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Author Topic: First Aid Kits  (Read 6395 times)


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First Aid Kits
« on: November 14, 2005, 07:45:13 AM »

I just saw a short comment in another group giving a link to a site
to purchase first aid kits. Here are the two sites given:

I have seen some of these links posted and continue to wonder why
one would not simply create their own first aid kits.  Most of the
sites list the components (eg bandages, antiseptics etc) so you
could do it yourself.  Simply going to your local Wallyworld or
other sporting goods store can land you a good soft-sided fishing
tackle box that you can fill as needed.  Ive made two of these kits
for my own family and it was CONSIDERABLY less than $200+.  Using
the ready made kits as a base, you can build a very usable kit.
Also these ready made kits do not include any medications (tylenol,
anti-diareahal, sinus medication etc).

By building your own kit:

1) you familiarize yourself with where the items are kept in the kit.
2) you leave out any unnecessary items and or add ones not included.
that pertain to your particular needs (eg snake bite kit).
3) you can add your own necessary medications (eg. prescriptions).
4) you can CREATE a larger kit or two smaller kits for less money
than you can by buying one.
5) for those with families with children, its a handy bag to run out
to take care of emergencies in the back yard with supplies the kids
are used to seeing (eg the winnie the pooh bandages). Plus, Mom or
Dad patching them up is less stressful and faster than a response
from EMS.

Remember, medications, ointments, and some other items require
rotation based on expiration dates.  While these dates should be
observed, it is noted that most items will still work after said
date, but not necessarily at their full potency.  By keeping a
record of the contents of your kit, as well as the exipry date, you
can keep your kit rotated as you would your food and water supply.

When compiling my own kits I used a very valuable web site that was
written by a doctor.  I do not remember if I got the link from one
of the survivalist groups or if it was found via Usenet.  In any
event here is the link:

As has been said NUMEROUS times in these groups, depend on YOURSELF
not others.  By building your own kits you ensure its usefulness,
the quality, and the durability.  Good luck in building your own
first aid kits, and I pray none of you ever need to use them.


*2 thermometers (plain regular, not the fancy electronic ones)
*1 blood pressure kit, just plain no fancy, with regular-large cuff
and an additional large-extra large cuff.
*2 boxes bandaids, different sizes.
*2 boxes of absorbant pads (for wounds)
*4 elastic bandages for sprains, you CAN cut each in half or even
fourths to use for splints or to hold bandages, self adhering.
*Several rolls of medical adhesive tape
*two bottles alcohol
*one bottle of hydrogen pyroxide which likely isn't really useful
*sunscreen, preferable oil-free
*about 10-15 chapsticks
*Several of those one-use cold packs
2 small bottles of Visine or generic
* 1 bottle liquid children's benadryl, (liquid is faster acting)
*1 bottle of a different antihistamine, some people are allergic to
benadryl, I like C-Maleate preparations
*Aspirin and tylenol and Advil and Aleve
*Alka-selzter cold medicine and alka-seltzer regular, they are really
fast acting
*Some 'dixie-like' cups and  2-3, 6 oz or 8 oz (I forget which)bottles
of water for all the medicines
*Small bag of hard or semi-soft candies (for low blood sugar)
*Several hair combs (for glass or debris in hair)
*Nail scissors and file and clippers.
* a package of pony-tail holders (for keeping hair out of patient and
attendants faces or keeping hair away from injuries and
medicines/bandages)and a few hair clips
*Medical gloves. these can go bad fast in a med kit for some reason.
*small trash bags (a few of the plastic grocery bags work too).
*several markers to mark your opened bottles, or bandages.
*several bicycle reflectors (to be replaced with something beter someday)
*two space warming foil thingies (for shock and hypothermia)
*Paper pad and pens for jotting down contact info, vital signs, what
the patient TOOK (not what 'you GAVE')
*popsicle sticks--for finger/toe splint
*magnifiying glass(es)
*bandage scissors which for me never work really well.
*Pack of sewing Needles these last two, for removing splinters I can
never get tweezers to work.
*large knife for cutting through denim or leather. Be aware of laws
regarding blade sizes blah blah
*Women's Tampax. and sanitary pads --work for heavy bleeding wounds too.
*Small flashlight and exra batteries (watch your dates)
*small am-fm radio
*penlight for pupil reactions, mine break all the time or the
batteries die because they 'come on' by themselves in the med kit.
*small box of zip-type sandwhich bags ( meds 'for the road' or to hold
teeth or small body parts ugh--you just never know)

What I need to add someday:
Glucose monitoring kit
'Sharps' container
*paper bags to throw up in (for patient AND good samaritan hah)
*castille soap--supposed to be good for getting pepper spray off skin
*Those luminous triangle folding thingies in case someone is hurt at
night. Put them on the med kit itself too. They make stickers that
work real well and don't take up much space.
*snake-bite kit
*bee sting kit (these last two usually need docters prescription)
*heart-resetting kit, can't remember the name of it--ach
*splints--haven't even seen any to buy anywhere
*Vitamin C
*shavegrass horsetail..natural antibiotic that has never failed me
*anti-diarheal preparation, I keep forgetting this
*two small FSR-type walkie-talkies in case you have to leave the
injured to get help, you can stay in touch for a while. These can
'turn themselves on' and the batteries die too.

I would like to add, that I recommend against 'giving out' any kinds
of meds such as the aspirin, benadryl etc. For legal reasons, set the
bottles down and have the person do it themselves. You can probably
help them open things. Be aware that a really good med kit will
'empty' itself over time even if never used for emergencies so you do
have to check it and restock it. Aspirin is my first med of choice as
it's an anti-inflammatory, but bleeding wounds will bleed more
(sometimes a lot more)and brusies will get darker. For sprains or bone
breaks, tylenol type might be better at first, best to check I forget
its been so long. All your bottles and preparations should have
expiration dates (and check them and cycle/replace them) or date them
with a marker and throw out after a year.

I'm sure there's more, that's all I can think of right now. I don't
think a med kit like this CAN be bought, you have to make it. And
don't forget to maintain it.

Canuck In Denver

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Re: First Aid Kits
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2005, 08:51:35 AM »

I use a combination of purchased first aid kits and add my own things to bolster them. My main first aid kit is nowhere near as comprehensive as I would like it to be, but it is the best I can do with the funds available.

I have a number of small pocket kits for scrapes and bruises, a larger kit and then my main kit. You can never have too many bandages, ointments and pill packets.

The main reason for buying a ready made kit is for the organization it provides. I'd love to get a good EMT kit and then add to that. Of course you can use plastic containers and smaller pouches to organize things yourself :)
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Re: First Aid Kits
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2005, 10:27:06 PM »

You can also find good first aid kits as a base in things like Sportsman Guide, Cheaper than Dirt or any good Catalog that caters to law enforcement.  Working at a hospital as I do I can always get good recommendations from the EMT's that I know. 

I have seen some really good kits in the places mentioned above and some are more than just a basic kit.  Of course it goes with out saying a first aid kit is really only as good as your ability to use it, so don't forget to get the training necessary to use it properly.  Check out the local Red Cross for the first steps to get the basic training and then maybe a First Responder course after that.

Of course if you want to go for the gusto most local Colleges do have EMT courses.

Nuff Said


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Re: First Aid Kits
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2005, 03:44:03 AM »

Please note, I am posting this now so I don't lose it. I will be adding more to it over the next week or so, so please check back later for any additions.

Wow, big topic. First off,let me give my disclaimer here at the start.

While the information I provide here I belive to be accurate, it is only provided for informational or educational purposes. It is not intended as a recommendation of any product or method(s) for use in the treatment of medical emergencies or ongoing conditions. It represents my personal opinon and is to be considered only as such. You are advised to seek proper medical care from licensed professionals in the event of any medical emergency or injury, trauma condition etc. I do not accept any responsibility for how this information is used by any individual or group.

First aid can cover a wide range of occurances from a basic minor cut or scratch to life threatening injuries such as broken bones, crushed windpipes, major lacerations with uncontrolled venous or arterial bleeding to disease or conditions requiring surgery. In many states there exist what are generally known as "Good Samaritan" laws. GoodSam laws protect a non-medical professional citizen who renders aid to someone whom is injured without fear of repercussions if that individual makes an honest mistake. Good Sam laws DO vary from state to state so it would be wise to check out the laws in any given state ahead of time. Also, in some states medical professionals are also covered by these laws and may even be required to stop and render aid if they happen upon a medical emergency situation.

It is my intention in this post to briefly discuss a few scenarios as they relate to the general theme of this website along with a more detailed discussion of extreme or long term first aid/medical care and to provide links to sources of information and or products. Just because I have mentioned something specific here does not neccessarily mean that I have tried it or use it nor does it mean it is neccessarily endorsed by any professional.

Basic Home First Aid.

This is simply the common practice of cleaning a minor cut and protecting it with a bandaid or simalar covering. The use of a antibacterial product can be of benefit in preventing or reducing infection and in speeding the healing process. Other basic first aid in this category would include minor burns including first degree sunburns. Simple sprains and abrasions, splinters non poisonous insect bites etc. A basic first aid kit can be puchased at most any drugstore, department store, camping store etc that will cover these needs for less than $25 for a complete kit. Such kits frequently come with an instruction sheet or booklet and require no training to use properly.

Advanced Home First Aid.

This includes all of the basics above plus such items as splinting broken bones, treatment for shock or heat exhaustion, CPR, major sprains and falls. Also, it can include snake bite or other venomous bites, electrical shock major burns and cuts, choking, arterial bleeding etc. Such treatments should be learned by attending a first aid course such as are provided by the Red Cross or other formally established traing methods. A first aid manual will usually be issued as part of this training to provide a ready reference and reminder of how to properly perform this level of aid. In the case of CPR a dedicated class is recommended on an annual basis. Advanced first aid kits may be purchased to cover these extra procedures and are available in better drugstores or medical supply shops as well as online usually for $50 to $75. They will also usually include a more complete manual than your  basic kit which can be used to supplement the training you should obtain seperately.

Camping, Hiking, Outdoor Survival First Aid.

This type of first aid is aimed at short term situations such as a vacation camping trip or ski weekend. Since there is a greater likelihood of serious injury in the wild than in the home environment, first aid here should be addressed as one would the Advanced Home First Aid above. By this I mean that one should have attended an instructor led first aid course. Kits are available in camping and outfitting stores that are condensed version of the advanced home kit. Small and lightweight, they are easily carried on the trail or whereever you intend to go. These kits are not meant for long term expeditions and should not be depended on in that type of situation. For the most part these kits are good for single use incidents and must be reloaded after being used as they do not contain large quantities of supplies. I would suggest selecting a kit that contains an emergency locator beacon especially if traveling in remote areas.

Long term unassisted Survival, Civil Disruption, First Aid and Medical/Surgical.

Please reread the disclaimer before proceding to read this section.

Well to start with the basics are still the basics and so are the advanced first aid information. The biggest difference here is in having a larger supply of items on hand and properly packed for long term storage. this section will be much longer due to the very nature of it.

In writing this I am looking at the idea that one may be unable to obtain professional medical care for a period of at least five (5) years and maybe never again. A lot can happen in five years in a situation like this and it probably will. when assuming the breakdown of society one must also assume that there will be no one to help them through any crisis, medical or otherwise. The otherwise we won;t discuss here only the medical.

First it is essential that at least two individuals be equally trained and ready to render aid or medical care for their group. Acting together they can decide the best course of action for a given event. They also serve as backup to one another for events requiring round the clock support. One person cannot provide that, simply because they must sleep and having an untrained person as a nurse is not the way to go. Of course, having at least two people trained also provides backup in the event that it is one of them that is injured or ill. These two can also train others in their group creating a greater safety factor for all. It should be an ironclad rule that no one but the original trained individuals will access the medical supplies unless requested by the trained person. This is simply to prevent accidents, waste and inadvertant surprises when they think they have something only to find out it has been used up without their knowledge. A logbook of ALL supplies should be made and kept up to date. Many medical items, even sterile ones will last far longer than their expiration dates show. Expiration dates are on the conservative side. Bandages, gauze and gauze pads, ointments and such will last for 5 years or more if carefully packed and stored. I will present a couple of methods for doing this later.

Advanced training in first aid is essential at a minimum. Start with the courses offered by the Red Cross. Then see if you can get into an EMT or Paramedic course at a local Technical School or community college. The more traing you can get now the better off you will be later when you have to render aid. Knowledge is one thing that is never a waste even if you never have need for it. If some of the training you take uses books that are supplied during traing but are returned when you complete it, arrange to purchase your own copy. You can use it to train others in your group besides being a part of your medical reference library. As you gain knowledge, you will find that there are other books that will be invaluable to you when the time comes that you become the "Medicine Chief" for your group. Research yourself to decide what you will be able to do. Will you only be able to do basic first aid only or will you have the fortitude and confidence to be able to contend with a compound fracture or be able to perform lifesaving surgeries such as a tracheotomy, a tonsilectomy, an appendectomy, an amputation? The answers to these questions and ones like them will help guide you in selecting the books you will find invaluable to performing these items. If you believe that you will be able to perform surgeries then a copy of Gray's Anatomy would be appropriate for instance. If you can't bring yourself to do this level of medical care, is there another in your group that can? If so then they should be the one to take the job. In a forced survival situation where you are cut off from outside help an appendicitis attack is lethal. It will kill and it will be a painful death. While you may not be able to save the patient, you will give them a far better chance of survival by trying then by doing nothing and at least you should be able to ease their suffering. I am using extreme situations I understand but it is essential that you think in extremes. For example, one of your group suffers an injury that amputates a leg just above the knee or maybe it is a compound fracture of the ankle and it becomes infected and gangrene sets in. Can you either pack it off and then suture the veins and arteries, clean and disinfect the wound and suture the skin together? Can you then keep the wound clean and debride it as it heals to prevent gangrene from setting back in? These are tough questions. The methods for doing all of this can be found in books. You may not have the modern day drugs to give pain relief but there are some altrnatives. Herbal medicines can do wonders this way. The patient may still hurt but if you can keep them from caring that they hurt you will have accomplished a lot. Then there are the simple things, can you give an injection, intramuscluarly, intravenously? Many drugs that are used to treat humans are also used in veterinary applications. A number of these drugs require no prescription to purchase. They are labeled for veterinary use only, not for human use but the contents are exactly the same. For years I have used veterinary penicillian for myself as an injectable. I have never had a problem and when I started I checked it out. The veterinary product was made the same way by the same manufacturer, had exactly the same ingredients in it and was the same dosage strength per cc. Now I am not advising you to do as I have done. I am merely stating that many drugs are the same. Have you ever had a vet prescribe a drug for your animal that you had to get at the drugstore? Do you really think the drug the pharmicist gave you was only for veterinary use? If it had been it would have been labeled as such. Some drugs are also available through chemical supply houses. These can be difficult to use since they are usually the pure drug and almost always need to be diluted and pressed into a pill or mixed into an injectable solution. However, it is entirely possible for you to do this with minimal investment in processing materials. The equipment needed can all be homemade for the most part. I will try to write an article describing this separately.

Okay, I have given some relatively brief descriptions of different scenarios and levels of first aid and medical care. Now to get to some specifics of whats required, in my opinion, and how to process and store these items for the long haul. I will first describe storage methods then follow with a list of links for assembled kits alonf with recommended quantities and then supplemental items. Remember, that I am looking at a kit that will suffice for five years so some quantities may seem high but they are what I think is reasonable. Also note here that the size of your group will affect the quantities needed.

I said earlier I would describe two methods to store medical supplies. Here is the first.

This method involves ready to use supplies in the form of kits that are immediately usable with nothing more required then getting and opening the kit. This kit should contain all the basic and advanced first aid materials excluding surgical items withthe exception of a suture or two for large cuts that do not involve a vein or artery. It should be kept in a cool dark low humidity location. Backups of supplies should be kept in their sterile wrappers and placed in vacuum seal food bags and vacuum closed and sealed. Write the date on the bag as well as the contents. Do not overstuff bags, if you have 200 2 x2 gauze pads put them in four bags of 50 or more bags of smaller quantity, vacuum the bag and seal. Related items can be put in a single bag, for example, include a roll of tape with a bags of gauze pads or put some of each size of band aid in a bag. Do this for all of your extra supplies and when done sort them into piles that will fill a 5 gallon bucketabout two thirds of the way. Once sorted you will know how many buckets are needed. It is preferable to use new buckets however used ones will work so long as they are clean and have tight fighting lids. Clean and scrub each bucket and lid with a strong disinfectant and be sure they are throughly dry. In the middle of each lid drill or cut a 1 to 2 inch hole. across this hole on both sides place a section of a HEPA quality vacuum cleaner bag that is secured with silicone adhesive or hot glue. Do not allow the adhesive to saturate the bag material over the hole. You can do this step prior to disinfecting the bucket if you desire. Place a pile of supplies in the bucket. Label the bucket with a number code and record in your logbook what is in that bucket. Also write the contents on the bucket itself. Repeat for each additional bucket as required to accomodate your choices.

This method is fairly easy and relatively inexpensive with the storage bags being the main cost item. The purpose behind the vent is to allow pressure to equalize between the inside and the outside yet maintain a clean envioronment within the bucket. With this method it is advisable to check the contents of each bucket at least once per year and preferably every six months. Be sure to record your inspections in the logbook.

The second method REQUIRES new buckets and lids and is the PREFERRED METHOD. The lids must have uncut locks on them and be of the gasketed type. This method will give a longer storage term for your supplies. Again disinfect both bucket and lid but do not cut holes in the lid. you may vacuum pack the supplies as in the other method but it is not neccessary and does not improve the storage cycle any. Again divide the supplies into piles making each bucket an assortment of supplies rather than all one type of item. In the bottom of the bucket attach a small metal cup of about one-half to one cup in size with hot glue or other suitable adhesive. In this place a chunk of dry ice then immediately load the bucket with your supplies and in this case you can fill it full if you did not put them into vacuum bags othrewise fill till two thirds full. Place the lid on the bucket and weight it with a 10 pound weight. The filling process should take you no more than a couple of minutes. You do not want the dry ice to sublimate completely before you are done. After about 10 minutes press the lid on firmly for most of its edge leaving just enough of it to allow some pressure to build without blowing the lid off or bulging the container. After a minute or two you should be able to feel a gentle "wind" from the gas at the spot where the lid is not yet secured. When it becomes barely noticeable finish secureing the lid. You want as much pressure as possible in the container without excess distortion. You may want to get a few extra lids and experiment some to fine tune your efforts.  Label and record as in the other method. If you can obtain it, use liquid nitrogen instead of dry ice. You will only need one to two ounces per bucket if you use liquid nitrogen. Once packed and sealed this way these supplies should have a minimum of a 5 year shelf life if unopened. be aware that when you open these buckets that they will likely be under pressure so cut the locks on the lid and use a "lid lifter" to open them slowly so the gas can vent off. Obviously, variations on this theme of gas packing are allowed. For example, you could fit the lid with a small pressure gauge and valve and after filling just close the lid tightly and use the valve to bleed off excess pressure to avoid distortion of the bucket. You will probably need to beakdown the large M17 Battalion kit in order to fit in into one or two buckets. Label the buckets as belonging together and when the time comes, reassemble the bag and its contents for use. Master bottles of pills may be broken down into smaller containers and distributed among several buckets so as to not have the entire stock open at once.

The kits and supplimental supplies.

Since I have already placed the basic, advanced and camping type kits in a position of normal everyday current situations and life, I will not give any real recommendation for them beyond what I have already done. I will say that these types of kits still have their place in a 5 year plan and are quite suitable for an anyone can access them application. This section will be devoted solely to the five year kit and its backups. Backups should not be used to replenish the basic etc kits unless done by the ones responsible for the 5 yr kit and appropriately recorded in the kits logbook. I will place the premade kits with supplemental items in groups wherein the "Level A" group are required as a minimum. "Level B" group includes items for surgery and "Level C" are supplemental items to extend the kits duration or capacity or are nice to have extras. The same level system will be applied to backup supplies. Some of these items will be links to websites were they are available and others will just be the name of the item. Items that are name only should be readily available anywhere that medical supplies are sold. To be honest purchasing everything listed will run into some serious money however we are talking about your and your groups health and well being. In some instances I show more than one source and the decision is yours as to which to obtain or get one of each and treat one as a spare.

Level A Kits and supplemental items. (1 each minimum)
or (1 each minimum) (1 each minimum; for grab and go to patch someone up to get them back to homefront)
or  (1 each minimum; for grab and go to patch someone up to get them back to homefront) (1 each minimum) (1 each minimum) (2 each minimum) (3 each minimum) (2 each minimum) (1 each minimum for each member of your group)

Nitrile exam gloves 100 count box (2 each minimum in each size needed for each aid giver, minimum 4 boxes total)

1,000 count bottle or equivalent of gel coated aspirin tablets (2 each minimum)

1,000 count bottle or equivalent of gel coated acetominaphen tablets (2 each minimum)

1,000 count bottle or equivalent of gel coated naproxen sodium tablets (1 each minimum)

100 count bottle Benadryl (10 each minimum)

1,000 count bottle or equivalent  of antacid tablets (1 each minimum)

1,000 count bottle or equivalent Imodium (1 each minimum)

500 count bottle or equivalent senna based laxative (1 each minimum)

Magnesium Citrate laxative (24 10 ounce bottles minimum)

"Fleets Enema" large size (12 each minimum)

Hydrogen Peroxide 3% (12 32 ounce bottles minimum, purchase new stock every 2 years but retain old stock for 5 years total before discarding)

Povidone Iodine solution (12 8 ounce bottles minimum)

Tincture of Iodine 2% (12 1 ounce bottles minimum)

Isopropyl Alcohol 91% (24 16 ounce bottles minimum)

Alcohol prep pads large 100 count box (2 each minimum)

Aerosol, brush on, or pump spray type "new skin or bandage in a can" (5 each minimum)

Level B kits and supplemental supplies. (1 each minimum) (1 each minimum) (3 each minimum) (1 each minimum, 2 each recommended) (1 each minimum, to be added to M3 kit) (5 each minimum)

Level C kits and items. (1 each minimum)

Charley tried and failed. Frances, Jeanne, and Wilma failed too. I'm still here and still laughing.

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First Aid Manual
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2005, 09:19:09 PM »

The joint services first aid manual, Marine edition. While it obviously is geared toward battle and war it still contains much valuable information for basic first aid and the additonal information included because of the military aspects could prove extremely useful in a retreat or invasion situation. In any case enjoy. I am listing it here separately so it doesn't get 'lost' to easy.
Charley tried and failed. Frances, Jeanne, and Wilma failed too. I'm still here and still laughing.


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Re: First Aid Kits
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2007, 01:01:08 AM »

Very nice post by Laughs at Hurricanes. Let me inject my two cents from when I was an EMT, years ago.

To begin with, taking the basic and advanced first aid and CPR courses is a very good idea. Also, take the refresher courses, to stay current. Even if you think you don't need to keep the certification current, the refresher course will help you remember your training. Most people don't get to practice first aid often enough to remember all of it.

Second, a full-up kit is nice if you have the space and can afford the weight. If you need to go minimal, I would recommend an analgesic, a disinfectant (I'm not real keen on putting anti-bacterial cream on everything), an antihistamine, something to cut with (scissors, knife, scalpel, whatever), a triangular bandage w/safety pins (two are better), assorted bandaids, butterflys, some 2x2's and a large handfull of 4x4's. If you have room, Imodium, an elastic bandage, a wire splint and a trauma dressing are nice to have.

In my experience, you will use the analgesic, disenfectant and bandaids the most often. Beyond that, you want large amounts of 4x4's and possibly the trauma dressing. If you don't have a splint and need one, use the triangular bandages to sling and tie a broken arm to the chest. For a broken leg, tie it to the other leg. Of course, you can always look around for sticks or such to use as a spint (even a rolled up newspaper works). The trauma dressing can also be used as a C-collar, if necessary. If you need an ice pack, you can usually improvise something (a cold drink, ice cubes and a plactic bag, etc.).

Just in case there are any lawyers lurking about: I am not qualified to give medical advice. The above comments are just my opinion. Anything you do is your fault/responsibility, not mine.

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