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Beach Safety

by Amy August 21, 2017

If you are planning to squeeze in a last minute beach trip or travel to the coast for Labor Day weekend, make sure you take the proper safety precautions before you see the sea.

General Beach Safety:

  • Try to swim as close to a lifeguard station as possible. The chances of drowning with a lifeguard on duty are five times lower than if you swim without a lifeguard.
  • Make sure to apply and reapply sunscreen. More than 5 bad sunburns in a lifetime double your chance of getting skin cancer.
  • Also, make sure to drink lots of water and to stay hydrated throughout the day. Swimming in the ocean and baking in the hot sun can take a toll on your body.
  • Keep your trash together and do not litter in the water or along the shore.

Ocean Water Safety:

  • It is very important that any child who will be in the ocean knows how to swim or is wearing a properly fitting life vest.
  • Adults should remain sober to maintain their own safety, especially if they are responsible for other people.
  • Do not swim alone, always maintain the buddy system, even as adults.
  • Enter the water feet first always. Avoid diving into the water until you know the actual depth.
  • The ocean has varying floor levels and it is important not to wander too far from the shore’s edge.
  • Leave any animals you encounter alone and stay away from jellyfish and sharks.

Rip Currents:

  • It is important to understand that rip currents are very strong and are the cause of most lifeguard rescues along the beach.
  • They can form in any large open water and are especially common near the breaks of sandbars, in shallow areas, or near piers.
  • If you do find yourself stuck in a rip current, do not struggle. Swim parallel to the beach to get out of the current. Do not attempt to move to shore until you are released from the current.
  • If you feel like you cannot swim to shore, remain afloat and wait until you get the strength to move back to shore.
  • If you notice someone who is struggling make sure to alert a lifeguard or call 911 immediately.

Flags:

  • Lifeguards often use flags to indicate different types of weather patterns or to signify anything you should be aware of. Most commonly the flags are different colors. If you do not know what they mean, feel free to ask the lifeguard at any time. Most commonly the flags mean:
    • Red: This means there is a strong current or the beach is closed.
    • Yellow: This indicates moderate current and is not exceedingly dangerous. Caution should still be exercised if the yellow flag is flying.
    • Green: This indicates the ocean is calm and clear.
    • Blue or Purple: This indicates that dangerous marine life has been spotted nearby. This could mean sharks, stingrays, or jellyfish.

Check The Weather:

  • Check if there is any chance of rain or a thunderstorm in the potential forecast.
  • If you hear any thunder, make sure you get out of the water and head to safety.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes after hearing thunder or seeing lightning to re-enter the water.

Marine Life:

  • Be aware of marine life and how to handle any bites or stings.
  • Be aware of the fact you are swimming in an ecosystem of different animals.
  • Barnacles and the shells of muscles can be very sharp along the ocean floor, so make sure to be careful of the areas you are walking in.
  • If you do get cut, get out of the water immediately and properly take care of any wounds.
  • Jellyfish have the potential to release poisonous venom into your skin. Not all jellyfish stings are severe but they do have the potential to be very dangerous. Most stings can be treated at home, it is suggested to use a credit card or something flat to remove the stingers from your skin. Do not attempt to use your hands because this will allow the stingers to spread. Rinse the area with sea water, fresh water or urine may activate the venom that is injected, causing more pain. Rinsing with vinegar or baking soda should keep the sting from being too painful. After it is rinsed clean, submerge the sting in hot water for 20 minutes to release any other poisons.
  • Many people fear shark attacks, which are actually very uncommon. There is an average of 50 shark attacks around the entire world yearlong. These attacks are commonly from mistaking a human for a seal or fish. Avoid wearing shiny jewelry and swimming at dusk for the best protection.

While My Alarm Center works to keep you safe at home, it’s up to you to take the proper precautions when traveling, especially at the beach. This summer make sure you teach your entire family about beach safety.

Protect Yourself From Surveillance

by Amy July 27, 2017

Many people are aware of how it is possible to be hacked or put under surveillance, meaning to be closely observed, but they do not take the time to prevent many of the ways you could be hacked. It is essential to secure technology appropriately so that someone does not steal your personal information.

To protect your privacy from surveillance, follow these 5 security tips:

  1. Turn off geolocation, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi

These settings on your phone can allow you to be tracked by various businesses through applications, and sometimes even hackers. It is better to be safe than sorry. Keep your location private by avoiding using these features when you are outside of your home.

  1. Turn your phone on airplane mode

It is recommended to put your phone on airplane mode when you are not using it so that it is not connecting to wireless towers throughout the day.

  1. Use strong passwords

A hacker will not have the ability to easily hack your email or personal information if your password is not easy to guess. It is suggested to use a variety of different characters and symbols to make your passwords difficult to crack. It is also recommended to have different passwords for different accounts, because if someone is able to hack into one of your accounts, they could potentially have access to them all.

  1. Cover your laptop camera with stickers

It has been proven that hackers have the ability to spy on you using your own computer. They could potentially have access to everything on your computer, including the camera for video surveillance. This will allow them to view anything inside of your home as long as your computer is open. It is always recommended to cover the camera when it is not in use.

  1. Be careful with your SmartTV

SmartTV’s have an ability to collect information about you because some have cameras and speakers built into them. It goes much further than tracking what you watch. It is important to realize that most SmartTV’s have settings to turn off the ability to invade your personal security.

It is important to protect yourself from technical vulnerabilities and surveillance. Home security and automation can be used to secure your home by using professional home security systems, but it’s important to secure your technology as well.

Essentials For Your Home First Aid Kit

by Amy March 16, 2017

Even when you are in the safety of your Philadelphia home, you want to make absolutely sure that you are prepared for any and every possible emergency. Keeping a first aid kit in your home, that you and your entire family always have easy access to, is the perfect form of medical emergency preparation. Here are some important items to make sure to include in your easily accessible home first aid kit:

  • Tweezers
  • Triangular Band Aids
  • An oral thermometer
  • 5 sterile gauze pads
  • A pair of scissors
  • 1 roller bandage
  • A tube of Hydrocortisone cream
  • Hypoallergenic non-latex gloves
  • An instant cold compress
  • A blanket
  • Aspirin
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • 25 adhesive bandages
  • Codeine or any pain killer
  • Chemical ice bags
  • A roll of gauze tape
  • Benadryl
  • An EpiPen
  • Sterile eyewash
  • Any extra prescription medications
  • An emergency dental kit
  • Sunblock
  • Vaseline
  • Burn cream and dressings

Having these items easily accessible at all times in your home medical kit assures that you are unquestionably ready for any emergency. It is also highly recommended to buy a home medical alert system or medical alert bracelets for anyone in your house who could potentially be in danger due to a chronic health issue they may have. The medical alert system or medical alert bracelet contacts the appropriate emergency faculties as soon as it senses something is wrong with the heartbeat or blood pressure of the wearer. My Alarm Center provides medical alert systems in Philadelphia and uses this lifesaving state of the art technology to watch over your health and keep people safe.

Be prepared for any possible medical emergency before it even happens by preparing a home medical kit with everything you might possibly need. Make sure it is easy to access and that everyone in your Philadelphia home always knows where it is located.

Ways to Stay Safe During A Winter Blackout

by Cassie February 23, 2017

A winter blackout without heat or electricity is everyone’s worst nightmare. It is essential to know what to do in case you end up stuck in a cold and miserable situation like this.

Dress Warm
Your home may become cold very quickly, so dress as if you were prepared to go outside. Dressing in layers is recommended and helps retain body heat. The most heat escapes through your head and feet, so put on socks and a hat right away.

Let Faucets Trickle
This will not keep your home warm but it will keep your pipes from bursting. If the heat in your home drops too rapidly then your pipes could freeze and potentially burst. This would lead to a massive plumbing emergency.

Use Sleeping Bags
Use sleeping bags even when you’re sleeping in your bed. The enclosed comforter will trap heat and keep you warm when trying to sleep in very cold temperatures.

Get Everyone In One Room
Making sure your family stays together in a blackout situation is important. It is a good idea just for safety but also will allow you to consolidate body heat.

Block Drafts
It is important to keep as much heat inside your home as possible. Blocking all drafts near windows or doors is vital to keeping heat inside. Plus, the less cold air that comes in, the warmer it will get.

Use Candles
Using candles is a great idea because they provide both heat and light. Make sure to always practice proper fire safety and not leave candles unattended or around small children.

Be Aware Of Home Security
A blackout could be a potentially dangerous situation for your home and your family. My Alarm Center’s home security is designed to work even without electricity. If there is an emergency without power, My Alarm Center can help you handle it.

Being inside your home during a power outage can be a scary and difficult situation. It’s necessary to have a plan in place to stay warm and keep your house from being damaged.

Preparing Your Car For Winter Weather

by Amy February 8, 2017

The winter season is full of unpredictable weather, making for unpredictable car troubles. The greatest way to avoid car inconveniences is to be prepared before any problems occur. There are several things you can do to prepare your car before the snow falls and be ready for any winter weather situation.

Winter Tires

A good place to start is by buying a set of winter tires. Winter tires are made with a rubber compound that stays pliable even in cold weather. This will lead to enhanced traction on the road, even when it’s wet and icy.

Tire Pressure

It’s also important to keep an eye on your tire pressure. You can purchase a gauge at any auto supply store and follow your vehicle’s manual recommendations for pressure level. Some gas stations even offer free tire fill ups.

Check Antifreeze Levels

Make sure your antifreeze is filled to the proper level. This is what keeps your engine from freezing during the colder months. Without it, your engine could freeze, which would lead to a whole slew of different problems. Kits for checking your engine’s coolant levels are sold at auto supply stores. Your car manual will also let you know what levels are necessary to run your vehicle efficiently.

Winter Wiper Fluid

Different types of wiper fluid are made for different seasons and it’s important to determine if your car is properly fueled with the proper wiper fluid. Winter fluid will help loosen ice and snow from your windshield, making it easier to keep things clear.

Winter-Grade Oil

Switch to a winter-grade oil at your next oil change. The colder the weather, the thinner you want the oil in your engine to be. The idea is to switch to an oil that has a lower cold weather viscosity grade. If you normally use 10W-30 oil, switching to 5W-30 oil will greatly benefit your vehicle.

Test Your Battery

Extremely cold weather has the potential to kill a bad car battery. It’s a struggle to jump your car in cold weather, so it’s important to get your battery tested and charged if necessary. Make sure the voltage is above 10 when the car cranks, and above 12 when the car is running. If you notice your battery is going bad, make sure to immediately replace it.

Car Emergency Kit

You should have a car emergency kit in your vehicle year-round but especially throughout the winter season. Some items to include are a blanket, extra phone charging cord, gloves, snow boots, a heavy coat, extra food and water, a flashlight, a tow rope, and backup jumper cables. These resources will be very useful in case of many different emergencies.

Snow Shovel In Your Trunk

Make sure to keep a snow shovel in your car for when it gets stuck in the snow. It’s also a good idea to keep an ice scraper on hand.

Roadside Assistance Membership

Consider purchasing a roadside assistance membership. Especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of snowstorms and ice throughout the winter season. AAA or Better World Club provide help in any situation you cannot get out of with just a phone call – a good way to feel secure no matter what happens on the road.

Protect your family and keep them safe while on the road. Take the time to prepare for the winter season. Have supplies ready for any emergency. My Alarm Center provides home security to keep you safe and wants to help you stay safe on the road as well.

6 Benefits Of Home Security Systems

by Amy December 7, 2016

There are many advantages to owning a home security system. They help keep your family safe, let you focus on the more important aspects of life, and give you peace of mind. Here are some other reasons to consider a home security system:

  • Protects Valuables

The alarm alone is enough to deter an intruder. However, once the alarm has sounded, the police are immediately notified and dispatched so your home is kept safe at all costs.

  • Helps Save Energy

Nowadays, home security systems also include many home automation features. This system will allow you to monitor your energy usage and shut off utilities when you are no longer in the room. This leads to lower monthly bills and less wasted energy.

Saving energy isn’t the only advantage of home automation. You can change the lighting, temperature, music, TV, and control numerous other aspects of your home from a device as simple as your smart phone.

  • Lowers Insurance

Many insurance agencies give discounts to members who have a home security system. This is a great way to cut down on expenses.

Fire and carbon monoxide detectors are vital features of any home security system. They can detect dangers that you can’t, such as invisible, poisonous carbon monoxide. As soon as the alarm has sounded, emergency services are on call to help. These detectors provide an indispensable advantage to protecting your family from emergencies that are usually out of your control.

  • Remote Surveillance

Remote surveillance allows you to watch your home at any hour of the day from any location. You can view the live feed from the wireless security cameras through an app on your smart phone. It can even alert you when people leave and enter your home – a great way to keep an eye on the kids whether you’re on vacation or just at work.

Home security systems are an investment. The right systems can keep your valuables safe while saving you money in the process. They also give peace of mind and let you know someone will always be there in case of an emergency. Protect your family, yourself, and make life a little easier by adding a security system into your home.

7 Winter Driving Tips

by Amy November 9, 2016

12.02

Driving during the winter season poses several threats to your car and your safety. The cold can hinder your car’s mechanical abilities and treacherous conditions can present major safety hazards. Here are some tips to stay safe on the road during the holidays:

o   Clear Off Snow and Ice Before Driving

Snow and ice can be a visual impairment while you’re trying to drive. So, clear the entire car, not just the windshield. Make sure the car is warmed up and your defroster is working to melt snow and ice.

o   Accelerate Slowly

When you apply the gas slowly, it lets the car catch traction and avoid dangerous skids due to bad road conditions. Icy roads make it much harder to slow down during the winter. It’s encouraged to increase the safety distance between the car in front of you from 4 seconds to 10 seconds. For this reason, it is recommended not to use cruise control.

o   Reduce Speed

Speed limits on roads are set for dry conditions. Reduce your speed for icy conditions.

o   Brake Earlier

First, make sure the brakes work properly and determine if you have anti-lock brakes. When braking without antilock brakes you should pump the brakes rather than slamming them as this will lock the wheels and cause your vehicle to skid.

o   Avoid Sudden Turns

When winter road conditions are present, it is essential that you move much slower. This also applies to making turns. A quick turn of the wheel could upset the car’s stability and cause a slide or even a crash.

o   What to Do When Sliding

Always keep your eyes on the road and try to anticipate any dangers that could be present. If you feel as though the back tires have begun to slide, make sure to let off the gas and turn the steering wheel into the direction the car is sliding. This movement will help stabilize the vehicle.

o   Be Cautious of Motorists

Even if you’re in full control of your car, it doesn’t mean that all the other drivers on the road are as prepared as you. Other people may not be paying attention to the wet or icy road conditions, so make sure to leave extra space between the vehicle in front of you at all times. Avoid distractions and always use turn signals as directed by the law.

My Alarm Center wants to remind you that the winter season can create many potential dangers when it comes to driving. Always stay alert and aware of how to handle icy and wet road conditions. Moving slowly and staying attentive will help keep you and your family safe this winter season.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

by Cassie October 27, 2016

Monitored Fire detector

Most people are aware they need fire alarms to warn them of a fire. But many people are not as aware of carbon monoxide. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a deadly and invisible gas. Colorless, tasteless, odorless, and poisonous. In 2007, there were 2,302 confirmed cases of people being hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning. It is essential to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home as many appliances release this deadly gas. My Alarm Center provides a monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detection system that can keep your home safe, even when you’re not there.

The benefits of My Alarm Center’s monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors include:

  • A linked central monitoring board so that when the alarm is set off, help can be notified immediately. This will take place even when you’re not home and when the security alarm is not armed.
  • Monitoring can provide protection to many people who are not capable of responding to a traditional alarm. This could include the elderly, disabled, children, people suffering from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, and pets. The alarm immediately responds to safety providers.
  • The system provided by My Alarm Center monitors carbon monoxide and smoke in the air 24 hours a day.
  • Once the Central Monitoring Station is alerted, it first calls the home to assess the situation. If there is no response, the authorities are immediately contacted.
  • First Responders will arrive at the scene in minutes.

Firefighters recommend placing one monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detector in every bedroom and living space to ensure complete safety in the home. Unfortunately, too many people are endangered because they don’t have a working fire alarm or carbon monoxide detector. My Alarm Center’s fire and carbon monoxide detector system has the ability to constantly monitor your home and to keep it safe even when you’re not there. This system can give you peace of mind when you’re not home and alert you before a disaster can take place. Contact My Alarm Center for more information on professionally monitored Carbon Monoxide detectors.

Purchase Guide For Home Safes

by Cassie October 4, 2016

In order to keep your valuables safe inside of your home, you may want to consider purchasing a safe. There are many different features provided by different types of safes, and it is important to purchase a safe that will fit your specific needs. Freshhome.com provides useful feedback on the purchase process.

Home Safe

Purchase Guide For Home Safes

1.Determine what valuables you will store.
Determine the types of valuables you plan to protect inside the safe, and gather these items together. One essential document that should be contained inside of the safe is an inventory of your possessions. This way, if there ever was an incident, you have an inventory to prove what you own. To determine the rest of the safe’s contents, start with important paperwork. Identify documents like birth certificates, passports, and legal paperwork. Any important business investments or financial documents should also be included. Expensive jewelry and external hard drives are contents that should be included as well.

2. Determine what size you want.
Once you determine the quantity and type of valuables you will be storing, you should have a general idea about the size you will need. It is also a good idea to determine the location of the safe in your home before you purchase it. A common size in-home safe is usually about 1.2 or 1.3 cubic feet, which would contain stacks of 8 1/2 by 11-inch paper, stacked up to 12 inches in height. Determine the height, width, and depth of your valuables to choose the best safe for your needs.

3. Determine what you need to protect your valuables from.
Different safes are designed to protect their contents from different disasters. Some are designed solely for theft or water damage, and others are to protect from a fire. These features are provided and are available in various options.
Fire Resistant: It is very common for homeowners to pursue purchasing a safe in order to protect their valuables from a fire. Safes are tested to determine what type of material they are supposed to protect and how long they can withstand heat. For storage of different contents, the inside of the safe needs to be kept at a certain internal temperature in order to offer protection. Paper documents can be protected at an internal temperature of up to 350 degrees. If you plan to store old tape recordings, the internal temperature can only reach 150 degrees. The storage of CD’s or DVD’s need to be preserved at 125 degrees. A big factor is how long the safe can withstand a fire. Most commonly, home safes will provide around 30 minutes of protection.
½-hour fire protection at 1550°F or 843°C
1-hour fire protection at 1700°F or 927°C
2-hour fire protection at 1850°F or 1010°C
Theft Protection: The average amount of time that the common safe can withstand an attack is around 15 minutes with household tools. The average 1.2 or 1.3 cubic-foot scale weighs close to 100 pounds when it is empty, so it would be very difficult to steal the entire safe. Many safes include bolt down kits and also provide options to be concealed in a wall or anchored on a concrete floor.
Water Resistance: Water protection is usually included with basic fire or theft resistant safes. Some safes are submerged in water to be tested in an accurate simulation of flooding. Other safes are only water resistant and can maintain flooding for up to one hour.

4. Determine the type of safe you need.
Small safes are usually less than 0.8 cubic feet in size. Medium-sized safes are usually larger than 0.8 cubic feet. Large safes are between 1.2 and 2.0 cubic feet. Extra-large safes are anything over 2.0 cubic feet in capacity.
Wall Safe: This safe is known to be lightweight and usually of smaller size. These work well for storing paperwork and photographs.
Floor Safe: This is a bulkier option, but gives the most flexibility with features. Larger items can be stored and the weight of its content is not an issue.
Weapons Safe: Specialty weapon safes are designed differently than the average floor safe. These are equipped with extra locks, pry-proof metals, and locking bolt technology.
Lowes.com provides tips on the best size safe for you and what the storage capacity of different safes are.

5. Determine what kind of lock you need.
There are two options for locks when purchasing a safe: Dial and Digital. Each has advantages and disadvantages so it is important to evaluate them before your purchase.
Dial Locks: These locks are traditional turn-dials. They are opened by rotating the dial to the right and left to input the combination. This is seen as the most reliable option because the possibility of an electronic failure is eliminated. However, if the combination is forgotten, then a professional is needed to reset it.
Digital Lock: This is the type of lock usually used in hotel safes. They open with the input of a numerical pin. This is an easier way to open the safe and allows you to have access to your belongings quickly. This safe has a drawback of needing to replace the batteries regularly in order to lock it effectively.

6. Determine where to put it.
The best place to put the safe varies depending on the design of your home. Statistics prove the master bedroom of a home is the first stop for intruders in most home security breaches. It is recommended to keep the safe in a different location for this reason. The basement provides the best protection in case of a fire, but also could be damaged in the case of flooding.

7. Determine your price range.
A basic fire chest normally costs around $25 at most local retailers. This would be able to hold a normal stack of documents. An average home safe of 1.2 or 1.3 cubic feet costs around $150 to $300. Anything of a larger scale is more expensive and if it includes different features like drawers and shelving it will also add to the price tag.

8. Determine where to purchase the safe.
Home safes are available at many retailers including Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Sears. There are also many options listed online and through Amazon.com.

Once you determine that you would like to purchase an in-home safe to protect your valuables it is important to evaluate these tips in order to make the right purchasing decision. The size of the safe, the contents it will hold, and what levels of protection are needed are important to evaluate before you make a purchase. Worried about your valuables? Add a primary layer of protection for your valuables with My Alarm Center’s home security systems. We provide professional home monitoring for properties from Philadelphia to Seattle.

Home Safety for Independent Seniors

by Amy September 26, 2016

senior home safety
While there are various retirement homes and options for assisted living, many senior citizens prefer to remain in their homes. Seniors have the ability to live in their homes until a much later age with the help of personal medical alert systems. By receiving assistance at the push of a button, seniors can remain independent, but connected to the appropriate emergency response contacts. In addition to personal security systems, it is important that senior homes are safely equipped to accommodate aging needs to allow for a safe and independent lifestyle.

Useful tips for senior safety around the house:

In the Kitchen:
• Rearrange cabinet contents so that reaching and bending is limited
• Replace cabinet knobs with handles for easier access
• Purchase a refrigerator with a lower freezer
• Elevate the front of the refrigerator so that the doors will swing closed
• Install swivel plates in the bottom of corner cabinets to make for easier access
• Use the microwave before using the oven whenever possible to avoid burns, but not if a pacemaker is used
• Use a faucet with one level that can balance water temperatures
• Ensure the temperature on your water heater is set to 120 degrees
• Use an electric teakettle over a stovetop option. The best model has an automatic shutoff feature
• Ensure to check expiration dates on food often

In the Bedroom:
• Install bed railings to make it easier to get in and out of bed
• Check smoke detectors regularly
• Keep a flashlight near the bed for easy access
• Install motion detector lights near the bed side floor
• Keep a chair in the bedroom to use for assisting in getting dressed
• Keep the floor area of the bedroom clear and avoid the use of throw rugs
• Consider using a medical alert system

In the Bathroom:

• Elevate toilet seats to make getting up and down easier
• Install a grab bar next to the toilet, shower, and tub to help getting up and down
• Install a medical alert button near the shower
• Replace knobs on faucets with handles that are labeled hot and cold
• Install power outlets on a level that is easily accessible
• Use a night light in the bathroom
• Remove door locks from the bathroom door in order to make it easier for a loved one to assist if needed
• Redesign the bathroom to have a walk in tub or shower. Installing a seat within the shower is an important safety feature
• Install non-skid strips onto the shower floor

In the Living Room:

• Use carpeting rather than hardwood floors to provide better traction
• Remove items from the floor used for decoration like plants, baskets, and footstools
• Replace chairs that have wheels
• Ensure that all power cords are moved out of the way and lamps are placed in areas they cannot be tripped on

Home and Recreational Safety:
• Replace the front door knob with a lever handle
• Make sure flashlights are always easily available
• Always wear shoes that fit properly and have a low heel
• Reinforce stairway railings and install more hand holding railings throughout the house
• Have canes or walkers present if necessary
• Keep smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on every floor
• Keep important items at waist level and ensure to avoid standing on chairs or ladders
• Salt the driveway and walkways during the winter
• Be cautious of identity theft
• Be aware of medication side effects

It is very possible for senior citizens to maintain their independence and live on their own, but it is essential that their houses are reinforced with safety precautions. These tips are provided by A Place for Mom. For information on My Alarm Center’s personal emergency response system visit our site or contact us today.

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