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15 Ways To Prepare for a Rogue Wave of Collapse

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: August 1, 2022
15 Ways To Prepare for a Rogue Wave of Collapse

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Spend ten minutes on the web surfing the key words “prepping skills” and you will be presented with site after site preaching the gospel of prepping for the time when the stuff hits the fan, something we commonly call SHTF.  The truth is it is a bit bittersweet to see so many of us planning for a major meltdown of our economy, food supply, power grid, country, society, and quite possibly our planet.

Call it a feeling or an intuitive guess, but It is as though we are preparing for a huge rogue wave that will hit an any moment.  There is a huge, 100 foot wall of disaster that is zooming toward us. We don’t know what is coming or when, but we know in our gut that it is on its way.  And so we prepare.

15 Ways To Prepare for a Rogue Wave of Collapse | Backdoor Survival

In my opinion, every once in awhile we need to go through a self-assessment to determine how well we are doing in planning for this rogue wave of collapse, in whatever form it might take.

Will There Really Be a Catastrophic Collapse?

I first wrote about the coming “rogue wave of collapse” in 2011.  What I write today is a very different article.  Back then, I was almost sure that a global collapse, economic or otherwise, would happen within months.  Clearly, what I envisioned did not happen, or at least did not happen in the manner expected.

My current opinion is that these past six years have brought an insidious and sometimes imperceptible decline in life as we knew it before the crash of 2008/2009.  I believe there is a high degree of complacency and most folks figure “this is just the way it is”.  My guess is that many have conveniently forgotten what it was like to get regular raises, purchase health care insurance at a reasonable price, and look forward to retiring at age 65.

While the alteration in our perception of life in the 21st century makes for an interesting and important discussion, that is beyond the scope of the tips I share today.  Still, it is wise to recognize that this new normal is setting a precedent for future generations and the path we are on is not a good one.

I do sometimes speculate that the act of prepping creates some sort of cosmic inertia that will somehow fulfill itself.  In psychology, this is called a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The fact is that so many of us are preparing for a dismal future and as a result, the fabric of our daily life is changing.  Because we expect the world situation to go from bad to worse, we are changing our attitudes, our habits, and our personal culture to adapt to a situation we think is going to occur.

And that is the crux of the matter.  We are planning for something bad to happen and in the planning, we are changing the course of our individual life plan.  Are the facts mixed with speculation? Or are facts mixed with a fiction that becomes the new reality?  This makes for a fascinating study.

Let me be clear.  I am not saying that prepping and acquiring survival skills is wrong.  And most assuredly I am not saying that planning for self-reliance and survival will lead to global food shortages and societal chaos.  Instead, I am throwing out the possibility and probability that life as we know it is indeed changing not only for the bad, but for the good.  We are making it change, one baby step at a time, with each can of beans, bag of rice, and box of bullets.

The life we are changing may be only a ripple when compared to some unknown, unpredictable catastrophe but it is change none-the-less.  And perhaps that in itself, over time, will change the direction of our world.

15 Things To Do Now To Prepare for a Collapse and for SHTF

1. Get your food and water supplies in order

This is going to mean something different to everyone, depending on where you live and what you feel is coming.  For some it may mean stocking up on pantry items and bottled water, whereas for others it may been purchasing additional freeze dried food and fillable water containers.  Regardless of your situation, get your food and water supplies in order sooner rather than later.

Additional Reading:  20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan

2. Have at least two ways to filter water

Consider a Berkey or other system such as a LifeStraw Family as well as personal devices such as the Sawyer Mini or personal Lifestraw.  Pool shock is an excellent option but only if you know how to use it safely.

Additional Reading:  How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water

3.  Establish a cash fund, preferably in small bills

If the grid goes down, banks credit cards, and ATMs will no longer work.  If there is a major economic collapse, banks and our government may ration access to our own funds.  Think it won’t happen?  Look at recent events in Venezuela and think again.

4 Ensure you have both the means and fuel that will allow you to cook outdoors and without power for an extended period

Cooking over a campfire is fun when you are doing so as part of a weekend getaway but being forced to do so is a whole other matter.  Build or buy a rocket stove, build or buy a solar oven, and learn how to use same.  Extra tanks of propane are a good idea just be sure to check with local authorities who may have limits as to how much can be legally stored on your property.

Additional Reading:  Propane for Preppers:  The Five Part Series

5. Gather extra first aid and medical supplies

Think about sick room supplies as well as basic first aid supplies. In addition, get at least one good book on dealing with medical emergencies when help is not on the way.

Additional Reading:  How to Create an Emergency Ammo Can First Aid Kit

6.  Study alternatives to prescription drugs

There are a lot of choices when it comes to alternative medicine.  Start a medicinal herb garden and learn to effectively use essential oils to resolve common medical issues.

Additional Reading:  10 Useful Medicinal Plants To Cultivate From Seeds and 9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit

7.  Bolster Home Security to Discourage the Bad Guys

Regardless of where you live, there are things you can do to beef up the security in and around your home.  Examine your locks and the foliage surrounding your home.  Is your lighting bright enough to spot and possible take target on intruders?

Additional Reading:  20 Home Security and Crime Prevention Secrets for Preppers

8. Prepare yourself psychologically to defend your turf

There are many ways to defend yourself and your property.  Some involve firearms and some do not.  Whatever you do, have a good chat with yourself to determine what you are willing to do (or not) and why.  This is an important aspect of personal defense; do not ignore it.

Additional Reading:  10 Ways to Stay Calm and Prepare for a Disruptive Event and Can Nice People Shoot?

9. Don’t believe everything you hear in the media or read on the Internet

Without dwelling too much on this, sometimes it is the mainstream media and sometimes it is the alternative media that is all hype no substance.  Remember that fear sells.

And that is all I am going to say about that.

10. Keep your vehicle in good operating condition and keep the gas tank topped off at all times

Hopefully you will not need to evacuate but if you do, you want to be ready.  Don’t forget to periodically check your battery and tires, including the spare.

Additional Reading: Survival Buzz: 46 Must Have Items for Your Emergency Vehicle Kit

11.  Keep extra clothes on hand and don’t get behind in the laundry

You want to be prepared with climate suitable clothing, including socks and jackets.  That said, they will not do you a bit of good it they are in the laundry. It is also a good idea to have study shoes or boots for every member of the family.

12.  Stock up on basic hygiene supplies

Whether you are experiencing a short or long term disruptive event, you are going to want to maintain proper hygiene.  Wash your hands as often as you can, and make copious use of alcohol based hand sanitizers.  This is one area where you do not want to scrimp.

Additional Reading: Survival Basics: Hand & Surface Hygiene When There’s No Water to Spare

13.  Know how to deal with waste if there is no running water or traditional sewers are no longer functional

There is a whole lot more to dealing with waste than having 48 rolls of toilet paper.  If the sewer system is no longer functional you are going to need buckets, bags, odor control, and some way to dispose of waste.

Additional Reading:  Dealing with Poo After a Disaster

14. Establish where you will go and how you will get there if forced to evacuate

Although being able to shelter in place is always the best option, if your home is destroyed or the environment dangerous, you need to be prepared to leave and leave quickly.  Identify in advance both where you will go and the routes you will take to get there.

Additional Reading:  Finding Your Way Back Home Without a Map and Compass

15. Keep your bug out bag stocked with what you need to survive for a short period while on the road

I almost said while “on the run” because that may be the case, especially if avoiding a trip to Camp FEMA.  Bug Out Bags need to be individualized and no one kit is appropriate for all situations.  Have as many kits as you have family members, taking into account individuals needs.  More family members means more is needed in terms of extra food, water, and medical supplies.  On the other hand, there will be more people to carry the load so you can spread the weight around.

Additional Reading:  How To Build Your Own Perfect Bug Out Bag and The Conundrum of Bugging Out and What To Do About It

The Final Word

I was prompted to write this piece after reading George Ure’s article last week: Coping: A Pop Quiz for Preppers.  He poses a set of questions along with his own answers. I encourage you to do the same, substituting his what-ifs with your own scenarios.

Finally, I want to reiterate that even though we may feel that the world is going to heck, it is still our world.  Keep on living, keep on loving, and keep on prepping.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

Below you will find a handfful of items related to today’s article.

LifeStraw Family 1.0 Water Purifier:  The Lifestraw Family contains no chemicals, no batteries and no moving parts to wear out. It features a a high flow rate and is the perfect solution to your portable water purification needs – whether bugging in or bugging out. Read my review here.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter:  FREE SHIPPING! The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2 oz.  making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.

Solo Stove_21

Solo Stove & Pot 900 Combo: Ultralight Wood Burning Stove: This combination is perfect for your bug-out kit and especially for heating water for use with freeze dried meal pouches.  The stove nests inside the stove.  Lightweight and it burns biomass, no other fuel is needed.  Recommended!

UltraFire Mini Cree LED Flashlight:  I personally keep flashlights in every single room of my house and you should too.  Consider ordering a dozen of these Mini-Crees.  You will have enough flashlights to stash everywhere including extras for nightstand drawers, desk drawers, and just about every place else you an think of.

At the time of this writing, these flashlights with free shipping. These favorites are super mini sized, bright and waterproof.  Plus, they use a single, standard AA sized battery.

mini Cree_0         

BYBLight TML-T6: This flashlight is extremely bright, casts wide angle and, when zoomed, a very focused beam.  I swear that if there were a rattlesnake out in the desert outside my back yard this flashlight would find it.  It’s a sturdy thing with an aluminum casing that is not at all heavy.  It has 5 built in modes including the standard high, medium, low plus a strobe and SOS mode. It includes a rechargeable battery and a charger plus an adapter to hold AAA batteries.

BYB Flashlight 250

Just to see it stacks up with my other favorites, here is a photo showing the differences in size and form factor between the BYBLight, Coast HP1, and the UltraFire Mini-Cree.

Berkey Water Filter System:  For in home use, nothing beats the Berkey. My own Royal Berkey represents a key component of my water preps.   The Berkey system removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites entirely and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes. It also reduces nitrates, nitrites and unhealthy minerals such as lead and mercury. This system is so powerful it can remove red food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs. Virtually no other system can duplicate this performance.

Quikclot Sport Brand Advanced Clotting Sponge: Accidents around the homestead do happen.  As much as we practice safety, it is a fact of life that stuff happens.  Quickclot is a must for any first aid or emergency kit; it stops moderate to severe bleeding until further medical help is available.

Israeli Battle Dressing, 6-inch Compression Bandage: This is another inexpensive, yet critical item for your first aid kit. Combat medics, trauma doctors, and emergency responders all recommend this Israeli Battle Dressing (IBD) for the treatment of gunshot wounds, puncture wounds, deep cuts, and other traumatic hemorrhagic injuries.

New-Skin Liquid Bandage, First Aid Liquid Antiseptic:  I have been using New Skin for years.  It is an antiseptic, invisible, flexible, and waterproof.  It works.

First Voice Self-Adherent Stretch Bandage (Pack of 10):  I first learned about self-adhesive bandages when my dog came home from the vet such a bandage wrapped around his leg.  A light went off telling me I needed to add some to my first-aid kit.  And so I did.  This is a fantastic price and rivals the price at the farm supply.


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39 Responses to “15 Ways To Prepare for a Rogue Wave of Collapse”

    • ??? Sorry I do not understand your comment. Comments with profanity are caught by spam filters as are those spewing ads for Viagra and such. All comments with third party links are moderated since many are simply advertisements for dubious products. I can only do what I can do.

    • Well, I was responding to a comment which said, in part, “‘I do not believe for one minute the tread of optimism in this article. It is no longer our world and we are going down big time.”

      What happened to that cuss-less and link-less comment I responded to?

      After I posted my reply, both our comments disappeared. It made me question things. (I suppose I could in error, but I doubt it).

      What happened to that other fella’s comment? It’s in, ‘the Zap’?

      I mean, everyone here is so positive, it’s almost like any contrary thought is rejected out of hand or something.

      Also, you all’s optimism is unfounded based upon the facts I’ve been reading. THat said, I can understand why you all would dismiss the facts. …I just think it’s a Very bad call. YMMV.

    • Still confused since I have not deleted any comments after they were posted.

      The comment you say you responded to still appears above. See Taxdn2poverty on June 14, 2016 at 8:06 pm. It is still there. So is your comment: “helot on June 14, 2016 at 8:53 pm said”.

      Sometimes comments will not appear due to caching either by my server or your ISP. It happens. You might try clearing your cache and see if you can see these comments.

    • Just a lot of bull Gaye. I responded to someone who accused me a being paranoid ( on another article) and both my comment and link to back me up were never published. I tried several times to respond but each time my response was never published. I don’t know who your mods are but perhaps you should take a close look and see if they are left wing Nazi fascists.

    • Thank you for not having a jillion ads on your site.. Some sites with all those ads really mess with my computer/internet and I can’t even use this site. Likewise, thank you for moderating the site for trolls. That said, I really enjoy your site and articles as well as the comments to your articles. I feel that some people are way too pessimistic about the future, but I agree with the saying “believe in God but tie up your horse”. You don’t have to be a pessimist or an anti-government survivalist to be prepared. Thank you, Gaye and keep up the good work!

  1. RE: ‘I do not believe for one minute the tread of optimism in this article. It is no longer our world and we are going down big time.’

    Yah. Like a two ton heavy thing, swinging this way.

    No doubt, the same two ton heavy thing which was swinging this way in 2011, only now, it’s picked up more momentum.

  2. Just a note,Gaye (and others ) including Dennis, tractor girl and Karen,who wonder sometimes if we are inviting and/or encouraging paranoia by focusing so much on prepping and imagining what exactly and how bad the SHTF scenario will be…
    I recently asked my doctor for extra Rxs and of course he asked me “Why?” Long story short—he wrote me 1 years worth with a note to pharmacist it was okay with him to fill them all at once. Insurance will only pay once per rx because “they don’t want to pay again if I lose the medicine.” But something he said about my anxiety and level(frequentcy) of panic attacks really made me feel better. Anxiety affects almost 70% of the population today and it is more positive than negative! Its roots are genetic from wary cavemen and cavewomen. “They are the ones who survived because they were alert enough to watch out for the saber tooth tigers”. Managing the LEVEL of the anxiety is the tricky part. Gaye said, “keep living” but “keep preparing”. We should trust ourselves to be alert, wary, and ready for the challenges ahead. Paranoid? Maybe. But prepared for whatever may come!

    • That is good news about the meds, Maury. Interesting that he/she considered anxiety to be a positive thing. I never really put it in the caveman context you described.

  3. Hi Tractor Girl. It sounds like you’re prepping to cover extended family? Hopefully it will be a win-win. You will need all those extra people under your roof to help with the work of survival. Farming, gardening, canning, tending fires, cooking, washing clothes by hand, chopping wood, carrying water and boiling if not from a well, security patrols, watch duty, and guarding the people working outdoors. They will be earning the food you’re prepping. And you will need them to guard your premises and protect the food.

    I don’t have people so I have thought a lot about it. I hope to take in a couple families on my street to cover all these jobs.

    I’ve read a lot of post apocalyptic fiction. It takes 10-15 people minimum to do all the work of survival. And many more to protect a street or neighborhood. I hope our volunteer fire fighters will take on the role of security for my small town.

    • Yes all the family will have a part in keeping our little community safe…we all have a gun and lots of ammo…our house sits in a 10 acre woods and is off the main county road about 500feet…got an alarm at the road..I have all the fixings for so many different cooking senerios….well for water..huge generator ..two very large propane gas tanks…only thing that needs to be changed is our water is electric..can’t get the hubbie to change it..always talks about it but never does it…we will shelter in place….so I have so much stored away…I could go on and on…..I think right now I need to get busy on an inventory ..maybe that would put everything in perspective.. Thanks everyone

  4. It d o es seem like everything is going up and things are getting smaller….
    I feel as if we are being squeezed as much as we can be…I really don’t know how single parents even make it…I think the government is getting people to depend on their programs and eventually own everybody…. ..Heaven only knows…I am prepping in every level I can but I feel like I am slipping and going to fall and never recover….I keep keeping up..I spend most of our money on food preps and hygeine….we live in a very large house and already had such of what is on most lists…….we are farmers and have a ton of tools of all sorts and my husband can repair most anything…but I still fret over everything..I have so much immediate family that I will need to help and I am just about to emplode…I want to know that everything I have done has made a difference for all of us…does that make sense to anyone?

  5. Great article as always. And right on time. I’ve become a bit complacent and my preps are neither organized nor inventoried.

    I would like to put a personal point out there because others may be experiencing it too: At the time we most need to be prepared, I have stopped working on it because money is so tight.

    My husband no longer gets bonuses. He also took a pay cut when his company was sold. My Medicare prescription drug plan went up in price in every way. Deductible, premium, and co-pay. And, as the previous commenter mentioned, the price of food is going up while the weight or amount of each item is going down.

    In the big picture of unemployment, these are very small setbacks. But our income has fallen enough that my husband has asked me to stop buying food for storage.

    So I must say: these losses in income are a sign that the falling economy and rising inflation are already upon us. This is the time to find the sales, find the coupons (I get mine at the library), and store more food and water.

    And do everything on Gaye’s list of 15 things to do now to tighten our preparedness.

    • Karen S: We are in the same boat, but the boat is not sinking, it just lost a sail or two. A few suggestions, if you eat out stop, if you have credit cards, shred them. Don’t give adult kids any money either. Also, I do not believe for one minute the tread of optimism in this article. It is no longer our world and we are going down big time. Hang on to the preps, and make sure you have plenty of water. I got out old receipts the other day and looked at prices from when we started prepping five years ago and the difference between then and today is really big. Keep the faith and God bless

    • Dear Taxdn2poverty. I would be interested in continuing this conversation by email.
      [email protected]
      If not comfortable with that no problem. Can’t be too cautious these days. Thx.

    • We are in the same boat too. We are currently selling our house to free up cash, lower debt and will get a less expensive rural home so we can begin stockpiling again. What Taxdn2poverty suggests is true: we’ve just lost a sail or two. Don’t give up and don’t give in. Keep on doing whatever you can do to dump debt and prepare. We got this, friends.

    • That’s what we did. And we moved to the Midwest from California. It’s far too expensive to live there and there are too many taxes and regulations. It is easier to prepare here and much less stressful. I encourage you! If you’ve looked carefully and found a good rural home, you will have some adjustments to make but I think you’ll be much happier! Best to you and yours!

  6. Attached – maybe – label from the newest package of bacon — This is a 25% reduction in contents — Used to be you would buy a Pound of Bacon — 16 ounces! It’s now 12 ounces. Lots of current packages are the same price for 25 or even 50% less product! Glad I have a garden — May need to add some other production items to get protein — meat etc.

  7. Most who come here can probably see the “status quo” is unsustainable. Population is still growing, food production, energy production, and real economic activity are not growing. Also, the recent climatic optimum, (also called global warming) is fading, and weather volitility is increasing, which usually (looking back centuries) means cooling is ahead short term (6-60yrs but usually 22-44). Cooling and volitile weather impact food production. Since we live on a (mostly) finite planet, and may have already hit the economic limits of most resource extraction, it is unlikely food production efforts will be ramped up enough to maintain the current population, much less continue its growth.

    I don’t think we can know if a “Rogue Wave” of collapse is coming, but it is likely enough that preparing makes sense. Preparation efforts build resilience, and make a cascading collapse less likely, not more. If enough effort is directed to localise economic activity and support the population instead of trying to rescue vampire banksters at the population’s expense; it might be possible to engineer an orderly decline. There is little sign of organized effort in this direction yet, but i see individual effort everywhere. Who knows if it will be enough?

  8. A thought provoking post. I often wonder about the self fulfilling prophesy question as well. Then I recall that back in Y2k a lot of people were also seeing portents and predicting doom and gloom. I must’ve had about a week’s worth of water and food then and felt that was enough. Nothing happened in spite of all the prophesies. These days, it feels “different” with various disasters happening at the same time. We can’t deny that things have changed from a couple of years ago. I still cling to the hope that this is a temporary phase, but continue to prepare just in case.

    • If you will recall, the MSM and PTB were on board with the prepping for Y2K. There was a lot of work done behind the scenes to insure that our digital world did not fail – it was a humongous and costly effort. I don’t see a fraction of that level of attention being given to todays economic and planetary issues. So for now, people like us are learning to do it on our own, making our own preps and making an attempt to educate others, because as you say, it just feels different this time. It’s all so much – so much at once – and so difficult to understand from a pure logic point of view.

      Like you, I cling to the hope that this will pass, but I will be ready, just in case. (I often refer to the big “IF” which I hope does not happen.) S.W.

  9. This is one of the most interesting and stimulating posts I’ve read in some time, as it actually makes one consider the possibility that we have already succumbed to a TEOTWAWKI state. After all, when so many peoples lives starts to even marginally change from one way of doing things and/or thinking about those same things, due in large to outside influences which we have no control over, isn’t it fair to suggest that the end of the world as we know it has actually begun?

    “-Are the facts mixed with speculation. Or are facts mixed with a fiction that becomes the new reality? See what I mean about being fascinating?-”

    Interesting question, SW. Personally, I feel that people frequently sprinkle their own speculations in with the facts. It’s a distortion of the truth, big or small, but a distortion nonetheless. Sometimes those same distortions can cloud a fact to the point where (and this can be very dangerous) it (the fact) is seemingly no longer anywhere near as attractive or as appealing as the distortion.

    Sometimes I catch myself wondering if some aren’t actually hoping for a cataclysmic event or events to transpire, a real end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario, thereby validating everything they’ve worked so long and hard to prepare for. Now, in no way do I believe this type of self-fulfillment prophesier to be the norm, so please hold all the bashings. My point is this: there are some who would have us believe that EVERYTHING is bad, evil, counterproductive, a waste of time because all is soon to come crashing down. Us versus them; Boris and Natsha against Rocky and Bullwinkle; etc. 😉 THOSE sites that dwell on the negative but offer little advice in the way of a solution of any sort are the ones that I avoid at all costs. If everything is doomed then what the he.. are way prepping for anyway?

    My contention is now and will continue thusly: I hope to have a fighting chance at surviving IF the world goes to hell-in-a-handbasket even more than it already is, thus my ongoing preparations. But never (and I mean never) do I want to give up all hope that mankind cannot somehow miraculously right this seemingly sinking ship. Maybe I’m the eternal optimist, or perhaps just naive. But to hope for anything less would be giving up, and I cannot envision myself ever getting to that point.

    • Thank you for your comments, Rob. I very much agree that there are sites that promote doom and gloom with baited breath, hoping that bad things will happen so that they can prove themselves right. I learned early on in my journey to simply avoid these sites but I must admit, many are cleverly disguised and it is easily to get sucked in to their muck.

      You’ve heard the saying: “there isn’t a conspiracy I did not like”? Well, I think that attitude and mindset it out there and that it carries a loud voice. We need to recognize the differences between fact, fiction, speculation and prophecy. And as long as we can distinguish the differences in our own minds, there will be hope and optimism and a continued effort to learn from our mistakes and to move forward with the evolution of our society. S.W.

    • Rob, Sadly history shows us that for the most part these things happen as a way of righting the ship. I am sure that the citizens of the roman empire had the same feelings that we are starting to feel right now. I am sure that there was a fractional few that really saw through the smoke screen that the powerful elite had spread about the fact that the empire was doing just fine. Well it was doing just fine for them because they had a majority of the wealth at the time. But the Republic still fell. This is also true for most of classical civilization too. It is just part of a cycle that all civilizations go through. It is caused by elitism and an uneven distribution of wealth and power. For some reason we never seem to learn from history. My worst fear is that like those other civilizations that all of this goes very slowly and does not gain momentum like all the rest in history. In every case it has always been caused by the ruling class being given far to much power and not enough knowledge.

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