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At CRS, we honor six of our dedicated employees who are Veterans of the United States Military.

“Teamwork is a huge thing in the military and it has always played a role in my jobs, but it is extremely prevalent here at CRS. Being able to work with the different departments to accomplish a goal is a daily event here.” says Kristina Coombs, CRS Customer Care Specialist. In the Army Reserves, Kristina served as an Automated Logistical Specialist for nearly four years. Her family is an “Army Family” so she says “it just seemed right” that she joined.

Vanessa Cazarez, CRS Billing Specialist, was an Aviation Mechanic in the United States Navy for 5 years. Stationed on the USS Abraham Lincoln in Norfolk, VA, she states being a Veteran “Makes me proud to have been part of the select few that volunteer to protect our great country.”

 

Vanessa Cazarez (on the far right) and her United States Navy Aviation Mechanic team.

Two of our employees, Corinne Weinberger and Chris Varela, actually served on the same mission in Desert Storm together. Though they didn’t know each other at the time, and had different duties, both feel that the skills learned while in the military have helped them excel at CRS. Team building and working with people from diverse backgrounds has taught them how to approach various situations, talk to people and think fast on their feet.

Mindy Campbell, CRS Customer Care Specialist with eight years of service at CRS, wants to tell people thinking of joining the military to “Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. It will be the hardest thing you’ll ever do but will be darn proud of yourself when you look back on your time in the service.” Mindy served as an Army Medic for 3 years and a reservist for 2 more.

Using organizational skills learned during his time as a Sergeant in the Army, Vince Salazar is now on the front lines at CRS as Customer Care Specialist. He’s one of the first people that a policyholder might talk with about their housing loss. Not only does Vince provide pertinent information they need, he empathizes with and encourages them to stay strong, knowing that CRS has got their back.

All Veterans remind us of our potential as Americans to give and at times, give it your all. They are our relatives, friends, neighbors, and co-workers, and they committed to a cause larger than their own by accepting the challenge to defend our nation.

Today, and every day, we say THANK YOU.

On this Veterans Day, we salute our Veterans and extend our gratitude for their service.



“Nobody ever drowned in sweat.” - US Marines

“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.” - George S. Patton

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As hurricane Florence approaches, follow these tips to keep your family safe

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall on the East Coast by Friday morning. While you prepare to evacuate or shelter in place, here are some helpful safety tips from your temporary housing source. 

      

If you are advised or ordered to evacuate

·         Follow all directions and orders from local officials and leave immediately when instructed to do so.

·         Bring emergency supplies, including: a first aid kit, medicine, food, water, formula and diapers, toiletries, cell phones, radios, and batteries.

·         Take extra cash and copies of important papers such as insurance policies.

·         Pack blankets, sleeping bags, books, and games.

·         Unplug appliances, turn off utilities such as electricity and the main water valve.

·         Lock the windows and doors of your home.

·         Don't forget about your pets! Pack their food, beds, a toy and any meds. 

 

If you are not told to evacuate

·         STAY AT HOME! Leave the roads available for those who must evacuate. If you absolutely must leave your home, NEVER drive through floodwaters. Turn around, don't drown.

·         Clean your bathtub with bleach and fill it with water for washing and flushing (not drinking).

·         Set your refrigerator to maximum cold and keep it closed.

·         Turn off your utilities if told to do so by local officials.

 

During the storm

·         Go to an interior room and stay away from windows and doors, even though they're covered.

·         During very strong winds, lie under something sturdy.

·         Do not go outside, including during passage of the eye of the hurricane.

 

 

CRS is tracking and preparing for Hurricane Florence. Our Catastrophe team is ready to assist both insurance adjusters and policyholders with immediate emergency hotel and housing assistance.

  • We are fully staffed 24/7/365 for immediate assistance.
  • Timely deployment of CRS employees on-site to support adjusters and policyholders.
  • Priority booking with major hotel chains for needs of adjusters and policyholders.
  • Competitive pricing on homes, condos, townhomes, apartments, mobile homes and travel trailers.
  • Capability to provide temporary office trailers for carriers.
  • One point of contact for adjusters and policyholders to minimize confusion.
  • Internal weather tracking so we know where the storm is heading.  
 

800-968-0848    |    request@crsth.com    |   www.crsth.com

 
 

Source(s):

https://weather.com/safety/hurricane/news/hurricanes-safety-during-20120330

https://www.crsth.com/services/catastrophe/

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It’s hurricane and wildfire season, is damage to my home covered?

Running over the entire summer from June 1st to November 30th, hurricane season brings serious damage risks from high winds, rain, and flooding in storm-prone regions. Is your biggest asset well protected? Your home is most likely your family’s most valuable investment. Know that your current homeowner’s insurance policy may cover some damage brought on by a hurricane, but not all.

Running concurrently with hurricane season, wildfire season is a period when wildland fires are likely to occur, spread, and affect resource values sufficient to warrant organized fire management activities. Higher temperatures, reduced snowpack, increased drought risk, and longer warm seasons are increasing wildfire activity in the western United States.

Make sure you have the proper coverage

Review your homeowner’s insurance policy today to make sure your policy is up-to-date and you are properly protected for anything that may happen. Here are a few tips regarding damage brought on by hurricanes and wildfires.

__________

WIND

In most states, standard homeowner’s policies cover damage caused by wind, including hurricanes. But if you live in a high-risk coastal state you might need to buy separate windstorm insurance. Check with your insurance company as it might also be available as a rider on your current policy. Windstorm insurance covers damage from any high wind, not just hurricanes. The cost of a separate windstorm policy depends on the amount of your deductible, where you live, and how much it would cost to rebuild your house.

__________

FLOOD

Flood damage brought on by, or as the result of, a hurricane is not typically covered in a private homeowners insurance policy. U.S. law requires people to purchase basic flood insurance if their home is in a designated high-risk flood area with a federally backed mortgage. (See floodsmart.gov for more information.) But in 2017, Hurricane Harvey showed that flooding can also damage properties outside the highest-risk zones and affect homeowners who weren’t required to buy the additional coverage.

Check with the National Flood Insurance Program as you may be able to purchase a separate flood insurance to help cover such damage in your area.

Don’t procrastinate

Flood insurance policies impose a 30-day waiting period between the time you buy and the time coverage takes effect, so review your policy today. If a major storm has been forecast, there’s a chance that your current coverage will be locked in until that major weather event has passed.

__________

WILDFIRE

Damage from wildfires and forest fires is most likely covered by your homeowner’s insurance, but coverage may vary by geographic location and by policy. You may also find that some insurers do not sell homeowner’s policies in areas where wildfires are common, or it may be offered by paying a higher premium. Check your policy or contact your agent to learn about terms and coverage limits.

__________

The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends reviewing the amount of coverage you have in place and make any necessary adjustments to help ensure your limits are in line with the potential cost of repairing or rebuilding your home.

Whether you’re buying homeowners insurance, flood insurance, windstorm insurance or wildfire insurance — or all four — make sure you have enough coverage to pay for the full cost of rebuilding your house. Your insurance agent can help you pinpoint the right amount.

 

Sources:

https://www.floodsmart.gov

https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-homeowners-insurance-wont-cover-if-a-hurricane-hits-1504897428

https://www.iii.org/article/hurricanes-harvey-and-irma-insurance-faqs

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Start your summer right with Memorial Day safety

As we happily head into this Memorial Day weekend, let’s take a moment to be thankful for our troops, and honor the passing of the members of the military who died in active duty.    Memorial Day weekend is here, and with it comes outdoor fun in the sun. Whether you’re road-tripping or celebrating at home, be aware and take a few safety precautions to ensure a happy and safe holiday weekend. No matter which way you slice the numbers, according to AAA this long holiday weekend is poised to be one of the busiest on record.  

Travel

- Make sure your car is ready for the trip. Pack a first-aid kit, bottled water and some energy bars in case you get stranded. Bring a car adapter for charging your cellphone. - Schedule your road trip at times to help avoid the holiday travel congestion. Leaving before rush hour Friday or early Saturday and driving back Monday before 3 p.m. or after 10 p.m. should make for less traffic hassles. - Never leave people or pets inside a parked car. Temperatures inside a vehicle can climb to dangerous levels quickly, even on a cloudy day. - If you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a driver who won’t drink.  

Being outside

With the temperatures rising, it’s important to know how to stay safe during times of excessive heat. - Eat small meals and eat more often. - Stay hydrated, avoid caffeine and alcohol. - Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. - Take frequent breaks if you are working outdoors, avoid strenuous outdoor activity.  

Grilling

Seven out of every 10 adults in the United States have a grill or smoker, and this weekend marks the symbolic start to summer and grilling season. - Never leave your grill unattended, and have a fire extinguisher available. - Propane and charcoal BBQ grills are for outdoor use only. - The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. - Keep children and pets away from the grill area. - Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. Heavy food build-ups can cause nasty flare-ups.  

Water safety

BOATING - Have one life jacket that is US Coastal Guard approved for everyone on board. - If a child is under the age of 13, they must have a life jacket on whenever the boat is in motion. - The rules for driving a boat are similar to those of a vehicle - people cannot drink and drive a boat. SWIMMING - Everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards. Always remember the penguin credo, never swim alone!  #skipper    - Adults, actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers. - Understand what to do to help someone in trouble, without endangering yourself; know how and when to call 9-1-1; and know CPR.  

Always remember

Have a first aid kit nearby and emergency contacts programmed into your phone. You never know when an accident can happen, and better to be prepared just in case.  

SOURCES https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/how-to-avoid-grilling-mishaps-this-memorial-day-weekend/70005010 http://www.redcross.org/news/press-release/Red-Cross-Offers-Summer-Safety-Tips-for-All-Season-Long
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Home Essentials: How to nail your basic toolkit 

Are you a new homeowner, or maybe new to a temporary home? In either case, you’ll want to have a basic toolkit for minor home repairs. Imagine having to shell out big bucks to a handyman every time you want to hang a picture or adjust squeaky door? So not cool.

The best gift I received when I moved into my first apartment was a stocked toolbox from my dad. Not the housewarming gift I was hoping for, but in the following months and after it’s weekly use, I was in total appreciation of his foresight.

 

So, where to start?

Get yourself to the hardware store, grab a cart and let’s get shopping. Building a good toolkit usually happens over time because it can be costly, but you should start out with some essentials. For about $60, you can build a starter kit. Here are the must-haves:

• Claw Hammer • Screwdriver Set • Adjustable Crescent Wrench • Channellock Pliers • Tape Measure • Level • Carpenter Pencils and Sharpener

Make sure to keep your core set of tools in a toolbox or bag at all times.

 

Ready to add more?

Within six months to a year, you may be ready to expand your toolkit. With a few added tools, you’ll have the means to put up shelves, paint a room, change door locks and more. The estimated cost for adding the below tools will be around $200.

• Utility Knife and Blades • Ratchet Set • Cordless Drill and Drill Bits • Manual Saw Set: Hacksaw and Wood Saw • Stud Finder • Basic Painting Set • Flash Light

 

Having so much fun that you want to try more?

Most hardware stores, especially large national chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s, both host classes and workshops designed to help new homeowners get comfortable with doing their own work around the house, making their own improvements, and fixing their own problems without spending a ton of money on contractors or specialists. For example, Home Depot’s weekly workshops will show you how to do things like install decorative molding, install tile flooring, properly paint interior walls, and more—all things you may never have had to do as a renter.

Lowe’s also has a how-to project center with walkthroughs for common household projects:  Take me there

 
Sources: https://www.fix.com/blog/diy-home-repair-kit/ https://lifehacker.com/where-can-i-learn-home-improvement-skills-1535195959
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Spring ahead and lose an hour of sleep. Whose idea was this?

Do we love to spring ahead or hate it? In a year filled with 8,760 hours, why do we think it’s such a big deal? It’s just 0.01141552511415525% of a year.

Aside from what you may have heard over your lifetime, farmers are not to blame and it was not created by Benjamin Franklin. Daylight saving time was actually first instituted by Germany on May 1, 1916 in an effort to conserve fuel during World War I.

Do we still need it today? U.S. states are starting to decide on an individual basis. The Florida Senate just approved a bill that once they spring ahead on March 11, 2018, they could remain there. The approval means the bill will go to the governor’s desk, but it doesn’t mean the “spring forward” clock change Sunday at 2 a.m. will put the state on permanent daylight saving time.

Currently, states can opt out of daylight saving time to stay on standard time, but cannot make daylight saving time permanent. So, it will be interesting to see what transpires in the coming weeks.

Most areas of the United States observe daylight saving time (DST), the exceptions being Arizona, Hawaii, and the overseas territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands.

Whether you love it or hate, know that it’s a good time to do a few inexpensive, routine updates in and around your home.

1 - Replace the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries.

These alarms save lives! For just a few dollars and minutes of your time, you can economically and quickly replace the batteries and know your family is safer.

2 - Prepare a storm kit for your home and car.

This can be a lifesaver in a power outage or if you get stranded in your car in bad weather. Make sure you have a long-lasting LED flashlight, a reflective vest for walking at night, non-perishable snacks, water and a warm blanket. Go to www.ready.gov/build-a-kit for more detailed kit information.

3 - Check your sump pump.

Spring often brings rain so make sure your sump pump is draining properly. Do not wait until a major snow thaw or rainstorm to find out that the pump’s motor is shot and you have 4” of water in your basement. It’s also a good idea to invest in a backup battery in the event of a power outage.

4 - Inspect the exterior of your home.

Did you just get through a harsh winter? Take a walk around the outside of the house: Are there cracks in the concrete? Is the driveway in good condition? Check the roof for signs of loose or broken shingles. Look up at the chimney for signs of wear. Check the facade and foundation for cracks or signs of water pooling.

5 - Change your clocks.

If you have any clocks in your home that run on batteries, make sure to set them ahead one hour before you head to bed. If you have an older model car like me, make sure to change the clock on your dash as well. Then when you wake it you’ll be on the right track.

As for keeping your body on track, you know that it’s coming, so maybe hop into bed an hour early on Saturday night.

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Safety tips for during and after a blizzard.

Winter storms can pack a devastating punch bringing not only snow and ice, but by dangerously low temperatures, severe wind gusts, and flooding. These blasting storms can also cause power outages that last for days. They can make roads and walkways extremely dangerous or impassable and close or limit critical community services such as public transportation, child care, health programs, and schools. Injuries and deaths may occur from exposure, dangerous road conditions, and carbon monoxide poisoning and other conditions. We want you to take extra care of yourself and your family during this time. Below are a few safety tips on what to do during and after a major winter storm.

During Blizzards and Extreme Cold

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule and your route; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.

After Blizzards and Extreme Cold

  • If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours or if you do not have adequate supplies to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to go to a designated public shelter if you can get there safely. Text SHELTER + your ZIP CODE to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (e.g., SHELTER20472)
  • Bring any personal items that you would need to spend the night (such as toiletries, medicines). Take precautions when traveling to the shelter. Dress warmly in layers, wear boots, mittens, and a hat.
  • Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

Cold-related Illness

  • Frostbite is a serious condition that’s caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures.
    • a white or grayish-yellow skin area
    • skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
    • numbness
    • If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.
  • Hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, is a dangerous condition that can occur when a person is exposed to extremely cold temperatures.  Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it’s produced. Lengthy exposures will eventually use up your body’s stored energy, which leads to lower body temperature.
    • Warnings signs of hypothermia:
    • Adults: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech drowsiness
    • Infants:  bright red, cold skin, very low energy. If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95° F, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.

Carbon Monoxide

Caution: Each year, an average of 430 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, and there are more than 20,000 visits to the emergency room with more than 4,000 hospitalizations. Carbon monoxide-related deaths are highest during colder months. These deaths are likely due to increased use of gas-powered furnaces and alternative heating, cooking, and power sources used inappropriately indoors during power outages.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal¬ burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Keep these devices at least 20 feet from doors, windows, and vents.
  • The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock, and fire.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
  • Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrives to assist you.
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Fall’s transformation is here, how will you change?

The first day of fall is Friday, September 22

As the leaves begin to fall and the heat of summer fades, we naturally begin to think about how we need to prepare for the changing season. Do we start to replace summer clothes for sweaters, pants, and boots? Is it time to think about putting down the storm windows? When do we move the shovel and salt closer to the garage door?

These are all great questions and items on many people’s lists. But how else can we better prepare ourselves for what else might be coming next?

 

Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can

As we prepare for fall, we also come to the end of National Preparedness Month (September 2017). We hope that you have thoughtfully taken steps to prepare yourself, your family and your home for potential natural disasters and national emergencies. With the devastation we’ve recently seen with Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma, and the recent earthquakes in Mexico, we know that disaster can strike at any time and any where.

Here’s a checklist to help guide you in making a plan for you and your family:

www.ready.gov/make-a-plan

 

The importance of property insurance

Homeowners insurance not only protects your home, which may very well be your largest investment, but gives you a sense of security. The general assumption is that whatever happens to your home is covered. In actuality, typical perils (causes of property destruction) that are generally not covered are flood damage, earthquake, mold, acts of war and parts of the property in disrepair (including worn-out plumbing, electrical wiring, air conditioners, heating units and roofing). A few of these can be added as separate policies.

Educate yourself on what your policy does and, more importantly, does not cover.

 

Home health

It’s also important to consider your home and how to prepare it for the upcoming colder seasons. Here’s a helpful Home Fall Checklist from our friends at Better Homes & Gardens:

www.bhg.com/home-improvement

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Prepare for the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season

June is the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. From June 1 through November 30 there are 11 - 17 named storms, 5 - 9 of those forecasted to become hurricanes; with 2 - 4 possible major hurricanes. The 2016 hurricane season was the most active since 2012, with 15 named storms, including 7 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes.
2017 atlantic hurricane season

via NOAA

  NOAA will update this outlook in August, prior to peak hurricane season. It's important to know that it can only take one to impact and disrupt lives. Get ready now with simple steps to leave you in the best position to handle this hurricane season. The best way to do this is to know your evacuation route in advance, communicate meeting spots both locally and regionally with your family &  prepare or update your emergency or disaster kit.
Elderly people, especially those with medical issues and limited mobility, can be especially vulnerable should a natural or manmade disaster strike. Go the extra mile and assist those in your community that may need help or require extra guidance.
 

Download or print our helpful emergency preparedness plan below:

 
emergency preparedness plan img

Get started/refresh your existing plan with necessary items for your disaster kit.

  Tropical Storm Arlene, was a rare pre-season storm that formed over the eastern Atlantic in April. Below is the list of named storms for the 2017 hurricane season.  
2017 atlantic hurricane names

via NOAA

 
  Visit NOAA for more info. http://www.noaa.gov/media-release/above-normal-atlantic-hurricane-season-is-most-likely-year  
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Preparing for Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew is expected to make landfall in Florida soon. While you prepare to evacuate or shelter in place, here are some helpful safety tips from The Weather Channel:

 

If you are advised or ordered to evacuate

·         Follow all directions and orders from local officials, and leave immediately when instructed to do so.

·         Bring emergency supplies, including a first aid kit, medicines, food, water, formula and diapers, toiletries, cell phones, radios, and batteries.

·         Bring extra cash and copies of important papers such as insurance policies.

·         Bring blankets, sleeping bags, books, and games.

·         Unplug appliances, turn off utilities such as electricity and the main water valve.

·         Lock the windows and doors of your home.

 

If you are not told to evacuate

·         Stay at home! Leave the roads available for those who must evacuate.

·         Clean your bathtub with bleach and fill it with water for washing and flushing (not drinking).

·         Set your refrigerator to maximum cold and keep it closed.

·         Turn off your utilities if told to do so by local officials.

 

During the storm

·         Go to an interior room and stay away from windows and doors, even though they're covered.

·         During very strong winds, lie under something sturdy.

·         Do not go outside, including during passage of the eye of the hurricane.

 

  

CRS is tracking and preparing for Hurricane Matthew. Our Catastrophe team is ready to assist both insurance adjusters and policyholders with immediate emergency hotel and housing assistance.

  • We are fully staffed 24/7/365 for immediate assistance.
  • Timely deployment of CRS employees on-site to support adjusters and policyholders.
  • Priority booking with major hotel chains for needs of adjusters and policyholders.
  • Competitive pricing on homes, condos, townhomes, apartments, mobile homes and travel trailers.
  • Capability to provide temporary office trailers for carriers.
  • One point of contact for adjusters and policyholders to minimize confusion.
  • Internal weather tracking so we know where the storm is heading.

 

Some insurance companies are also deploying catastrophe response teams to assist with claim reports in their mobile units and call centers. Among those currently preparing include Allstate, CNA Insurance and GEICO.

 

Current Red Cross Shelter information: https://www.google.org/crisismap/florida_emergency_preparedness

  

Source(s):

 

https://weather.com/safety/hurricane/news/hurricanes-safety-during-20120330

 

http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/southeast/2016/10/06/273989.htm

 

https://www.crsth.com/services/catastrophe/

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