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Thread: Survival Vest

  1. #1
    Mike Mustache's Avatar
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    Survival Vest

    I’ve been putting together a vest for flying in Alaska and wanted to get some ideas of what others might include in the list of items carried. This is for the vest only. The required items for the aircraft will be stored in a waterproof bag and secured in the baggage compartment.

    I have a number of items already; multi tool, fire starting kit, hand warmers, a couple of protein bars, survival blanket. I plan to pick up some type of signaling device, pen flares maybe and a PLB. That brings up another question. What PLBs are folks using and why? I’ve checked out a couple. I like the ACR, just not sure which model yet.

    The vest I’m using I picked up at Bass Pro. Yep, it’s a fishing vest. I went to a shop that sold purpose made survival vests but they wanted over 300 clams for one. Granted it was fire resistant and had a built in floatation device. I’ll incorporate a PFD in my vest come spring.

    Any way, I just thought I’d reach out to the community.

    Mike

  2. #2

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    Should be able to find a stearns inflatable fishing vest off eBay for around 75 bucks. Same as the fancy ones just not nomex
    Last edited by md11freighter; 01-14-2019 at 11:18 AM.
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    Life Straw or equivalent.
    Spare reading glasses.

    I have a ResQLink+ just because that’s the one Aviation Consumer liked best at the time.
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    Havenít watched this in a while, but I remember thinking it was pretty thorough.

    https://youtu.be/wc_zTGvQLMc

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by CamTom12 View Post
    Havenít watched this in a while, but I remember thinking it was pretty thorough.

    https://youtu.be/wc_zTGvQLMc
    Not sure I could get in my cub, let alone get out in an amergency, with all that on. Good thought and thorough but a bunch of that would have to be in a bug-out bag for me. From my observation, if itís not comfortable it wonít get worn...
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Think carefully what you would actually NEED in the event you were left with nothing but the contents of your vest. Then carry only that stuff. It’s really easy to get carried away with “stuff” and wind up not wearing the vest cause it’s uncomfortable.

    I want THREE independent means to start a fire, not just one. A hank of parachute cord will help make a shelter. A piece of parachute material (two gores is plenty) offers good shelter, and isn’t too bulky, or one of the small “survival blankets.

    I don’t carry flares. They are momentary signals, meaning searchers have to be looking right at you to see them, and in daylight, they’re near useless. Instead, carry a signal mirror for daytime use and a good small flashlight and spare batteries for night. Remember, these days, searchers at night are likely to be wearing NVGs, so a flashlight will be seen a long ways off.

    some bags to carry water in and to fill with snow to melt in winter.

    Small compass. Best to stay with Aircraft, but you never know and a compass doesn’t take up much space.

    I like multi tools, but be careful of they’re blades.....ONLY use one with blade lock. I always carry a good, fairly large folding knife in a pocket anyway.....better knife and the multi tool serves other purposes.

    A PLB is a good device.....make it a 406 beacon, with GPS.

    A VERY basic first aid kit......think blood stopper. Not a full kit. The beacon will get help headed your way, don’t bleed out while you wait.

    Probably other stuff I’ll think of as soon as I close this. Remember, the key to survival is the survivors attitude and skills. Tools make the episode more comfortable

    MTV
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  7. #7
    Mike Mustache's Avatar
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    A couple of good threads talking about survival vest items. I should have looked here first.

    http://www.supercub.org/forum/showthread.php?52024-Provisions-for-Your-(My)-Survival-Vest


    http://www.supercub.org/forum/showth...Vest-Challenge

    StuBob; Extra reading glasses! Yes, great idea. Not for all of us but for those, like me, that are starting to find that items up close are starting to grow a little fuzziness to them. A pair of reading glasses clears it right up.
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    Needed item? A pack to carry the vest in, because most guys won't wear it. Been talked about for as long as I've been flying. I see vests on float pilots. Almost never on wheel pilots. In 25 years I can count the number of wheel pilots wearing survival vests on one hand.
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    Don't forget some items to help you stay alive long enough to use the survival kit items. A good seat belt cutter, tourniquet , and a quick clot/ israeli bandage accessible from your seat should be high on your list of items. A small chest pack like those from hill people gear are nice for immediate need items and aren't bulky. After wearing a vest for 20 + years I have always found them uncomfortable and bulky. Just my 2 cents!

    Greg

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    A couple of Trojans are easy to carry water in when in side a sock. And double as protection for what a bear is gonna do to ya before he eats you
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    This flashlight has a strobe -

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Tactical-Flashlight-50000LM-Power-Torch-T6-LED-Zoomable-Lamp-18650BTY-Charger-US/233094316942?hash=item364581038e:m:mkm0Y7Aot51GeQc q9da_FhA:rk:1f:0


    A decent size lightweight poncho-

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LP03FG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08__o00_s00?ie=UTF8&ps c=1


    Water filter- I bought one for my vest but I regret it. I can take antibiotics for giardia and leptospirosis when I get home.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006QF3TW4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08__o00_s00?ie=UTF8&ps c=1


    paracord-

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ACL4QI4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08__o00_s01?ie=UTF8&ps c=1


    wire saws-

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FO9V0OG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08__o00_s02?ie=UTF8&ps c=1


    Bare bones aviation handheld radio. I don't need to shoot ILS approaches with a handheld radio. I have a ResQLink PLB too but would keep it in a pack because of the weight of both of them together..

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0762RF88S/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04__o00_s00?ie=UTF8&ps c=1


    Space blankets - you need more than one, because space blankets suck.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002YLF5YE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08__o00_s01?ie=UTF8&ps c=1


    Fishing vest with just mesh and no pockets in back - the vest has to be comfortable or I won't wear it.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0796LWHF2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09__o00_s00?ie=UTF8&ps c=1


    and about 5 of these;

    https://www.amazon.com/Lighter-Classic-Full-Size-Piece/dp/B00IMVL206/ref=sr_1_3?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1547495534&sr=1-3&keywords=cigarette+lighters


    And a leatherman, of course.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    But a good first aid kit is worth more than all of this together. Except the lighters..
    Last edited by Tennessee; 01-15-2019 at 06:28 AM.
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  12. #12
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    ...I see vests on float pilots. Almost never on wheel pilots.....
    And I'll bet most of those float pilot vests are float coats, worn for flotation - not for carrying survival items.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    And I'll bet most of those float pilot vests are float coats, worn for flotation - not for carrying survival items.
    Not necessarily. Bear in mind that in a seaplane, the odds of an accident resulting in you losing your “survival gear”, (ie: the stuff in the baggage compartment) is MUCH higher than that of a landplane. Most seaplane accidents happen in water, and upside down is a frequent result.

    MTV
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    Having come to a rapid stop once (unlike others who are overachievers) I wanted to suggest that we pay close attention to what you put under your seat belt and shoulder harness. I wacked a tree at maybe 15 mph and sustained harness bruises that make me cringe when I see something like the buckle shown in the vest above ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1) which could/would do significant damage in the event the shoulder harness were ever called upon to do their job and keep your face out of the panel.
    Last edited by OLDCROWE; 01-15-2019 at 12:44 PM.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  15. #15
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDCROWE View Post
    Having come to a rapid stop once (unlike others who are overachievers) I wanted to suggest that we pay close attention to what you put under your seat belt and shoulder harness. I wacked a tree at maybe 15 mph and sustained harness bruises that make me cringe when I see something like the buckle shown in the vest above ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1) which could/would do significant damage in the event the shoulder harness were ever called upon to do their job and keep your face out of the panel.
    Excellent point, Kirby. And, as I said before, it's pretty easy to over do it and really load a vest up with "stuff". I stick to the basics in my vest and I too have come to a fairly rapid deceleration, without further damage, short of some strap rash.

    MTV

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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDCROWE View Post
    Having come to a rapid stop once (unlike others who are overachievers) I wanted to suggest that we pay close attention to what you put under your seat belt and shoulder harness. I wacked a tree at maybe 15 mph and sustained harness bruises that make me cringe when I see something like the buckle shown in the vest above ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1) which could/would do significant damage in the event the shoulder harness were ever called upon to do their job and keep your face out of the panel.
    This would be a problem with just about any vest though. It should be an easy matter to adjust the straps to fit, then remove the buckle, cut the straps to the right length and join the two ends together with a sewing machine. A good seamstress could probably do it for 5 bucks or so.
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  17. #17
    Mike Mustache's Avatar
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    The vest needs to remain adjustable for what a person might be wearing underneath. Summertime maybe a single thin shirt but in winter it may need to fit over a heavy coat. Or two vests......

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Yes, two vests, OR just stow the stuff that's in the vest in summer in the pockets of your winter gear. Again, shouldn't be so much stuff that you couldn't stow it in pockets.

    MTV

  19. #19
    CamTom12's Avatar
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    Or wear the vest under your jacket in the winter?

  20. #20
    Mike Mustache's Avatar
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    I guess you could wear it under a coat. Shouldn’t really need any of the items until you find yourself in an unintended “rapid deceleration” to quote MTV. It might be a bit tough to get to them until you get the coat off, and in most of the A/C we fly that would require getting out of the plane. Big guy in a big coat maybe, little guy in a big coat maybe not a problem to take it off inside. Depending on the vest, most front pockets can be accessed by just opening the coat and reaching in, but I have a large back pocket and some on the sides. I guess you do what you can with what you have in the situation that you’re in.

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    Last edited by Tennessee; 01-15-2019 at 06:54 PM.

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    Mike Mustache's Avatar
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    Hey now you're talking! I like that the sleeves and the hood can be removed. Anyone have first hand experience with this coat?

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    Garmin Mini InReach with tracking subscription. Or SPOT Gen 3. In that order. I’d want one of those in my vest. Those take up just one small pocket and odds are they’re better then an ELT. Course In Reach or SPOT won’t work if you’re dead, which makes items in your vest not helpful either. (Tracking though, would narrow the search down some).
    I want some hard candy in a pocket too. Bear country? Yep, fire power. (Kinda bulky but hey).
    And some fish hooks and line just in case it’s looks like “a long haul”.
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    Toilet paper and bug spray/ net.Neosporin.
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    Fire starter (lighter and waterproof matches), handheld radio w/fully charged battery in zip lock bag, bug hood and a tinfoil blanket. Other than my pilots licence/booklet and a whistle, not much else stuffed in the pockets or the old Mustang trout fishing vest isn't going to float me to shore. I always have a lock blade in my pocket. If I can actually swim / walk back to the airplane there's survival rations, hatchet, skinning knife, flare gun, fishing rod/tackle and rifle in the plane.

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    Here's another one. Arctix is a good brand. This has 10 pockets, and it's cheaper than the Orvis.

    https://www.amazon.com/Arctix-Performance-Tundra-Visibility-X-Large/dp/B00V9XMFCI/ref=pd_ybh_a_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=D3P0ZN7 QA36MGSCKGCHE

    Click image for larger version. 

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  27. #27
    cubflier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee View Post
    Here's another one. Arctix is a good brand. This has 10 pockets, and it's cheaper than the Orvis.

    https://www.amazon.com/Arctix-Performance-Tundra-Visibility-X-Large/dp/B00V9XMFCI/ref=pd_ybh_a_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=D3P0ZN7 QA36MGSCKGCHE

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    If nothing else, you will look good.

    Good luck,

    Jerry
    If it looks smooth...it might be

    If it looks rough...it is!!
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  28. #28

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    I choose my jacket outer layer based on the performance as a piece of clothing since that jacket is probably the most important piece of "survival gear" on me. That has nothing to do with pockets. Dress like you'll have to walk home. That's 75% of the survival gear package right there. Assuming you have communicated your position, and that's the other 25%.

    Personally? When I winter fly I dress the same as I would to go snowmachining. My reason has to do with surviving being wet, injured, and out in the cold. Been there, done that. And I have walked home, too. More than once.
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  29. #29
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoddyM View Post
    Garmin Mini InReach with tracking subscription. Or SPOT Gen 3. In that order. I’d want one of those in my vest. Those take up just one small pocket and odds are they’re better then an ELT. Course In Reach or SPOT won’t work if you’re dead, which makes items in your vest not helpful either. (Tracking though, would narrow the search down some).
    I want some hard candy in a pocket too. Bear country? Yep, fire power. (Kinda bulky but hey).
    And some fish hooks and line just in case it’s looks like “a long haul”.
    My InReach resides on top of the glare shield, attached with Velcro. With it there, it can see satellites and transmit track points. Can they do the same in a jacket pocket? I’ve always assumed they need a view of the sky.

    That provides tracking to the scene of the “arrival. Just prior to touch, I punch the “on” button on my 406 ELT. Park the plane, and if I’m awake, I can use the InReach to communicate. If not, the combination of InReach track and 406 ELT should do the job.

    MTV
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  30. #30
    mvivion's Avatar
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    And, yes, I’ve gone through this very scenario.

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    MTV
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  31. #31
    55-PA18A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    I choose my jacket outer layer based on the performance as a piece of clothing since that jacket is probably the most important piece of "survival gear" on me. That has nothing to do with pockets. Dress like you'll have to walk home. That's 75% of the survival gear package right there. Assuming you have communicated your position, and that's the other 25%.

    Personally? When I winter fly I dress the same as I would to go snowmachining. My reason has to do with surviving being wet, injured, and out in the cold. Been there, done that. And I have walked home, too. More than once.
    I agree with this.

    I have two different vests. One for summer when on floats, a float vest with several types of fire starter, EPIRB, bug head net, insect repellent, water filter straw, several paper towels sealed in plastic (better than TP, works as fire tinder, and bandage), signal mirror, flash light, and probably a couple granola or candy bars. I should add reading glasses. I have another float vest with gear for a passenger to wear. The survival/camping gear that stays in the back would be enough to sit tight for quite a while,...but that doesn't count.

    The other is an blaze orange cotton duck surveyor's vest bought from Forestry Suppliers. That's for wheel or ski flying. Same stuff, though it's larger and I add a blaze orange knit cap in one of the side pockets, and an extra large, heavy duty extra large garbage bag (again bright orange,...don't remember where I got that), in the back pouch. Probably a few more candy bars.

    Neither are comfortable to wear, but what about flying a Cub IS comfortable? Most of my flying the past couple years has been down in Indiana, so I have to admit I haven't been wearing the orange vest. If I have an unplanned landing, if able, I'll just walk to the nearest farm house. But I still wear work boots, jeans, shirt/jacket, etc. I really cringe when I see photos of pilots wearing shorts and sneakers.

    Jim

  32. #32
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Modern day pilots crack me up the way they dress even for Winter flying..... The first two things I would never leave without when flying over remote country is a lightweight axe, and snowshoes....... The next is proper clothing. How we all dressed 40 years ago, looks odd to the modern "cool kat"
    Standing around the airport lounge, in his chinos and oxford shirt wearing that Orvis "Ultimate" jacket........
    However 30 mins outside in -10 below with a 15kt wind will fold that crowd up in a hurry! There has been plenty of guys crash Cubs in cold weather and get pined in the plane or hurt too bad to get out, Bunny Boots saved their foot from freezing, the guys with their $400 Goretex hiking boots get theirs amputated. An Inreach will get help on the way BUT when the worst happens just before dark and its way below ZERO then YOU are the survival vest.......and Warm n Dry are the two big ones. It is common in Alaska for guides to have their sleeping bag be the cushion in the front seat, I still do. The old trapper that spends all day outside all winter, used to dress in felt boot pacs,wool socks, insulated underwear, WOOL pants and shirts, Down Parker. He can survive brutal weather, and keep himself alive till help arrives or walk out if he isnt hurt. The "Sporty Pilot" look
    wont save you. But a Hudson Bay axe, a Bic lighter and your sleeping bag probably will.
    E

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  33. #33

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    I hang my vest over my seat back and wear running shoes. I sure hope you guys find me quick!

  34. #34

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    Floats or skis, my missions are over very remote country. If the 'plane goes upside down in the water SOP is to swim to shore right f****n now. No use clinging to a float, nobody is coming to rescue us before we secumb to hypothermia. All we will have is what's in the survival vest and in the floating "bug-out bag" beside my seat.

    Choose carefully!
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  35. #35
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboBeaver View Post
    Modern day pilots crack me up the way they dress even for Winter flying..... The first two things I would never leave without when flying over remote country is a lightweight axe, and snowshoes....... The next is proper clothing. How we all dressed 40 years ago, looks odd to the modern "cool kat"
    Standing around the airport lounge, in his chinos and oxford shirt wearing that Orvis "Ultimate" jacket........
    However 30 mins outside in -10 below with a 15kt wind will fold that crowd up in a hurry! There has been plenty of guys crash Cubs in cold weather and get pined in the plane or hurt too bad to get out, Bunny Boots saved their foot from freezing, the guys with their $400 Goretex hiking boots get theirs amputated. An Inreach will get help on the way BUT when the worst happens just before dark and its way below ZERO then YOU are the survival vest.......and Warm n Dry are the two big ones. It is common in Alaska for guides to have their sleeping bag be the cushion in the front seat, I still do. The old trapper that spends all day outside all winter, used to dress in felt boot pacs,wool socks, insulated underwear, WOOL pants and shirts, Down Parker. He can survive brutal weather, and keep himself alive till help arrives or walk out if he isnt hurt. The "Sporty Pilot" look
    wont save you. But a Hudson Bay axe, a Bic lighter and your sleeping bag probably will.
    E

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    I agree. Even in most parts of the lower 48, there are lots of places where, if you were to crash, it could be a long wait for assistance. My agency's policy was that everyone flew wearing clothing which would permit them to survive in the environment over which the flight took place. The key word being WEARING. That is key to survival. The vest is just the few additional items which will make survival that much simpler and safer.

    MTV
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  36. #36
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    I wear the Switlik X-back in the summer......

    I’m from Mississippi and live in Minnesota so.......I don’t fly in the winter....

    All kidding aside, I asked a MN DNR pilot once “what do you wear and carry in the winter?” his response was “Dress like you will need to walk home and carry what you would need if it will take 2 days to get there”

    Good advice and simple.
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