EIABC - February Newsletter 
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Message from the President 


A hearty thank you to all who donated in various ways toward the CKNW Orphans Fund. Once again, we are pleased to be able to announce that through your efforts and generosity, we are able to write a cheque of $22,383 to the CKNW Orphans Fund charity. Special thanks to Len Rhodes, “Santa,” for his fund raising efforts over many years in support of this charity. Our sincerest apologies to anyone we might have missed on this list.

The year 2015 will be special for us at the EIABC and for the electrical industry as well. The CSA Part I - 2015 - 23rd edition of the C22.1 Electrical Installation Standard is now available for purchase. This standard will be adopted for use in BC with appropriate BC amendments later this year. The EIABC will be announcing our traditional code changes seminar to take place as soon as possible after the adoption takes place. We will keep you informed on this most important issue.

We will continue to provide interesting and informative dinner meetings where you can meet and socialize with others in the electrical industry and keep informed on leading edge technologies and requirements provided by our line up of special guest speakers. We will also plan to provide a tour or two as well, as time permits. Please check out our web site for up-coming events.

Last but not least, thank you all for your continued support of your EIABC.

Rick May

February 2015

Inside This Issue

Message from the President
- Rick May

CKNW Donor List

Christmas Dinner Meeting

Essential electrical systems and life safety systems
– is there a difference between them?

- Ark Tsisserev

EIA Code Article - January 2015
- Ted Simmons


EIA Executive

Membership Form


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Phone: 604-294-4123
Fax: 604-294-4120

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Andy Moerman
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Christmas Dinner Meeting

Photos of our EIABC Annual Christmas Meeting, Gift Draw & Silent Auction held on Monday, December 1 at the Grand Villa Hotel & Casino in Burnaby.

Essential electrical systems and life safety systems
– is there a difference between them?

By Ark Tsisserev, P.Eng.
Ark Tsisserev is an independent electrical fire and safety 
consultant. Prior to becoming a consultant, he was an electrical safety regulator / Chief Electrical Inspector for the City of Vancouver . EFS Engineering Solutions Ltd.

The subject of “essential electrical systems” versus “life safety systems” is not consistently understood by the users of the Canadian Electrical Code (CE Code, Part I).
I will attempt to separate facts from misconceptions by means of a simple Question and Answer (Q&A) format and will cover answers to 8 questions (quite often – 8 is enough).

Q1.What is the essential electrical system and where does it apply?
A1. Although all definitions of the CEC are placed in Section 0, some sections provide special terminology that is applicable only under the scope of those specific sections. “Essential electrical system” applies only to a healthcare facility. CEC Section 24 CEC covers the installation of electrical wiring and equipment within patient care areas of healthcare facilities (HCFs), and the portions of their electrical systems designated as essential. Section 24 defines “essential electrical system” in Rule 24-002 as follows:
Essential electrical system: an electrical system that has the capability of restoring and sustaining a supply of electrical energy to specified loads in the event of a loss of the normal supply of energy”.
CSA Z32 “Applications of electricity in health care” (which covers electrical safety and essential electrical systems in HCFs) provides a similar definition.

Q2. What does “essential electrical system” comprise?
A2. CEC Subrule 24-302(1) provides the following requirement on this subject 24-302(1) An essential electrical system shall comprise circuits that supply loads designated by the health care facility administration as being essential for the life, safety, and care of the patient and the effective operation of the health care facility. This requirement of Rule 24-302 states that a typical essential electrical system consists of circuits that supply loads designated by the HCF administrator as being essential for life safety, patient care and overall effective operation of the HCF. It should be noted
that Clause 6.1.1 of Z32 offers the following description of an essential electrical system:
6.1.1 The requirements of Clause 6 shall apply to electrical systems that are considered essential for life and fire safety as specified in Article of the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC), for effective and safe patient care, and for the effective operation of the HCF during an interruption of the normal electrical supply for any reason”.
Table 7 of Z32 lists and classifies loads and branches of the essential electrical system. Such classification clearly demonstrates that the first eight items on this list represent applicable components of a life
safety system as mandated by the NBCC for any building required to be equipped with such systems, and that the remainder of the list covers specific loads intended to provide reliable patient care (e.g. loads in intensive care units, surgical suits, recovery rooms), and those loads of the entire HCF (outside the patient care area) that are deemed by the HCF administrator to be essential for the effective operation of the entire facility.
Thus, it becomes clear that “life safety systems” become an integral part of “essential electrical system” when such life safety systems are located in HCFs where the loads are designated by the administration
“as being essential for the life, safety, and care of the patient and the effective operation of the health care facility”.

Q3. Who is this mysterious entity, “HCF Administrator”, who possesses such sweeping powers to designate loads of “essential electrical system”?
A3. CEC Section 24 is silent on this subject. However, Appendix B Note on the application of Section 24 (on Rule 24-000) provides reference to Z32, which offers the following definition in this regard:
Administrator: the person responsible for operating the health care facility (or his or her designee). Note: The term “administrator” is used in this standard to denote the authority representing the health care facility and charged with responsibilities specified in this standard. The administrator may (and usually does) delegate these responsibilities to appropriately
qualified individuals”.
This fact demonstrates that users of CEC Section 24 should understand the relevant provisions of Z32 to effectively apply the requirements of CEC Section 24.

Q4.What are the “life safety systems” and where do they apply?
A4. Life safety systems are described and mandated by various NBCC provisions. Equipment comprising these electrically connected life safety systems includes (but is not limited to):
• fire alarm systems, with or without voice communication capabilities;
• emergency lighting, exit signs;
• fire pumps, firefighter elevators;
• smoke control and smoke venting equipment, including fans and dampers;
• hold-open devices and electromagnetic locks
NBCC Subsection 3.2.7 requires that the emergency source of power be provided by generators or batteries to equipment such as fire alarm systems, emergency lighting and exit signs.
Article of the NBCC specifically mandates the use of an emergency generator capable of operating under a full load for not less than two hours for life safety equipment such as electrically connected fire pumps, every elevator in a building that is more than 36-metres high, for every firefighter elevator, for smoke control and smoke venting equipment, for fans intended to limit passage of smoke in a vestibule located at an exit opening into interconnected space (e.g. atrium), in accordance with NBCC Article, and for the mechanical exhaust fans intended to remove air from the interconnected
floor space, as specified in NBCC Article
Special terminology provided in CEC Rule 46-002 offers the following definition of “life safety systems”:
Life safety systems: emergency lighting and fire alarm systems that are required to be provided with an emergency power supply from batteries, generators, or a combination thereof, and electrical equipment for building services such as fire pumps, elevators, smoke venting fans, smoke control fans, and dampers that are required to be provided with an emergency power supply by an emergency generator in conformance with the National Building Code of Canada”.
Provisions of Rule 46-108 for wiring life safety systems apply to all buildings where they are mandated by the NBCC. Where such life safety systems are installed in an HCF, these life safety systems become part of the HCF essential electrical system, and additional separation of wiring connecting loads of life safety systems in an HCF from wiring to other loads of the HCF essential electrical system is unnecessary, as all wiring of the essential electrical system must be installed separately from all other wiring in accordance with Rule 24-302(3). It should be noted that, from the perspective of good engineering practice (and not from CEC safety requirements), it is advantageous to separate circuits supplying vital, delayed vital and conditional branches in an HCF so as to facilitate effective and reliable operation.

Q5. Is it permitted for a fire alarm system, emergency lighting and exit signs installed in an HCF to be provided with an emergency power supply source, such as battery (as indicated in Q4)?
A5. When a fire alarm system, emergency lighting and exit signs are installed in an HCF, and such life safety systems are part of the HCF’s essential electrical system, the emergency power supply source for the essential electrical system loads must be an emergency generator conforming to CSA C282 “Emergency electrical power supply for buildings” as stated in CEC Rule 24-306. Of course, a typical central
battery or UPS could be used as a temporary backup to the required emergency generator but these additional power supply sources should under no conditions be used as a substitution for the required
emergency generator.

Q6. What are minimum required components of a typical fire alarm system?
A6. Clause 3.1.1 of ULC S524 “Installation of fire alarm systems” states that a fire alarm system must comprise at least the following interconnected devices:
• control unit
• manual station
• audible signal device
Of course—depending on a type of building occupancy classification—a fire alarm system would be required to be equipped with voice communication capabilities, visual signal devices, various fire detectors (including sprinkler waterflow-detecting devices), annunciators, and central alarm and control. NBCC Subsection 3.2.4 provides specific requirements in this regard.

Q7. What is electrical supervision of fire alarm systems?
A7. Electrical supervision is a specific means of detecting abnormal conditions on a fire alarm system (e.g. open circuit, short circuit, ground fault, movement of a valve handle that controls the water supply in a standpipe or sprinkler system, loss of power to a fire pump). The definition of electrical supervision is provided by ULC S524. Clause 3.3 of ULC S524 lists all components of fire alarm system wiring that must be electrically supervised. In addition, NBCC Article requires that electrical supervision must be provided for fire suppression systems (such as a standpipe or sprinkler system) and that such supervisory signals must be indicated on an annunciator of the building fire alarm system. It should be noted that the operation of all components of a fire alarm systems (including electrical supervision) must be verified in accordance with ULC S537 “Verification of fire alarm systems” upon completion of the installation. This requirement is mandated by Sentence of the NBCC.

Q8. Are hold-open devices, electromagnetic locks, smoke control and smoke venting equipment part of a fire alarm system?
A8.This equipment is considered by ULC S524 as “ancillary devices: “a device which has life safety application, and is activated by the fire alarm system, but is not part of the fire alarm system”.
Ancillary devices are not subject to the electrical supervision requirements, as they are not integral components of a fire alarm system. A verification procedure of a fire alarm system also includes a review as to whether a signal is sent to each ancillary device upon fire alarm system activation. However, evaluating the operation of these ancillary devices (equipment “which has life safety application” by the ULC S524 definition) is done—not via fire alarm verification—by the field commissioning of these integrated life safety systems, as required by NBCC Article Thus, wiring to these ancillary devices does not have to comply with CEC Section 32, as such life safety equipment is not an integral part of a fire alarm system. Note that signals to the fire department cannot be electrically supervised by a fire alarm system. When a fire alarm system is activated, an output signal is sent this system to a transmitter. The transmitter, communication channels between it and a monitoring station, and the facilities containing the monitoring station are components of the ULC listed “Fire signal receiving centres and systems”, conforming to ULC S561 “Standard for installation and services for fire signal receiving centres and systems” (see NBCC Sentence[4]). Electrical supervision of communication channels is provided at the monitoring station.
Hopefully, these eight Q&As are enough to provide some clarity around essential electrical systems, life safety systems and fire alarm systems. In each particular case, however, a relevant Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) should be consulted.

EIA Code Article - January 2015
By Ted Simmons 
Ted is the Chief Instructor, Electrical Apprenticeship Program - British Columbia Institute of Technology and is a member of the CSA Part 1 Code Committee.

Tn the previous article we reviewed the changes made to Sections 6, 8, 10 and 12.
This article will review the changes made to the 2012 CEC for Sections 14, 16, 18,
20, 24 and 26.
Section 14 – Protection and Control
Rule 14-104 – Rating of overcurrent devices
During our review of the changes to Section 4 in a previous article, we indicated there were concerns regarding the increased ampacities permitted for No.14, No.12 and No.10 copper conductors, as well as No.12 and No.10 aluminum conductors.  In order to address the concerns a new Subrule (2) was added to Rule 14-104 to restrict the overcurrent protection for these conductors as follows:
(a)  15A for No.14 AWG copper conductors
(b)  20A for No.12 AWG copper conductors
(c)  30A for No.10 AWG copper conductors
(d)  15A for No.12 AWG aluminum conductors
(e)  25A for No.10 AWG aluminum conductors
The new requirements essentially maintain the ampacities for these conductors at their previous 2009 values.  Notes have been added to Tables 1, 2, 3 and 4 to remind Code users to consult Rule 14-104(2) regarding the overcurrent protection requirements for these conductors.  It should be noted that Item (e) does not appear in the text of the Code, however it is part of the CSA errata and as such must be added to the Rule.
Rule 14-510 – Use and rating of manually operated general-use ac switches
Subrule (1) has been revised editorially to clearly indicate the ampere rating requirements for general-use ac switches.  Subrule (2) was added and now requires that general use ac switches be specifically approved for the purpose and so marked.  The following information has been added to Appendix “B” to clarify the marking requirements:

                           Marking                                                       Indication


Indicates an ac/dc switch intended for the control of tungsten-filament lamps on ac or dc circuits of 125V maximum.

Indicates an ac/dc switch acceptable for the control of tungsten-filament on ac circuits of 125V maximum.
“AC” or “~” or frequency marking (for example, “60 hertz”), or a phase marking. Indicates a general-use switch that is intended for use only on ac circuits.
Section 16 – Class 1 and Class 2 circuits
Rule 16-112 – Insulated conductors for Class 1 wiring
Subrule (1) has been revised to require that conductors larger than No.16 AWG copper be selected in accordance with Rule 4-008(1).  Where conductors of No.16 or No.18 AWG copper are used, Subrule (2) has been revised to indicate they shall be selected in accordance with Rule 4-020(1).
Rule 16-210 – Conductors for Class 2 circuit wiring
Subrule (1) has been revised to require that conductors for use in Class 2 circuits shall be selected in accordance with Rule 4-008(1).  Subrule (1) was also revised to indicate where conductors smaller than No.14 AWG are permitted, equipment wire of types REW, SEW-1, SEWF-1 TEW and TEWN shall be permitted provided the equipment wires are installed in raceways.
Section 18 – Hazardous locations
Rule 18-052 – Marking
A new Subrule (1)(e) has been added to permit electrical equipment intended for use in Class I hazardous locations to be marked with the appropriate equipment protection level (EPL), Ga, Gb, or Gc.  The introduction of EPL markings on equipment is a result of recent risk assessment analysis for the acceptance of Ex equipment and subsequent changes to IEC Standards which indicated there may be situations where it is necessary to increase, above normal levels, the protection against ignition sources.  This concept allows for consideration of the risk resulting from an explosion, rather than just the probability of the existence of a flammable atmosphere and will provide an alternative to the prescriptive approach of linking equipment to zones.  In most cases, the effect of the EPLs will be to retain the normal zone/equipment protection relationship.  If, however, the risk is considered exceptionally severe, then the required EPL for the zone may be increased.  Similarly, if the risk is considered especially small or negligible, the EPL may be reduced.
The following Table which is located in Appendix “B” shows the acceptable EPLs for Zones 0, 1 and 2.

Zone   Acceptable equipment protection level
Zone 0 Ga
Zone 1 Ga or Gb
Zone 2 Ga, Gb, or Gc
As noted in Appendix “B”, the EPL marking will appear on new electrical equipment approved under the adopted 60079 series of Standards.  For older equipment, in stock or in the field, that does not include the EPL marking, suitability for the intended zone will continue to be determined by the methods of protection.
Rule 18-090 – Equipment and wiring
Subrule (2)(a) has been revised to recognize the use of electrical equipment approved as providing equipment protection level (EPL) Ga in a Class I, Zone 0 location.
Rule 18-100 – Equipment in Class I, Zone 1 locations
Subrule (b) has been revised to recognize the use of electrical equipment as providing equipment protection level (EPL) Ga or Gb in a Class I, Zone 1 location.
Rule 18-108 – Sealing, Class I, Zone 1
Subrule (3) has been revised to clearly indicate that seals are required at the first point of termination after entering the Class I, Zone 1 location regardless of the type of equipment or fitting supplied.
Rule 18-150 – Equipment in Class I, Zone 2 locations
Subrule (1)(c) has been revised to recognize the use of electrical equipment approved as providing equipment protection level (EPL) Ga, Gb, or Gc.
Rule 18-152 – Wiring methods, Class I, Zone 2
Subrule (1)(d) now permits the use of copper sheathed RC90 cable for use in Class I, Zone 2 locations.
Rule 18-154 – Sealing, Class I, Zone 2
The previous requirement to provide a seal for a cable with a length less than 10 metres leaving a Zone 2 location has been deleted.
The requirement to provide the seal is now totally dependant on the difference in atmospheric pressure between the Zone 2 location and the non-hazardous location. 
As noted in Subrule (3)(b), if the cable terminates in a non-hazardous location in which a negative pressure greater than .2 kPa exists, a seal is required. 
 Section 20 – Flammable liquid and gas dispensing and service stations, garages, bulk storage plants, finishing processes, and aircraft hangars.
Rule 20-062 – Hazardous areas
In the previous Code, this Rule provided the classification requirements for the areas surrounding compressors and the areas surrounding a natural gas dispensing point located outdoors.  In order to provide a more comprehensive method to determine the extent of the hazardous location, Rule 20-062 now directs Code users to Table 64 which has been extensively revised to identify the “Hazardous locations at NGV fuelling facilities”.
As noted, Table 64 has been expanded to include the requirements for vents, compressor packages and dispensers.  As a result of the changes to Rule 20-062, the previous Rule 20-064 – Hazardous areas surrounding gas storage facilities has been removed and the other rules in this subsection have been re-numbered accordingly.
Rule 20-102 – Hazardous locations
In the previous Code the entire area of an automobile showroom up to 50mm above the floor was considered a Class I, Zone 2 location.  Rule 20-102 has been revised to indicate that showrooms shall not be classified as hazardous locations, provided that they are:

  • elevated from a service or repair area by at least 50mm, or
  • separated from a service or repair area by tight-fitting barriers such as curbs, ramps, or partitions at least 50mm high.
 Rule 20-110 – Equipment above hazardous areas
In the past, Rule 20-110(2) required permanently installed luminaires which were located over lanes through which vehicles are commonly driven or otherwise exposed to mechanical damage to be located at least 3.6m above the floor level.  If this was not possible, the Code required the luminaires to be of the totally enclosed type or be constructed to prevent the escape of sparks or hot metal parts.  Rule 20-110(2) has been revised to relax this requirement and now permits the use of luminaires suitable for non-hazardous locations provided they are protected from mechanical injury by a guard or by location.
Section 24 – Patient care areas
Rule 24-102 – Circuits in basic care areas
Interruption of circuits supplying essential electrical systems could jeopardize the effective and safe care of patients.  As a result, Subrule (6) has been added to
Rule 24-102 and requires that branch circuits supplying receptacles or permanently connected equipment deemed to be part of the essential electrical system not be used to supply receptacles or permanently connected equipment that are not part of the essential system.
Rule 24-104 – Bonding to ground in basic care areas
In order to minimize the possibility of potential differences between exposed conductive parts in the vicinity of the patient, Subrule (8) has been added and now requires that exposed non-current carrying metal parts of non-electrical equipment located within a patient care area be bonded to ground in accordance with Subrules (3) and (6).
A new note has been added to Appendix “B” to clarify which exposed metal parts of non-electrical equipment are required to be bonded to ground.  As noted, metal parts of medical gas equipment and metal parts of support arms or consoles installed in a patient care area should be bonded to ground.  However, metal parts of portable non-electrical equipment or metal parts of the building such as metal door or window frames need not be bonded to ground.
Rule 24-106 – Receptacles in basic care areas
Subrule (6) has been revised editorially to clarify that all receptacles supplied from circuits in an essential electrical system shall be coloured red.
Rule 24-306 – Emergency supply
The installation and performance requirements for emergency generators are located in CSA Standard C282.  As a result, the former Subrule (2) which required the prime mover of the generating set to be capable of operating independently of supplies, of water, and fuel from public utilities has been removed.
Section 26 – Installation of electrical equipment
Rules 26-360 to 26-368
The rules for motion picture studios, projection rooms and areas where cellulose nitrate films are stored were previously located in Section 48.  Several of these rules were considered no longer relevant and as a result, Section 48 was deleted from the Code. 
It was decided, however that some of the requirements be maintained for areas where cellulose nitrate films are stored for archive purposes which resulted in these specific rules being relocated to the new Subsection in Section 26 for cellulose nitrate film storage.
Rule 26-700 – General
To further enhance electrical safety for children, a new Subrule (12) has been added to Rule 26-700 to require all 5-15R and 5-20R receptacles installed in child care facilities to be of the tamper resistant type and so marked.  A new note has been added to Appendix “B” to clarify that unless otherwise designated by an authority having jurisdiction for child care facilities, a child care facility is considered to be an area designed to provide care to persons 7 years of age or less.
Rule 26-702 – Receptacles exposed to the weather
Subrule (1) has been revised to require the use of “wet location” cover plates for receptacles exposed to the weather.  A new Subrule (2) has also been added and requires receptacles of configurations of 5-15R, 5-20R, 5-20RA, 6-15R, 6-20R and 6-20RA to be provided with cover plates suitable for wet locations whether or not a plug is inserted in the receptacle.  These cover plates are sometimes referred to as “In-use covers”.  A note has been added to Appendix “B” to clarify the use and marking requirements for the two types of wet location cover plates.  As noted, the cover plates required for the specific receptacle configurations specified in Rule 26-702(2) are designed to be suitable for use in wet locations whether or not a plug is inserted into the receptacle.  These cover plates are required to be marked “Wet Locations”. 
The other wet location cover plates which are suitable for use in wet locations only when the plug is removed are required to be marked “Wet Location Only When Cover Closed”.
Figure 1 illustrates a 5-15R receptacle with a “Wet Location” or “In-use Cover Plate”

Figure 1
Rule 26-704 – Receptacles for maintenance of equipment located on rooftops
As noted previously Rule 2-314 was added to the Code and requires that where HVAC and similar equipment is installed on a rooftop (other than a dwelling unit) at least one receptacle shall be provided for the maintenance of the equipment.  Rule 26-704 has been
added to identify the installation requirements and requires the receptacle or receptacles to be:

  • protected by a GFCI of the class A type
  • supplied by a separate branch circuit that does not supply any other outlets or equipment
  • of CSA configuration 5-20R
  • located within 7.5m of the rooftop electrical equipment
  • located not less than 750mm above the finished roof
A new note has been added to Appendix “B” to clarify these requirements.
Rule 26-710 – General
In order to accommodate the increasing use of electric vehicles, a new Subrule (o) has been added to Rule 26-710 which states “where required by the National Building Code of Canada, receptacles for use with electric vehicle charging equipment as specified in
Rule 86-306 shall be provided for car spaces in a garage or carport serving buildings of residential occupancies”.  A new note was added to Appendix “B” and advises Code users to consult provincial/territorial building codes or building or zoning regulations to determine whether the installation of the receptacles is required.
Rule 26-712 – Receptacles for dwelling units
The word “continuous” was added to Rule 26-712 (d)(iv) and (v) to eliminate the problems of cords crossing sinks, etc.  A new note was also added to Appendix “B” to
provide further clarification on this requirement. 
Subrule 26-712(h) and the corresponding note in Appendix “B” have been revised to indicate clearly which receptacles are required to be tamper resistant.  It is important to recognize that counter receptacles are no longer exempt from this requirement.
Rule 26-714 – Receptacles for single dwellings
A new Subrule (c) which requires one receptacle be provided in a garage for each cord-connected overhead garage door opener has been added to Rule 26-714.  The new Subrule also requires the receptacle to be located within 1m of the overhead door opener.
Rule 26-720 – General
Subrule (g) was added to Rule 26-720 to indicate that a separate branch circuit shall be provided solely to supply power to each receptacle for the electric vehicle charging equipment described in Rule 26-710(o).
Rule 26-722 - Branch circuits for dwelling units
Subrule (g) has been revised to exempt the receptacle utilized for a sump pump located in sleeping facilities from AFCI protection, provided a single receptacle is used, the receptacle is labeled to identify it as a sump pump receptacle, and the branch circuit supplying the receptacle does not supply any other receptacles located within the sleeping area.
Rule 26-744 – Supply connections for appliances
Rule 26-700(2) requires receptacles to be connected only to circuits having a nominal system voltage and current rating corresponding to the rating of the configuration.  In order to avoid a conflict with this requirement, Rule 26-744(5) has been added to permit the connection of a 14-50R receptacle to a branch circuit rated at not less than 40A.
Rule 26-760 – Special terminology
A new Subsection outlining the requirements for bare element water heaters has been added to Section 26.  The new Subsection provides a definition as well as installation requirements to indicate the bare element water heater shall be:
  • supplied from a grounded system
  • permanently connected to a branch circuit that supplies no other equipment
  • protected by a GFCI of the class A type
It should be noted that bare element water heaters shall not be located within 1.5m of the point of utilization of the heated water.
In the next article we will review the changes for Sections 30, 32, 36, 46 and 50.


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