24/7, just like all of the other, less utilized aspects of our fire protection systems.  To learn more about electronic monitoring of fire extinguishers, please visit http://www.engaugeinc.net.

Fire Extinguisher Training - A Critical Component of Your Life Safety Program

Fire Extinguishers are your organization's first line of defense against fire and a critical part of your life safety plan.  They are designed to put out or control small fires, but it is vital that building occupants understand and get trained on the basics of fire safety and fire extinguisher use. 


Why is fire extinguisher training important? 


According to the University of Norhtern Iowa:


A fire is the most common type of emergency for which all businesses must plan. A critical decision when planning is whether or not employees should fight a small fire with a portable fire extinguisher or simply evacuate. Small fires can often be put out quickly with a portable fire extinguisher. However, to do this safely, the employee must understand the use and limitation of a portable fire extinguisher and the hazards associated with fighting fires.


What does fire extinguisher training consist of?


For an individual to properly assess and react in a fire situation, Fire Extinguisher Training generally consists of several components.


Fire Basics.


The components of fire, how fires start and spread. fire-extinguisher-training


Fuel Classifications. 


Understanding the four types of fuel sources for fires.  A. General Combustibles like wood, cloth, paper, rubber; B. Flamable liquids, gases, greases, Petroleum products; C. Energized electrical equipment, and; D. Combustible metals like sodium, potassium, magnesium


Types of Extinguishers. 


What are they types of extinguisher and which types of fires they can be used on.


How Fire Extinguishers Work. 


Components of a fire extinguisher, how they suppress various types of fires, pressure systems, etc.


Rules for Fighting a Fire. 


What to do before fighting a fire, understanding what is burning, understanding how to approach a fire, identifying your evacuation path, assessing a fire's progress, etc.


How to Use a Fire Extinguisher Properly. 


How the P.A.S.S. (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep) technique works, why it is important and how it is put into practice..



Fire Extinguisher Training is more than just pulling a pin and squeezing.  Implementing a fire extinguisher safety program, informing occupants of the specific building's fire safety procedures, understanding the different classes of fires and different types of fire extinguishers, and receiving training on how to fight a fire CAN save lives.  There are many professional organizations that can provide detailed fire extinguisher training for your organization.  We encourage all businesses to consider this important life safety step.



Electronically monitoring extinguishers with the en-Gauge system ensures these vital life safety tools are available, accessible and in working order 24/7/365.


Subscribe to our blog for more details on fire extinguisher training.

Success Story Roundup, Proving Fire Extinguisher Safety and Fire Codes Work

Fire-Extinguisher-Suppressing-FireFire Extinguishers are the first line of defense when a fire incident occurs.  For the extinuisher to do its job, it must be available, accessible and function properly - all things the en-Gauge electronic fire extinuisher monitoring solution insures. 

With that said, we love to read stories about Fire Exinguishers doing their job and putting out fires or helping people control fires until help arrives or they can evacuate.

Here is a list of Fire Extinguisher Success Stories from the last few days:

Smith and Wesson Employee Uses Fire Extinuisher to Save Building From Burning

In Springfield, MA an employee at Smith and Wesson quickly put out a fire at one of the gun manufacturers buildings.  According to the article by Channel 22 News at WWLP.com:Smith-and-Wesson-Logo

Captain Mike Richard of the Springfield Fire Department told 22News that the employee used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire, which started at Smith & Wesson Building R around 6:00 A.M. ...

Richard says the employee’s action saved the building. He also said that the employee had received training on the use of the extinguisher, which is very important.

Great story, made better by the fact that the employee was part of the S&W emergency response team and had been trained in the proper use of Fire Extinguishers.

 

Assistant High School Principal Tackles School Fire in Pennsylvania

On Veteran's Day, an assistant High School Principal - a veteran himself - extinguished a fire with a fire extinguisher at Whitemarsh High School in Pennsylvania.  According to The Times Herald:

Assistant Principal Dan Balek, a veteran, was on hand to save the day at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PWHS) after part of the east wing faculty kitchen area caught fire Thursday afternoon.

While the cause of the fire remains unclear, school spokesman Dave Sherman said Balek happened to be in the area at the time.

"The school was evacuated briefly and (Balek) used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire before the fire department arrived," said Sherman.

It is common to hear about fires put out prior to the fire department arriving.  This emphasizes the importance of consistent monitoring of the fire extinguishers to be confident that they are available and ready to work.

 

Boston Subway Fire Subdued with Fire Extinguisher

A small fire on the Orange Line in the Downtown Crossing MBTA Station in Boston caused disruption of service and the evacuation of the station, but no injuries were reported.  According to Boston.com:MBTA Logo

A small fire in the Downtown Crossing MBTA station Saturday night disrupted subway service, but caused no reported injuries, Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said.

Officials evacuated the station as a precaution after the fire, which occurred about 10 p.m., MacDonald said. The flame started around the wheel of a Orange Line train, and firefighters quickly put it out with a fire extinguisher before it could make a lot of smoke, MacDonald said.

 

Intentionally Set School Fire in Washington State Supressed with Fire Extinguisher

A fire intentionally set in the 3rd floor girls bathroom at Kitsap High School in Kitsap, Washington was identified and extinguished by school officials after smoke was reported.  According to the Central Kipsap Reporter: Central-Kitsap-High-School

School officials were alerted to the fire and used a fire extinguisher to snuff out the small blaze, according to a statement from the fire department. No one was injured.

Estimates put the damage at about $2,000.

District spokesman David Beil said about 1,200 students were temporarily evacuated.

According to a student at the school who commented on the article: 

omg me and my bros and my friendsgo to this schoolitwas so creepy!! there was smoke everywhere!! 

We love this comment and think that the english teachers at the school probably will too.

 

Fire Put Out with Fire Extinguisher at Washington Manufacturing Plant

According to the Kitsap Sun - yup, the same Kitsap - a fire at a manufacturing plant on Bainbridge Island experienced an electric fire:

Employees at the rod-and-reel plant noticed sparks and a flame coming from the wall socket about 8:30 p.m., according to a report from Bainbridge Island Fire Department. An alert employee grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out the blaze.

As a precaution, the building was evacuated.

When firefighters arrived, they checked the outlet and surrounding wall with a thermal imaging camera and found no lingering heat. Employees were allowed to go home, and maintenance staffers took over repairs.

 This is a perfect example of why you call the Fire Department, even if you think you have fought the blaze successfully.  Fires that may look like they have been extinguished can smolder for hours and come back to life later.  The Fire Department knows what to look for and should always be contacted in any fire emergency.

Remember, make sure you perform your yearly fire extinguisher inspections and to ensure that your extinguishers are available, accessable and ready to use 24 X 7, 365, rely upon en-Gauge.  The only electronically monitored fire extinguisher solution.  Contact Us today to Learn More

University of Utah uses en-Gauge technology to monitor AEDs

One of the early adopters of en-Gauge electronically monitored fire extinguishers, the University of Utah Salt Lake City has added a new twist to its safety monitoring.

The University is now using the en-Gauge sensor monitoring platform to keep track of 18 of its automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in large occupancy buildings across the campus.

We appreciate and applaud the University of Utah, especially Mike Halligan for being a leader in offering the latest in campus safety technologies to its students, visitors and faculty.

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