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STORM 2012-2013 WINTER


Preparedness Guide

KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE...................................... PAGE 2 FAIRFAX COUNTY URGES DRIVERS TO STAY HOME.................................................... PAGE 2 MONTGOMERY COUNTY PRACTICES FOR THE CHALLENGE OF WINTER................................ PAGE 2

WINTER-PROOFING YOUR HOME BEGINS WITH INSURANCE ......................................................... PAGE 3 SENIORS NEED TO TAKE EXTRA CARE .......

ABOUT THIS SECTION: This special supplement was prepared for the Advertising Department of The Washington Post by freelance journalist Jodi Enda. The production of this supplement did not involve the news or editorial departments of The Washington Post. For more information, contact Senior Advertising Manager Marc Rosenberg at 202-334-7634.




In the western half of the country and northern Alaska, this winter is expected to be warmer than average. In parts of Florida, it should be colder than average. As for the Washington, D.C., area, who knows? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual Winter Outlook says this winter could be mild. Or it could be severe. There could be a lot of snow. Or not much at all. It’s hard to say. Forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center had trouble predicting winter weather in much of the eastern half of the United States, thanks to an elusive El Niño. Jon Gottschalck, the center’s head of Forecast Operations, said the forecast for December, January and February was “particularly difficult this year, and arguably one of the most difficult of the last several years.” Forecasters had expected an El Niño, a condition that occurs when unusually warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific alter rainfall patterns, creating a ripple effect in weather across the United States. It also makes it easier to produce accurate forecasts. This year, the anticipated El Niño sputtered, and forecasts became much more uncertain. “Earlier in the year, we felt that we would have a more well-

behaved El Niño event underway, providing us with a more robust climate signal, which we could use for our winter forecast,” Gottschalck said. Without El Niño, other short-term climate signals that are not predictable more than one or two weeks in advance will play large roles in determining the temperature and precipitation in the Washington area, he said. Chief among them is the Arctic Oscillation, also known as the AO, which is characterized by a seesaw of atmospheric pressure between the Arctic and the continental United States. “When the AO is in its negative phase – higher pressure in polar latitudes and lower pressure in mid-latitudes – cold air outbreaks are more likely for this area,” Gottschalck said. “Warmer-thanaverage temperatures are favored when the AO is in its positive phase – lower pressure in polar latitudes and higher pressure in mid-latitudes. “Consequently, the uncertainty with El Niño conditions and the lack of long-term predictability of the AO make this winter's forecast very difficult and uncertain, and so our forecast for the local area is equal chances for either above-, near- or belowaverage temperature and precipitation.” In other words, prepare for anything – or nothing. For more information, go to

BALTIMORE, MD. 1892-2010

1-3 Day Total




Jan 27-29, 1922


Feb 16-18, 2003



Feb 12-14, 1899


Jan 7-9, 1996



Feb 18-19, 1979


Jan 27-29, 1922



Feb 5-6, 2010


Feb 5-6, 2010



Jan 7-9, 1996


Feb 11, 1983



Feb 10-11, 1983


Mar 28-29, 1942



Dec 18-19, 2009


Feb 12-14, 1899



Feb 16-18, 2003


Feb 18-19, 1979



Feb 15-16, 1958


Feb 9-10, 2010



Feb 7, 1936


Dec 18-19, 2009

1-3 Day Total


Chart courtesy of the National Weather Service

By Pete Pedersen Manager of Emergency Preparedness, Pepco

By Rodney Blevins Vice President-Distribution Operations, Dominion Virginia Power contacts. Our company has made substantial investments in our electric distribution system. These improvements and our treetrimming program are helping minimize storm impact on our customers. Still, major storms cause power outages. Our team monitors potentially severe weather to make sure we are prepared and we plan our storm response carefully. We may send additional workers to areas most likely to be affected. Patrol teams will assess damage once the weather clears and make sure it is safe for our crews to work. The information they gather is used to identify areas that need repairs, plan repair work and send out work crews. Restoring power after a major storm is difficult work and the safety of our crews is paramount. For this reason, most crews work from sunup to sundown to restore service. Some work will continue during the night if it is safe. Overnight, other employees plan and organize the next day's jobs so repairs are completed in the most efficient and effective way possible.

WASHINGTON, D.C. 1884-2010

PEPCO Prepares

Dominion Virginia Primes For Possible Power Outages As Dominion Virginia Power prepares for the approaching winter season, we suggest you also make plans for weathering a storm. Throughout the year, we regularly practice and refine our outage response plan. You can do the same by developing a written checklist of steps to take before a major winter storm arrives. Some examples are: Fill your vehicle’s fuel tank, withdraw cash from the bank, purchase water and non-perishable food, make sure you have refilled your prescriptions and have additional blankets on hand. You will probably find it easy to develop this list once you get started. Be sure to include one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation; at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food; a battery-powered weather radio, a flashlight and clock and extra batteries for them all; a first aid kit; moist wipes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation; a can opener for food; a cell phone with charger; prescription medications and eyeglasses or


If you are a Dominion customer, sign up now for “Manage Your Account” online at where you can easily report your outage and obtain outage updates. Also update your account with the phone number you plan to use when reporting your outage. Phone numbers can be updated on-line or by calling 1-800-222-0401. We strive to keep our customers informed about storm threats, damage to the electric system and restoration efforts. Warnings are posted on the main page of the company’s Web site when a major storm is imminent. We post additional information on Twitter at and on Facebook at dominionvirginiapower. For more information, go to and search for “storm preparation.”

Pepco prepares for winter storms by making continual improvements year round. For example, Pepco is investing more than $910 million in capital improvements over five years to upgrade our infrastructure, make our system more reliable day to day – and more resilient during storms. We also are spending millions of dollars this year to trim trees near power lines. Such regular vegetation management helps avoid outages caused by limbs and trees that fall during storms. Pepco monitors the weather on a regular basis and coordinates with other utilities so that if we have extensive outages, we can ask crews from other states to help us restore power. Every employee has a second role that is activated during storms and other crises to ensure we are adequately staffed to handle any situation. We also hold regular storm drills that involve hundreds of employees. Training

for those second jobs improves communication and speeds restoration during emergencies. Pepco prepares customers for the possibility of weatherrelated power outages by

Pepco urges customers to stay safe and be prepared. In addition to your emergency storm kit, your home should have a telephone with a cord or cell phone to use as a backup. providing information and safety tips in bill inserts, on our Web site and through our social media channels. We also post advertisements on Web sites that are targeted to reach as many customers as possible. We include information about impending storms to warn special-needs customers whose life-support equipment requires CONTINUED ON PAGE 3

DON’T LET WINTER CATCH YOU OFF GUARD The American Red Cross offers the following tips to prepare for winter and potential storms:


Make sure you have an emergency preparedness kit at home. You can buy preassembled kits or put together your own. At a minimum, a kit should include:

• Water – one gallon per person, per day for drinking and hygiene purposes • Food that is non-perishable and easy to prepare • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) • Flashlight and extra batteries • First aid kit, medications and medical items • Manual can opener • Extra blankets and warm clothing, including boots, mittens and a hat for each household member • Non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery

For more information, go to


If a winter storm watch is issued in your area,

it means a winter storm is possible. Pay attention to updates from local radio and TV stations, and avoid any unnecessary travel.


If a winter storm warning is issued, it means

a winter storm is headed for your area. Stay indoors during the storm, if possible. If you must go outside, several layers of lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves (or mittens) and a hat will prevent loss of body heat.


A blizzard warning means strong winds, blinding wind-driven snow and dangerous wind chill are expected. Seek shelter immediately.


Avoid traveling by car in a storm. If you must

drive, make sure you have an emergency preparedness kit in the car. Keep your car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing. Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.


If you do get stuck. stay with your car. Do

not try to walk to safety. Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see. Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won't back up in the car. Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen. As you sit, move your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and stay warm. Keep one window (away from the blowing wind) slightly open to let in air.








Keep Your Pets Safe By Betsy McFarland Vice President of Companion Animals, The Humane Society of the United States Exposure to prolonged cold and wind chills are dangerous not only to people, but to animals as well. As a result, pet owners should make plans to care for pets during winter storms, when they – like humans – are at risk of contracting coldrelated illnesses. Here are some tips to protect your four-legged friends: Bring outdoor pets inside. If bitterly cold temperatures or a blizzard are expected, it is important to bring all pets inside. Even long-hair pets need adequate shelter from severe winter weather. Just like humans, dogs and cats can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite.

Protect your pets from the elements. During winter storms, limit the time your pets spend outdoors. Short-haired dogs may need extra protection from the elements, such as a coat or sweater. Wipe paws with a damp cloth as soon as your pet comes indoors. Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow can irritate paws and cause illnesses if pets accidentally ingest them. Ice and snow can build up in paws and cause frostbite. Smaller animals often seek warmth in car engines, so knock on your car’s hood to scare away cats before starting your engine. Seek veterinary care immediately

if any of these conditions are suspected: • Frostbite. White, waxy or pale appearance to toes, nose, ears and tail or extremely cold skin. • Hypothermia. Extreme shivering, slow shallow breathing, pale or blue gums; pet is unresponsive or lethargic. • Antifreeze Poisoning. Ingestion of antifreeze is fatal. Clean up spills immediately to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals and store out reach. For more information, go to

Fairfax County Urges Drivers to Stay Home By Jim Person Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs This winter, Fairfax County encourages residents to remember the phrase, “Get where you need to be before the weather gets bad.” Why? By staying off the roads during the worst of the weather, Virginia Department of Transportation crews can more easily clear roads and the county’s public safety officials can respond more quickly to residents needing emergency services. When inclement weather is predicted, leave plenty of time to pick up your children from school, run errands and get home. Do not wait until snow begins to start your commute. Sometimes it is safer to stay put and not travel during inclement weather – whether you are at home, work or school. During emergencies, Fairfax

County residents may visit the emergency information blog ( blog) for preparedness tips and news. Sign up online to receive information by e-mail. Weather alerts also can be delivered by text message to your cell phone. Sign up for Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN) messages at In addition, keep storm drains clear to help prevent flooding; trim dead or overgrown tree limbs, especially if they are over your home or electric lines; be prepared for power outages; use space heaters and fireplaces carefully – and never leave a heater on when you are not awake and in the room; avoid exposure to cold temperatures, which can cause serious and

even life-threatening health problems such as hypothermia and frostbite, and avoid exertion. Make sure everyone in your household knows how and where to turn off the water. Locate and tag the valve at your main water line so it can be found quickly. The valve is normally located where the water line enters your home through the foundation. Print a water valve tag from Fairfax Water at customer/youplum.htm. Call 703-289-6019 to request a tag by mail. Be a good neighbor and check on those around you, especially seniors and people with disabilities. For more information, go to


A R!





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By Michael Goldfarb Planner, Montgomery County

Every year, Montgomery County undertakes a number of steps to prepare for potential winter storms. The county will hold its annual winter storm functional exercise in late November. Agencies will respond to a storm scenario that requires the county to activate its emergency operations center. At the beginning of the month, the county held its annual Snow Summit. During this event, officials from all county agencies with snow removal responsibilities assessed their readiness for winter storms and discussed new initiatives. Montgomery County also encourages residents, businesses, and community organizations to take steps to prepare for winter storms by doing the following:

1 Sign up for Alert Montgomery • Receive emergency notifications on your phone or via e-mail. Sign up at or text ‘Montgomery’ to 411911. 2 Make a Plan Before a winter storm occurs, make sure you take time with your family to talk about what to do in case of a disaster. For example: • Choose a location outside your neighborhood for your family to reunite if your home is not accessible. • Choose someone in another area as a point of contact. If local phone lines are overloaded, family members can try to let this person know that they are safe. • Know what steps to take if you are asked either to evacuate or shelter in place. 3 Make a Kit • Prepare an emergency kit with items to help you survive in your home for up to 72 hours. 4 Help Your Neighbors • Talk with neighbors about steps everyone can take to prepare. Determine if any neighbors may need some extra assistance before or after the storm. For more information, go to

FEMA Offers Advice to Prepare for Winter Storms and Extreme Cold

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been in the news recently as it responded to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. But in addition to helping people cope with storms after they occur, FEMA works to prepare the public for what might be in store for them throughout the year. FEMA provides the following suggestions for winter storm preparation:

Before winter approaches, put together emergency supplies, including:


• • • •

Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways Sand to improve traction Shovels and other snow removal equipment Sufficient heating fuel in case regular fuel sources are cut off, and a supply of dry, seasoned wood if you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove. • Adequate clothing and blankets

Make a family communications plan.


When a storm hits, you might not be in one place. Know how to contact each other, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.

Listen to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio...


or local news channels for information from the National Weather Service. Be alert to changing weather conditions.

For your vehicle:


• Built to your home’s EXACT specifications in our local factory

Update emergency kits in your vehicles with a shovel; windshield scraper and small broom; flashlight; battery-powered radio; extra batteries; water; snack food; matches; extra hats, socks and mittens, first-aid kit with pocket knife, necessary medications, blanket(s), tow chain or rope, road salt and sand, booster cables, emergency flares, fluorescent distress flag.

For your home:

• Buy direct and eliminate the middleman—save time, money & hassles


• Save time and money— never needs painting, staining or refinishing • Price assurance and total satisfaction guarantee • 100% double-lifetime guarantee

• Winterize your home by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic. • Clear rain gutters, repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure. • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected. • Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing. • All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear. • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. • Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts. For more information, go to

• WORRY-FREE financing— easy terms to fit your budget

This year, don’t count on a mild winter. Count on metroAlerts.

• Family-owned & operated since 1980


Montgomery County Practices for the Challenges of Winter

On % RETuRn InvESTmEnT when you sell your home

Built Specifically for VA-DC-MD Climate


Call NOW for a FREE no-obligation price quote!


*Complete data from the Remodeling 2011–12 Cost vs. Value Report ( © 2011 Hanley Wood, LLC.) can be downloaded free at” Data based on replacement of 10 existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated vinyl replacement windows utilizing “midrange” product in “Washington D.C.” market. Individual results may vary. *Deposit and installation required. Not valid with any other offers or prior sales. Offer expires 11/30/12. Licensed: MHIC#125294, VA#2705-117858-A, DC PERM # 8246

Don’t find out that a winter storm has disrupted your commute after you get to your bus stop or train station. Sign up for metroAlerts and instantly know about any delays on your bus or train before you leave. Find out first with metroAlerts.






STORM PREPAREDNESS GUIDE Winter-Proofing Your Home Begins with Insurance By Loretta L. Worters, Vice President, Insurance Information Institute

Whether there’s a nor’easter, blizzard or ice storm heading your way, it’s important to prepare your home both structurally and financially. You want to make sure your home can withstand a disaster, but you also need insurance in case it does not. Standard homeowner’s policies provide coverage for a wide range of winter-related disasters. Wind-related damage to a house, its roof, its contents and other insured structures on the property is covered under standard homeowners’ insurance policies. So is damaged caused when snow or ice causes a roof to collapse. If tree limbs fall on a house or other structure, removal and repair generally are insured up to about $500. Damage caused by freezing conditions such as burst pipes or ice dams – created when water is unable to drain properly through

gutters and seeps into ceilings and walls – also is covered. However, homeowners must have taken reasonable steps to prevent these losses by keeping the house at a certain temperature and making sure pipes are properly insulated and maintained. Melting snow that seeps into a home from the ground up would be covered by flood insurance, which is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program and a few private insurers. Damage caused by flooding is not covered by standard homeowners’ policies. Standard homeowners’ policies also include additional living expenses in case a home is so severely damaged by an insured disaster that it is uninhabitable. Most policies will reimburse the difference between additional living expenses and normal living expenses. These costs include hotel bills, temporary

rentals, restaurant meals and other expenses homeowners might incur while their house is being repaired or rebuilt. To make sure you have enough coverage, review your policy annually. You should have enough insurance to rebuild your home and replace all your personal possessions. The time to learn about what is in your policy is before you suffer a loss so that you have time to update your coverage and get the financial protection you need. The Insurance Information Institute’s free “Know Your Plan” app, available from iTunes, provides customizable to-do lists, communication tools, a winter weather checklist and other resources to prepare homeowners for emergencies. For more information, go to


electricity. Power outage maps on our Web site have proven to be useful in keeping the news media and customers updated on the outage situation. Customers can also get outage updates through a new mobile phone app and can ask questions during outages on our social media channels. Pepco has contracted with an external call center to enhance our customer service during outages. We have enhanced our community partnerships, particularly with emergency management agencies and the American Red Cross. This means that when disaster strikes, we can communicate effectively to help restore our communities to normalcy. Pepco urges customers to stay

safe and be prepared. In addition to your emergency storm kit, your home should have a telephone with a cord or cell phone to use as a backup. Cordless telephones require electricity to operate, and won’t work if there is an outage. Be sure to identify a place for emergency shelter in case of an extended outage. It is important that customers with special needs or their caregivers make arrangements ahead of time to prepare for potentially longlasting service interruptions.

Winter Storm Season is Coming. Prepare now and be ready when severe weather strikes.

For more information, go to During storms, visit our Web site, download our mobile app (at and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Seniors Need to Take Extra Care during Winter

The best time to prepare for winter storms is before they arrive. A little advance planning makes weathering the storm a lot easier.

Download your free Storm Preparation Handbook at

Storm Pr eparatio Handbo n ok

We’re preparing

for storms. Here’s how you can prepare,


BEFORE A STORM STRIKES o Make a Plan for Extended Power Outages

Know where you will go in the event of a power outage that could last multiple days. Most communities have a designated location with emergency back-up power. Make arrangements to stay with a relative, friend or neighbor who has power in case of an outage.

By Darlene Nowlin Customer and Information Services Specialist, District of Columbia Office on Aging Preparing for cold-weather emergencies is particularly critical for seniors. As we age, our bodies become less able to respond to long exposure to the cold. Seniors should be mindful that hypothermia can be fatal. Hypothermia is a condition of below-normal body temperature – typically 95 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Hypothermia may occur in anyone who is exposed to severe cold without enough protection. Symptoms include a low temperature, sluggishness, slurred speech, slow breathing and confusion. To avoid being the victim of hypothermia, dress warmly – even when indoors – eat enough food and stay as active as possible. Because hypothermia may set in while you are sleeping, stay warm in bed by wearing enough clothing and by using blankets. Neighbors and friends should check on each other and exchange emergency information that includes contact information for relatives and doctors. This winter, think smart and prepare yourself for cold weather, icy conditions and circumstances where going out might not be possible. Start storing canned foods and nonperishable items as well as bottled water and other things to sustain you until you can get out again. Make sure you include a non-electric can opener and food that you can eat without

warming, in case of power loss. Don't wait to the last minute to refill prescriptions – fill them a week in advance just in case weather and icy conditions make it unsafe to venture out. During the snow season, keep your shovel handy – on a porch or inside – so that you won't have to walk down snowy steps or a slippery walkway to retrieve it. During extreme cold, always keep your heat on so that pipes don't freeze. Keep your thermostat set at 65 degrees or higher. In case of a power outage, keep a battery-operated lamp or flashlight nearby. Keep additional, fresh batteries in case power is not restored right away. Candles can be dangerous, but if you must use them, remember to keep them secure and away from flammable objects. Do not leave burning candles unattended. Check to see if your neighbors are also experiencing a power outage. If you are the only one, call the power company. If a power outage occurs in your area, use a battery-powered radio to stay informed. In the District, the following stations are designated Emergency Alert System (EAS) radio stations: WTOP 1500 AM,WMAL 630 AM, WRC 570 AM and WKYS 93.9 FM.

IF A STORM STRIKES o Know Where to Get Information n

o Assemble an Emergency Storm Kit

Call 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662) to alert us if you lose power, or to report downed wires and life-threatening emergencies. Please request a call back so we can verify if individual or small groups of outages still exist.


Go online to and click “Report/ Get Outage Status.” By entering your account information, you can get updates, use dynamic outage maps to zoom in and see where outages have occurred, get important contact information and see estimates for when power will be restored. Outage maps are updated every 10 minutes.

o Register for the Emergency Medical


Use the Pepco Self-Service app on your mobile device to get information. You can report outages, access outage maps, get restoration estimates, and call us through a direct dial link.

Take a few minutes to gather important items to keep handy in the event of winter storms. Your kit should contain bottled water, non-perishable foods, blankets, flashlights and fresh batteries, a first-aid kit and prescription medications, special medical supplies, tools and other essential items. Equipment Notification Program This program is important for customers who rely on electricity for life-support equipment. This program provides:

o Stay Safe


Notification of scheduled outages


Notification of severe storms such as hurricane warnings that could lead to extended power outages


An information package sent annually to help prepare for emergencies

Call (202) 833-7500 and ask for a customer care representative or visit to learn more.

o Download the Pepco Self-Service App

Be prepared to get information wirelessly with your mobile device in case winter weather damages power lines. Download our free app from your iPhone, Blackberry or Android app store or by visiting mobileapp today. You can also scan the QR code to the right to download now.

When snow piles up, it’s important to keep areas outside your home clear. n

Clear snow away from appliance vents located outside your home so your heater, clothes dryer and other appliances will continue to operate safely


If your home has a heat pump, clear it of snow to make sure air can circulate properly


Clear snow from access areas to your home


Remember to take breaks while clearing snow and avoid over exerting yourself


If using a portable generator, always follow manufacturer’s instructions and operate it in a well-ventilated area

Restoring power safely takes time. If the power goes out, we will work quickly and keep you informed about our progress. That’s the power of being prepared.

For more information, go to or call the District Office on Aging at 202-7245626. The District’s 24-hour call center number is 311.







SEVERE WEATHER: At Dominion, nothing’s more important to us than keeping our customers warm and their power on whenever severe weather threatens. The key to remaining safe is proper planning. Here are seven ways you can prepare for severe weather: 1. Update your Dominion account phone number at or by calling 1-800-222-0401. This will help you quickly report an outage if your lights go out. Be sure to have your account information on hand when you call. 2. Stock up on non-perishable food, water, medicine, baby supplies and pet food. 3. Make sure you have a battery-operated weather radio, multiple flashlights and a battery-operated clock. It’s also important to have extra batteries for all of them. 4. Keep extra cash on hand; automatic teller machines or banks don’t operate without power. 5. Keep your vehicle’s fuel tank full. 6. If a family member uses life-sustaining medical equipment, review emergency plans for generating power or plan to relocate. 7. If you lose power, turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves. Unplug other appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers. This will prevent damage to appliances and possible overloads when power is restored.

To report an outage call 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357)

For more tips on severe storm preparations, visit our website at


A full-run, broadsheet special section in The Washington Post, the 2012-2013 Winter Storm Guide will serve as a valuable resource for D.C. a...

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