FAQ's

Codes and Certifications

How do SMART VENTS provide so much flood coverage?
What is the difference between Engineered Openings and non-engineered openings?
What types of certifications are accepted for Engineered Openings?
What is the International Code Council (ICC)?

Flood Insurance

Am I required to buy flood insurance?
Does my homeowners insurance policy cover flooding?
My house is in Flood Zone AE. How can I reduce my Flood Insurance bill?
Where can I learn more about purchasing flood insurance?

General

What is a Flood Vent?
When are Flood Vents required?
Is my property in a flood zone?
What is the Base Flood Elevation (BFE)?
What is a “100-yr flood”, “1%-annual-chance flood”, and “base flood”?
What is an Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE)?
What is a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?
The floor of my basement/crawlspace is lower than the ground level; what do I do?
Where can I purchase Smart Vents?

Installation

How do you install SMART VENTS?
What are the FEMA, NFIP & Building Code Requirements for installing flood vents?
How do the vents attach?
What is the depth of SMART VENTS?
My grade changes (slopes/dips), or my house is built on a hill. How do I place my vents?
Can I install the vent in an entry door?

Product Features

How do the models differ? Do they come in custom sizes? What sizes do you have?
What can I do to finish the inside of the opening?
Do they come in different colors?
Do the vents keep the cold air out?
Do the vents have insect screening?
Does the vent require any electricity?
Do the vents open only during a flood?
Do you know of any other company that makes a similar product?
Are the vents more expensive than other flood solutions?


Codes and Certifications

How do SMART VENTS provide so much flood coverage?

You may have heard that FEMA requires a vent with “1 square inch of opening per 1 square foot of enclosed area”, referring to vent dimensions in proportion to the space to be vented. This is only partially correct. FEMA Guidelines (as outlined in Technical Bulletin 1-08) do state that a non-engineered flood vent solution must (among other requirements) provide 1 sq. in. of opening per 1 sq. ft. of space vented. This is only in reference to non-engineered openings, however; all of our flood vent products are certified engineered openings. In accordance with the further guidelines of TB 1-08, our vents have been tested, rated, and certified for their coverage of 200 square feet per 16” x 8” unit by the International Code Council’s Evaluation Service (ICC-ES).

What is the difference between Engineered and non-engineered openings?

Engineered openings have been designed and tested as flood vents and are given a flood coverage rating based on performance. For example, SMART VENTS are ICC-ES Certified for 200 sq. feet of flood protection per 16” x 8” vent.

Non-engineered openings have not gone through any of the required testing, or any sort of flood testing for that matter, to qualify as an engineered flood vent and typically are solely intended for use as an air vent. Therefore, they are rated at the assumptive method of 1 net sq. inch of opening per 1 foot of enclosed area.

What types of certifications are accepted for Engineered Openings?

In addition to your Code Official and Surveyor requiring a certification, Insurance agents will request that property owners provide documentation as part of applications for NFIP flood insurance. The documentation should be attached to the Elevation Certificate.

For ICC-ES Evaluated Flood Vents, simply attach a copy of the Evaluation Report to the Elevation Certificate and highlight the model or models used in the home. Liability of the vent falls on the manufacturer.

Without an ICC-ES Evaluation an individual certification is required for each home that the vents are installed in. The certification needs to be an original certification with the signature and raised or electronic seal of the designer who is licensed in the state where the building is located. This option is for a licensed architect or engineer to design a unique opening for use in one particular home. Liability of the vent falls on the individual architect or engineer certifying the product.

What is the International Code Council (ICC)?

The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states that adopt codes choose the International Codes developed by the International Code Council.

Our ICC Certification Evaluation Service Report (ESR-2074) states that one 16" x 8" SMART VENT unit is certified to provide 200 sq. ft. of flood protection and should be attached to the Elevation Certificate.

Flood Insurance

Am I required to buy flood insurance?

Under federal law, most mortgage holders will be required to purchase flood insurance when they are mapped into a high-risk area.

Does my homeowners insurance policy cover flooding?

No. Flood damage is not typically covered by a homeowners insurance policy. You need a specific policy addition to cover flood damage.

My house is in Flood Zone AE. How can I reduce my Flood Insurance bill?

If you have Flood Insurance, your Insurance Agent should have your Elevation Certificate (EC) for your home on file. The data on the EC will directly reflect your Flood Insurance Premium. Compliant homeowners will receive the lowest premium available. If your premium seems high, your home is most likely non-compliant. A frequent red flag for structure compliance is proper flood openings.

On your EC, Section A8/A9 will tell you the square footage of your crawlspace/garage/etc., the number of flood openings you have, and the flood coverage they provide. If your coverage does not meet or exceed the square footage, this is deemed as non-complaint and will result in a high premium. Installing proper flood openings or “flood vents” will correct this issue. Contact your Insurance Agent for information on some other factors such as elevation of machinery, elevation of first livable floor, and Building Diagram type.

Where can I learn more about purchasing flood insurance?

Smart Vent has recently partnered with The Risk Reduction Plus Group to assist you with all of your flood insurance related questions. You may contact an agent directly, by emailing info@riskreductionplus.com.

General

What is a Flood Vent?

Flood Vents protect houses and buildings in floodplains by preventing water pressure buildup that can destroy walls and foundations.

When are Flood Vents required?

The NFIP Regulations and Building Codes require that any residential building constructed in Flood Zone Type A have the lowest floor, including basements, elevated to or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Enclosed areas (enclosures) are permitted under elevated buildings provided that they meet certain use restrictions and construction requirements such as the installation of flood vents to allow for the automatic entry and exit of flood waters. This wet floodproofing technique is required for residential buildings. Commercial buildings have the option to wet floodproof, which can be more cost-effective compared to dry floodproofing.

Is my property in a flood zone?

Zoning can be determined by contacting a Certified Floodplain Manager at the Flood Risk Evaluator (F.R.E.) who can easily determine what flood zone your property is in by running your address through our patented software.

What is the Base Flood Elevation (BFE)?

The Base Flood Elevation, or BFE, is the height of the base (1-percent annual chance) flood, usually in feet, in relation to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929, the North American Vertical Datum of 1988, or other datum referenced in the Flood Insurance Study report, or average depth of the base flood, usually in feet, above the ground surface. The BFE was adopted by the National Flood Insurance Program as the basis for floodplain management and flood insurance regulations.

What is a “100-yr flood”, “1%-annual-chance flood”, and “base flood”?

The term “100-year flood” can be confusing. It is not the flood that will occur once every 100 years. Rather, it is the flood that has a 1 percent chance of being equaled or exceeded each year. Thus, the 100-year flood could occur more than once in a relatively short period of time or even within the same month. Because this term can be confusing, FEMA has also defined it as the “1-percent-annual-chance flood”. The “1-percent-annual-chance flood” is the term now used by most Federal and State agencies and by the National Flood Insurance Program.

What is an Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE)?

Advisory Base Flood Elevations (ABFEs) provide a better picture of current flood risk than the existing Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), which in some cases are more than 25 years old. The new ABFEs are the recommended elevation of the lowest floor of a building. Some communities may require that the lowest floor be built above the ABFE.

The ABFEs are based on FEMA coastal studies that were completed before Hurricane Sandy. The studies include data that has been collected and analyzed over a number of years. Though advisory now, eventually information used to develop the ABFEs will be incorporated into official FIRMs.

FEMA Region II created this website with a tool to help you find the ABFE for your property. It is at http://www.region2coastal.com/

What is a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?

The land area covered by the floodwaters of the base flood is the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) on NFIP maps. The SFHA is the area where the NFIP's floodplain management regulations must be enforced and the area where the mandatory purchase of flood insurance applies. The SFHA includes Zones A, AO, AH, A1-30, AE, A99, AR, AR/A1-30, AR/AE, AR/AO, AR/AH, AR/A, VO, V1-30, VE, and V.

The floor of my basement/crawlspace is lower than the ground level; what do I do?

What you do is pay extremely high flood insurance premiums. According to FEMA guidelines in Technical Bulletin 1-08, if all four sides of the structure are below grade by even one inch, the structure has a basement. In a flood zone, having a basement almost guarantees very high flood insurance rates. To lower your premium, you need to equalize the interior and exterior grade on at least one side of the house. The easiest way to do this is to either add fill to the inside of the basement until at least one wall is at or above exterior grade, or to dig-out the ground outside until it is at or below the interior grade (floor) level. This will turn your basement into a crawlspace, which (if properly vented) should have drastically lower flood insurance rates.

Where can I purchase Smart Vents?

• We do not sell direct.
• For a list of dealers in your region, please Go To Our Dealer Locator to locate a dealer closest to you. They will be able to provide complete pricing information.
• Contact our office at 877-441-8368 for any additional information.

Installation

How do you install SMART VENTS?

View our full line of Installation Videos.

What are the FEMA, NFIP & Building Code Requirements for installing flood vents?

• Enough flood vents are required to protect the enclosed space below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
• The entire portion of the flood vent must be below the BFE.
• The bottom of each flood vent is to be located no higher than 1 foot above the highest interior or exterior adjacent grade below the vent.
• There must be at least 2 openings on different walls per each enclosed area below the Base Flood Elevation.

NOTE: View our Certifications & Codes for more information

How do the vents attach?

The vents were designed to be install with four stainless steel spring clips, (included in each package). These clips attach to the vent frame ( 2 on top and 2 on the bottom), to help create suction as the vent adhesive cures to the wall.

The adjustable spring arm of the clips should be on the outside of the vent frame and a bead of Hurribond adhesive (or equivalent) should be applied to the inside surface of the flange of the vent. Compress the bottom two clips and begin placing the vent into the rough opening making sure that the bottom of the vent is inserted first allowing the bottom spring clips to decompress. With the frame now in the opening and the bottom springs in place, compress the top springs and push the vent frame into the opening completely until the frame is flush with the wall.

NOTE: Be careful to avoid getting any of this adhesive onto any part of the frame but the back surface of this flange; you do not want to accidentally prevent the vent door from opening in case of flood.

What is the depth of SMART VENTS?

All models are 3-in. in depth.

My grade changes (slopes/dips), or my house is built on a hill. How do I place my vents?

For any assistance with placement of flood vents, please contact the Flood Design Team, where our team of Certified Floodplain Managers and Engineers can review your property's plans and provide you with a customized vent layout and schedule.

Can I install the vent in an entry door?

Yes, you can.

For overhead (garage) doors, we recommend using Model 1540-524 or 1540-574.
We have developed these specific models to install easily and contain a mechanism to prevent the vent from opening when the door is lifted overhead.

For standard personnel doors, we recommend using Model 1540-570.
NOTE: Be sure to only use stainless steel screws when fastening the flood vent to the door.

Product Features

How do the models differ? Do they come in custom sizes? What sizes do you have?

We have two primary models:
• The Dual-Function model (SMART VENT – 1540-510) provides 51 square inches of air ventilation opening in addition to 200 square feet of certified flood ventilation coverage. These vents would be almost exclusively used in unconditioned crawlspaces, where air ventilation is required in addition to any flood ventilation.

• The insulated flood-only model (FLOOD VENT – 1540-520) provides no air ventilation and 200 square feet of certified flood ventilation coverage. These vents would be is appropriate for most other applications, as they provide only flood protection for garages, storage areas, walkout basements, conditioned crawlspaces, etc.

Our single model masonry vents are the size of a standard concrete masonry unit block (CMU), 16” wide x 8” tall.  NOTE: we offer a few different assemblies to help reduce the amount of openings while still providing full coverage:
• We offer a stacked model vent being 16” wide x 16” tall and a stacked side-by-side vent, 32” wide x 16” tall.
• We also make a Wood Wall FLOOD VENT that is designed to fit between wood studs spaced on 16” centers that measures 14 ½ “ wide x 8 ½“ tall.
• For large commercial applications, we are able to design and manufacture custom mounting frames to contain various arrangements of vents in a single steel frame.

For more information on how to select the correct model, view this video:

What can I do to finish the inside of the opening?

There are a variety of options for trimming the interior of the opening. We offer a stainless steel trim flange & inner sleeve kit to line the hole that you as the customer can paint without voiding the warranty. (Please do not attempt to paint the vent units themselves; this can void the warranty.) This option is adaptable to fit any wall depth from three to fifteen inches. Additionally, any variety of trim designs could be fabricated by a homeowner or contractor for the interior: for instance, a wood frame similar to those used for framing windows.

Do they come in different colors?

Yes. We have four standard colors, and can (for an additional fee, plus an approximately three week lead time) match almost any color needed for your application. We use enamel powder coatings designed for use in harsh environments. Our standard colors are: white, black, wheat and gray. Contact an Authorized SMART VENT Dealer for pricing and availability.

Do the vents keep the cold air out?

The insulated flood-only model (FLOOD VENT) has an insulated foam core (two inches thick, equivalent to a 8.34 R factor), and weather-stripping between the door and the frame.

The air-ventilated model (SMART VENT) contains louvers that rotate open in warm weather, and close as the weather cools. The SMART VENT lacks any weather-stripping. However, we have never had a vent returned for reasons of poor insulative quality.

If you are in an area such as Alaska or parts of New England where winter temperatures are especially low, you may want to use the insulated FLOOD VENT model, even if it is an unconditioned crawlspace (an approved vapor barrier is optimal for this solution).

Do the vents have insect screening?

On the Insulated Models, the only space through which insects could theoretically pass is the extremely narrow space between the vent door and frame. In these models, this space is lined with a thick weather-stripping, which should prevent any insects from entering. The air-ventilated SMART VENT model, meanwhile, has a set of internal louvers behind a rodent screen. The purpose of a rodent screen is to protect the opening from vermin without preventing the natural flow of air; as such, openings in the screen must fit a very narrow set of dimensions (between 1/4 and 3/8 inch). Our SMART VENT screen has 1/4-in. openings, the largest allowed by code to maximize airflow necessary to prevent undue mold, mildew, and other threats to the wellbeing of the residents of a building.

Does the vent require any electricity?

No. The air-ventilation louvers on the dual function SMART VENT operate by means of a bimetallic coil, and the flood mechanism on all models works via rising flood water.

Do the vents open only during a flood?

For the most part, yes. The dual function SMART VENT model also opens for air ventilation, but the door itself remains closed; louvers inside the door rotate open or closed in response to temperature changes. The insulated FLOOD VENT model is designed to open only in response to rising flood waters. The vents can be opened manually by inserting a credit card into the upper portion of each of the two slots on the front of the door, if inspection is necessary.

Do you know of any other company that makes a similar product?

No. There are certainly other companies that make foundation vents, and some that claim that their vents are usable as foundation flood vents, but our vents are a FEMA Accepted & ICC-ES Evaluated engineered opening for flood venting. In fact, many of the vents that claim to be foundation flood vents do not comply with flood ventilation codes and FEMA guidelines, let alone having a certification.

Are the vents more expensive than other flood solutions?

Our vents are made from stainless steel, and are manufactured and assembled entirely in the United States. Additionally (and perhaps more importantly), each of our vents is an engineered flood opening certified for 200 square feet of flood protection. It is physically impossible for a non-engineered opening of comparable dimensions to provide as much coverage within FEMA guidelines; most air vents, in fact, provide less than 20% of that (overlooking that they do not fulfill other requirements of the flood code). Where a house may require 30-35 air vents to provide enough flood protection, about 8 of our vents would provide more than necessary. Our vents are cost-competitive with anything else we have seen on the market.

Codes and Certifications

International Code Council - Evaluation Service Report (ESR-2074)

Accepted by FEMA and all professionals nation-wide, our ICC Evaluation Report is the single document of certification that you need to provide to the Building Code Official, Land Surveyor, and Insurance Agent. This certification is available for download below and also comes in every SMART VENT retail box. Our ICC-ESR 2074 documents all of our model numbers, model sizes, certified flood coverage for each model, and more.

Download ICC-ESR 2074

Florida Building Product Approval (FL5822-R8)

As an added measure, SMART VENTS have been certified through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Our approved use in High Velocity Hazard Zones (HVHZ) and impact rated garage doors are documented on this certification.

Download FL5822-R8

FEMA Tech. Bulletin 1: Requirements for Flood Openings in Foundation Walls and Walls of Enclosures

This Technical Bulletin explains the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements for flood openings in foundation walls and walls of enclosures below elevated buildings in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) that are designated as Zone A (A, AE, A1-30, AH, and AO) on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).

The flood opening requirements are intended to equalize hydrostatic forces (loads or pressure caused by standing or slow-moving water) on walls, thus preventing damage to or collapse of the building.

Download FEMA TB-1

FEMA Technical Bulletin 3: Non-Residential Floodproofing - Requirements and Certification (TB-3)

Provides guidance on the NFIP regulations concerning watertight construction and the required certification for floodproofed non-residential buildings in Zones A, AE, A1-A30, AR, AO, and AH whose lowest floors are below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). FEMA TB-3 focuses on Dry Floodproofing techniques such as flood barriers and flood windows. These products, along with more information on Dry Floodproofing is available at www.floodproofing.com.

Download FEMA TB-3

Flood Vent Facts

What is a Flood Vent?

Smart Vent’s line of ICC-ES Certified, Engineered Flood Vents protect houses and buildings during floods by preventing hydrostatic pressure buildup that can destroy walls and foundations. This mitigation technique, referred to as Wet Floodproofing, allows floodwater to freely flow through an enclosure such as a crawlspace or garage.

How Do Flood Vents Work?

Flood Vents protect houses and buildings during floods by preventing hydrostatic pressure buildup that can destroy walls and foundations. This mitigation technique, referred to as Wet Floodproofing, allows floodwater to freely flow through an enclosure such as a crawlspace or garage.

Types of Flood Vents


ENGINEERED

  • Mass-produced flood openings are certified through the ICC-ES
  • Meet the required regulations, performance standards, and design guidelines
  • Designed and tested as flood vents and are given a flood coverage rating based on performance


NON-ENGINEERED

  • Not created to be used as flood vents
  • Have not gone through any of the required testing to qualify as an engineered flood vent
  • Solely intended to use as an air vent
  • Rated at the assumptive method of 1 net sq. in. of opening per 1 ft. of enclosed area

When Are Flood Vents Required?

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Regulations and Building Codes require:

  • Residential structures in Flood Zone A have their lowest finished floor above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE)

  • Any enclosure (i.e. crawlspace or garage) below the BFE ​to have flood vents to relieve hydrostatic pressure off the wall.

  • Unlike residential buildings, commercial structures have the option to wet floodproof, dry floodproof, or a combination of both

With commercial buildings, elevation and the use of wet floodproofing techniques is the suggested form of mitigation. This technique can be a more cost-effective solution, and reduces the impacts the building has on surrounding floodplain in comparison to dry floodproofing techniques.

What Are the Installation Requirements of Flood Vents?

The bottom of each flood vent shall be no higher than 1 ft. above the highest interior or exterior adjacent grade.

There must be at least 2 openings on 2 different walls per each enclosed area below the BFE.

How Many Smart Vents Do I Need?

Warranty

STANDARD ONE YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY LIMITED, NON-PRORATED AND TRANSFERABLE


Any and all product(s) as manufactured by Smart VENT® are subject to a one year limited warranty in accordance with the following, provided that the products covered by this warranty have been installed in strict accordance with the Smart VENT® written installation instructions and in accordance with all local codes and standards. Cleaning and lubrication may be required, and is not covered by this warranty. Smart VENT® warrants to the original purchaser or a subsequent owner of the property that parts are free from manufacturing defects for 1 (one) year from the date of purchase. Security Clips must be installed to validate warranty. Should any defect occur during the one-year period following the date of purchase, Smart VENT® will provide a replacement for that part deemed to be defective (but not including labor costs incurred in removing the part, installing the replacement part, or shipping). In the event of replacement according to the terms of this warranty, the warranty on the replacement part will extend for the balance of the original warranty period, which is in effect at the time the part proves defective. LIMITATIONS Smart VENT® shall not be liable for, and this warranty does not apply to, any failure, defect or damage resulting from or connected with painting, misuse, abuse, neglect or improper handling or storage, or installation not in strict adherence to Smart VENT® written instructions. Smart VENT® reserves the right to discontinue or modify any of its products, including color, and shall not be liable as a result of such discontinuance or modification. If Smart VENT® replaces any part under this warranty, it may substitute parts designated by Smart VENT® to be of comparable quality or price range in the event the product initially installed has been discontinued or modified. OTHER CONDITIONS THIS WARRANTY IS EXPRESSLY IN LIEU OF ALL OTHER ORAL OR WRITTEN WARRANTIES, LIABILITIES OR OBLIGATIONS OF Smart VENT®. PERTINENT STATE LAW SHALL CONTROL FOR WHAT PERIOD OF TIME SUBSEQUENT TO SALE A CONSUMER/ HOMEOWNER MAY SEEK A REMEDY PURSUANT TO THE IMPLIED WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL Smart VENT® BE LIABLE FOR CONSEQUENTIAL OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING ANY DAMAGE TO THE BUILDING, ITS CONTENTS OR ANY PERSONS THEREIN, RESULTING FROM THE BREACH OF ANY WARRANTY SET FORTH HEREIN. NO REPRESENTATIVE OF Smart VENT® OR ITS DISTRIBUTORS OR DEALERS IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE ANY CHANGE OR MODIFICATION TO THIS WARRANTY.

Download Standard Warranty

LIMITED 15-YEAR EXTENDED WARRANTY


By registering your Smart Vents, you will receive our extended 15-year warranty.

Any and all product(s) as manufactured by SMART VENT® are subject to a fifteen year limited warranty in accordance with the following, provided that the products covered by this warranty have been installed in strict accordance with the SMART VENT® written installation instructions and in accordance with all local codes and standards. Cleaning and lubrication may be required, and is not covered by this warranty. SMART VENT® warrants to the original purchaser or a subsequent owner of the property that parts are free from manufacturing defects for 15 (fifteen) years from the date of purchase. Security Clips must be installed to validate warranty.

Should any defect occur during the fifteen-year period following the date of purchase, SMART VENT® will provide a replacement for that part deemed to be defective (but not including labor costs incurred in removing the part, installing the replacement part, or shipping).

In the event of replacement according to the terms of this warranty, the warranty on the replacement part will extend for the balance of the original warranty period, which is in effect at the time the part proves defective.

LIMITATIONS

SMART VENT® shall not be liable for, and this warranty does not apply to, any failure, defect or damage resulting from or connected with painting, misuse, abuse, neglect or improper handling or storage, or installation not in strict adherence to SMART VENT® written instructions. SMART VENT® reserves the right to discontinue or modify any of its products, including color, and shall not be liable as a result of such discontinuance or modification. If SMART VENT® replaces any part under this warranty, it may substitute parts designated by SMART VENT® to be of comparable quality or price range in the event the product initially installed has been discontinued or modified.

OTHER CONDITIONS

THIS WARRANTY IS EXPRESSLY IN LIEU OF ALL OTHER ORAL OR WRITTEN WARRANTIES, LIABILITIES OR OBLIGATIONS OF SMART VENT®. PERTINENT STATE LAW SHALL CONTROL FOR WHAT PERIOD OF TIME SUBSEQUENT TO SALE A CONSUMER/HOMEOWNER MAY SEEK A REMEDY PURSUANT TO THE IMPLIED WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL SMART VENT® BE LIABLE FOR CONSEQUENTIAL OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING ANY DAMAGE TO THE BUILDING, ITS CONTENTS OR ANY PERSONS THEREIN, RESULTING FROM THE BREACH OF ANY WARRANTY SET FORTH HEREIN. NO REPRESENTATIVE OF SMART VENT® OR ITS DISTRIBUTORS OR DEALERS IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE ANY CHANGE OR MODIFICATION TO THIS WARRANTY.

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