Harness

  1. The Ultimate Tree Care Equipment Guide

    The tree care industry is an important part of our world. Arborists and other tree care professionals dedicate their lives to keeping people and homes safe, planting trees, and caring for trees to allow them to thrive and preserve nature for the next generation. But that doesn’t mean that tree care is a “walk in the park”. It’s a dangerous job and the equipment that tree care professionals use can be the difference between a job well done and a terrible or even fatal accident. This week our Gear Experts® are going to outline the must-have equipment for every tree care professional.

    Harness


     

    Spending all day climbing trees is by no means easy. Having a comfortable harness can help make the job a little bit easier, though. A harness is one of the most important gear choices you will make. Not only will you be wearing it for most of the day, but it is where all of your other gear comes together to keep you safe and productive on the job. Some things to look for when choosing your tree care harness include padding, back support, D-rings and connection loops, and shoulder straps.

    Padding can truly be the difference between comfort and misery. Having padding strategically placed in areas like leg supports and shoulder straps can have a huge impact on productivity. Back supports can come in handy, too. Working at-height isn’t exactly gentle on the back. A high-quality back support helps you push through to get the job done. Depending on what type of work you will be doing, how much gear you need to take with you, and whether you need additional support, additional D-rings, connection points, and shoulder straps are all things to consider.

    Pulleys


     

    Pulleys can be useful for a variety of tree care projects. The type of pulley and the capabilities that it has will depend on what you are trying to accomplish. However, some things to look for when picking a pulley will include the weight, max rope size, sheave, and if it is a single or double pulley.

    When you are spending all day climbing trees, the last thing you want to have to deal with is a bunch of heavy equipment weighing you down and tiring you out. If you don’t need a huge pulley that is made of a heavy material saving the weight will be well worth it in the long run. Now imagine getting to the job site, getting everything set up, and realizing that the pulley you need to complete the job doesn’t work with the rope you brought. That is why it is important to consider max rope size when selecting a pulley.

    The sheave is the grooved wheel that is mounted inside the pulley that holds the rope in place. A sheave spins on an axle or bearing inside the frame of the pulley. The reason why it is important to pay attention to the sheave is that they come in a number of different shapes which are designed for different styles of ropes and wires. Whether or not the pulley is a single or double just depends on what you will be using the pulley for.

    Rope, Rope Devices, and Hitch Cords


     

    Pulleys and a harness aren’t very effective without rope. Not only does rope protect you from hitting the ground in the event of a fall, but it can also serve a range of other purposes. Those purposes can be amplified with rope devices and accessories. Things like ascenders, fall arresters, throw bags, rigging plates, swivels, and a whole slew of different devices can help you achieve your rope’s full potential.

    Saws


     

    A saw (whether handheld or mechanical) is pretty much required when it comes to tree care because cutting down or trimming a tree with your bare hands isn’t easy (trust us… we tried). The type of saw that will be best for the job will depend on what you are doing. For example, if you are pruning trees, a hand saw might be more effective. On the flipside, if you are cutting at the base of the tree, a chainsaw will be more effective.

    If you’ve got questions about tree care or finding the right equipment to get the job done, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any equipment is used.

    Click here to see our full selection of tree care gear

    Arborist Saddle Comparison: The Video


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    If you haven’t already checked out Gear Up with Gear Experts, our podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction, it is available for download! You can find it on all major podcast listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, + your favorite podcatcher of choice. And, you can head on over to gearexperts.com to follow us on social media, check out our detailed show notes, and sign up for updates.

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  2. Harness Inspection 101

    Whether you are in telecom, wind, solar, or tree care, construction, or any other at-height industry, the harness you wear is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your arsenal. Your harness is the apex of all your equipment. It is where everything converges, and where the perfect harmony of fall protection meets to ensure your safety on the job site. This week, our Gear Experts® are going to discuss how to properly inspect a harness.

    Harness Inspection


     

    There’s an old saying that states that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. That saying goes far beyond chains – and in the context of this blog post, it is also true for fall protection. As we said in the opening of this post, your harness is an integral part of your fall protection setup. But no harness will last forever, and sometimes unforeseen events can cause the harness to need to be replaced. That’s where harness inspection comes in.

    Harness inspection is a pretty simple concept – it is the act of reviewing your harness before climbing to ensure that the harness will remain functioning both while you climb and in the event of a fall. The actual act of inspecting the harness can have some mild variance depending on the construction of the harness. The main things to consider are what type of buckle system (pass through, tongue buckle, or quick connect) the harness has and whether it has a waist belt or not.

    Before you start your inspection, we highly recommend having a harness inspection form. A harness inspection form will help you keep records of when you inspected the harness as well as information like the serial number, date of first use, who inspected it, and any other notes about the inspection. We have a free downloadable harness inspection for in our Knowledge Base. Click here for your free copy of the form.

    What to Inspect


     

    Once you start the inspection, what exactly should you inspect?

    Labels & Markings

    The first thing to inspect is the labels and markings. Are all the labels intact? Do you have all the appropriate ANSI, OSHA, & CSA markings required? What is the date of first use? Has an impact indicator (sign of deployment) been triggered?

    Hardware

    Next, we want to start looking at the harness hardware. What condition are the shoulder adjustment buckles in? What about the leg and waist buckles? What about the other hardware the harness features? The D-rings should be closely inspected as well (the dorsal, side, shoulder, and/or sternal). Lastly, is any of the hardware corroded, pitting, or nicked?

    Webbing & Stitching

    The final piece of the puzzle is to inspect the webbing and stitching. What condition are the shoulder, chest, leg, and back straps in? Does the harness have any cuts, burns, or holes? Is there any paint contamination? What about excessive wear, heat corrosion, or UV damage? How is the stitching and is it affected by any of the above checks?

    Retiring a Harness


     

    The purpose of inspecting a harness is to make sure that the harness can handle the job it was meant to do. If the harness fails inspection that means it is not in compliance with ANSI requirements and should be retired and replaced immediately.

    If you’ve got questions about harness inspection, or if your harness has failed inspection and you’re looking for something new, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to download your free harness inspection form from our Knowledge Base

    Click here to access our full selection of inspection forms

    Click here to see our full selection of fall protection harnesses

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any Fall Protection Equipment is used.

    Fall Protection Harnesses: The Playlist


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    We're also proud to announce Gear Up with Gear Experts® - A podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction. Gear Up with Gear Experts® is available via your podcast listening platform of choice and in each episode, the hosts (Alex Giddings & John Medina) bring in a gear expert or industry leader to talk about gear, gear safety, tips, and tricks. To find out more about the show and sign up for alerts, head on over to gearexperts.com.

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  3. Must-Haves: Tower Climber Edition

    As a tower climber there is a ton of different gear to choose from and sometimes weeding through everything can take way too much time. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down the must-have gear you need to get the job done and stay safe.

    The Gear


     

    So, what are the essentials needed for tower climbers?

    Harness 

    Let’s start with the most obvious: a harness. Your harness is the focal point of all your gear, but which harness is the best? Well, that depends on some factors about what job you will be doing. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. You can click here to check out our Ultimate Fall Protection Harness Buying Guide for details on how to pick the right harness for you.

    Helmet

    The next intricate piece is a helmet. Protecting your dome is important and picking the right helmet ensures that your noggin will go uncracked. Picking the right helmet involves a little bit of knowledge about the job at hand. Check out our Safety Helmets 101 blog post where we take you through the what’s what when it comes to keeping your noodle safe. You can also download our free Safety Helmets 101 pdf from our Knowledge Base.

    Twin Leg Lanyard

    Once you’ve got your harness and helmet covered, it’s time to look at a shock absorbing lanyard. Twin leg lanyards are diverse. They come in a range of styles and lengths for a range of specific applications (like foot level tie off or tie-back) and with a ton of different connection point options.

    Cable Safety Sleeve (Cable Grab)

    Chances are, a tower you encounter will have a cable climb system which means you will need a way to securely connect your harness to that system. In fact, nearly every telecom tower in North America has a cable climb system of some sort. So, your gear list isn’t complete without a cable grab. While the basic function of cable grabs are pretty much the same – there are subtle differences in each.

    Pass-Through Sling (Pass-Through Web Anchor)

    Sometimes you will run into a situation where you need to make your own anchorage point. Having a pass-through anchor in your gear list will give you the ability to produce that anchorage point.

    Positioning Lanyard

    You’ve made it to your destination on the tower, but now you can’t quite work where you need to because the cable climb system isn’t in the right spot and you need both of your hands to work. That’s where a positioning lanyard comes in. Using your twin leg lanyard to move safely to your working location you can then position yourself and work handsfree with your positioning lanyard.

    Bolt Bag

    You’ve only got two hands (us too, unfortunately) which means that carrying nuts, bolts, and small tools up the tower while your climbing isn’t possible. That’s why a bolt bag is on our must-haves list.

    Carabiner

    At least one carabiner will make your life and the job so much easier. We recommend at least two typically, but one will get you by. Carabiners have a ton of different applications but using one to connect your bolt bag to your harness isn’t a bad idea. Find out more about carabiner gates with our free downloadable pdf from our knowledge base.

    Separator Bar (Spreader Bar)

    Sitting or leaning while positioned on the tower can place a lot of pressure on your waist and hips. It’s hard on your body and uncomfortable. Especially if you’re in that position for an extended amount of time. Using a separator spreader bar helps relieve that pressure and keep you feeling great.

    RF Monitor

    Not all dangers can be seen with the human eye and RF frequencies are one of them. Ensuring that you are not overexposed to RF waves is extremely important to your safety and the FieldSENSE 2.0 Personal RF Monitor has you covered. For more information on the FieldSENSE RF Monitor check out our blog post.

    Duffle Bag

    You’re loaded up with all the must-have gear for climbing the tower, but now you’ve got one little problem – you can’t carry it all. Did we mention having 2 hands isn’t enough already? A duffle bag fixes that problem. Fit all your gear neatly organized in one single, easy to transport duffle bag.

    All-In-One Solution


     

    We’ve covered a lot of information in this blog post – and sifting through all of the different options for each of the must-have pieces of gear takes time. Because we know that your time is precious our Gear Experts® have put together an Essential Tower Climbing Kit that includes all of the equipment we discussed in this blog post (except for the RF Monitor). It also includes a variety of upgradable options (like the RF Monitor).

    We have a variety of different kits assembled by our Gear Experts® for a range of different applications.

    Need help finding the perfect kit? Click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our full selection of tower climbing gear

    Click here to see our Essential Tower Climbing Kit

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any equipment is used.

    Tower Climbing Kits: Video Edition



     

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  4. Tower Climbing Kit Buying Guide

    One of the worst things about shopping for your crew or the new person that is starting next week is having to flip through the pages of a catalog or thousands of web pages to find the gear they need to get the job done. Our Gear Experts® have created tower climbing kits that save you cash and make your job of buying a range of equipment faster and easier. Apart from saving you cash and time, these kits have a lot more to offer.

    What’s the benefit?


     

    Kits allow your gear to be consistent from climber to climber and crew to crew. If all the tower crews in your company are using the same gear it makes working easier. There is no confusion about how one piece of gear may differ from another. For example, if all your rescue kits were the same from one crew to the next, it would completely reduce the risk of someone getting confused during high-stress events, like a rescue.

    What kind of kits are available?


     

    We have a wide range of tower climbing kits that include everything needed for a climber to work safely. The actual components of the kits vary depending on each kit and your preferences.

    We also have a range of other kits available. We offer rescue kits, wind energy kitssolar industry kits, PPE kits, tool kits, and even lifting & rigging kits.

    What do tower climbing kits come with?


     

    What the kits include depends on the kit you choose and if you want add-on or upgrade items. However, the tower climbing kits all come with the standard equipment needed for a climber to work safely. Our kits all include a harness, a lanyard, and carabiners. Many of our kits also come with bolt bags, gloves, spreader bars, safety glasses, helmets, and cable safety sleeves.

    What if I need a custom kit?


     

    If our available kits don’t meet your needs don’t worry, they are fully customizable. Simply contact one of our Gear Experts® and we can help you build exactly what you need. Our state of the art account management system allows us to create custom kits, built specifically to suit your needs. The benefit of this type of system is that next time you call in; you have the same pricing and the same products every time. You don’t have to go through countless emails and talk to 5 different people to make sure that you are getting the exact same kit you got last time because we do that for you.

    Have more questions about kits, or need to customize the perfect kit for your team? Click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    →Click here to see our selection of tower climbing kits

    →Click here to see our full selection of kits

    Custom Tower Climbing Kits


     

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  5. The Ultimate Fall Protection Harness Buying Guide

    So, you need to buy a new climbing harness, but you’re not quite sure where to start. We understand. There are a million different options and sometimes too many choices can be overwhelming. At GME we pride ourselves in being your Gear Experts® and this week we are outlining all of the information you need to make an informed decision about what harness you need to get the job done and stay safe.

    Application


     

    The first thing you want to do is narrow down the application that you need the harness for. This is most likely the easiest step of the buying process because your job will be specific. Some of the applications you will need a fall protection harness for are:

    Tower Climbing
    • Tree Care (Aborist)
    • Solar Energy
    • Wind Energy
    • Construction

    Once you have the application narrowed down you then need to look at what type of specific job you are doing that may require specialized equipment. Specialty equipment includes:

    • Welding
    • Rope Access
    • Rescue

    Material


     

    Now it’s time to choose what kind of material the hardware (d-rings) is made of. Your two main options are steel and aluminum. Steel hardware is cheaper but also heavier. This can be a negative when you need to keep the total weight you are carrying below a certain limit (like when you are close to the weight limit of a lanyard or SRL).

    Aluminum, on the other hand, is more expensive but much lighter. There is a common misconception that aluminum is not as strong as steel, but the truth is that the aluminum parts have to pass the same tests that the steel parts do. While weight is one big determining factor about which harnesses to choose, compatibility is another one.

     

    D-Rings, Connection Points, and Sizing


     

    Now let’s look at some of the harness details that will affect your decision. How many D-Rings do you need? Do you need other connection points? What size is going to fit best? Well, we are here to help you answer all of these questions.

    Harnesses range from 1 to 6 D-Rings depending on your needs. For example, if you want to have the ability to position yourself with a positioning lanyard you will want a D-ring on each hip. Traditionally a tower climbing harness will have 6 D-rings whereas a construction harness will have between 1 and 3 D-rings.

    If you are unsure of how many D-Rings would be right for you, contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    You also want to consider additional connection points. Lanyard keepers allow you to conveniently hold your lanyards when they’re not in use while preventing them from swinging around or blowing in the wind. Keep in mind that additional accessory connection points are meant to be used for extra equipment not as fall protection points. This means that you should not use them to tie yourself off. It also means that they don’t have to be steel or aluminum. If weight is part of the equation many harnesses have connection points that are made of lighter materials.

    This Petzl Volt Fall Arrest and Work Positioning Harness features sternal attachment points made from stiff webbing.

    Sizing for a harness is similar to clothing – it’s not always as easy as you would hope. Each harness and each manufacturer have different sizing formats. Most USA manufacturers, like DBI Sala and Elk River, have traditional sizes of S, M, L, & XL. However, a sizing chart should still be used to make sure that you will fit the harness you choose. Some of the international suppliers, like Petzl, use a different sizing structure (0, 1, & 2). We have sizing charts for most harnesses that we carry, but if you need more information please contact us and we will help you find the right fit.

    We would also like to mention what we like to call “winter sizing”. Having a snug harness is extremely important. And, making sure the harness fits properly is key to your safety. It is also beneficial to try and make sure that the harness you choose can increase in size by around 4 inches. This 4 inch increase will cover the extra clothing that you will wear during the winter months.

    Proper donning of a safety harness is also critical. Check out this YouTube video about how to properly don a harness.

     

     

    Connection Points

    There are three types of connection points when looking at harnesses. All connection points have the same function, to secure the harness to your body, and all of them meet the same requirements. What type of connection point you choose will be based on personal preference, convenience level, and price point. The three types of connections are:

    1. Tongue buckle;
    2. Pass-through buckle; and
    3. Quick Connect (QC) buckle

     

    Tongue Buckle

     

    The tongue buckle is similar to the buckle system on a belt for your pants. There is a strap with grommets and you adjust the belt by pulling more material through the buckle and securing it in place with the prong. This is typically a cost-effective option when looking at your harness. But, keep in mind that while it is cost effective it may not be time effective. Having to manually work with the straps can increase the amount of time it takes you to gear up. Some people prefer tongue buckle because the straps do not loosen throughout the workday.

    This WestFall Pro Ascend Tower Climbing Harness features tongue buckle leg straps.

     

     

     

    Pass-through Buckle

     

     

    The pass-through buckle also referred to as a parachute buckle, is a pretty simple system. There are two pieces of metal on each end of the buckle. The smaller end passes through the larger end and secures into place to attach the harness to your body. This type of connection point is the most economical connection between the three. It is typically found on many entry-level harnesses.

    This DBI Sala Delta Vest-Style Harness features a pass-through chest buckle.

     

    Quick Connect Buckle

     

     

    The Quick Connect buckle is the easiest and most efficient buckling system. It is similar to the way a seat belt works in a car. There is one end with a “tongued” edge and another with a clip. The tongue simply locks into the clip and you are ready for action. Many people prefer this type of connection point because it takes almost no time to ensure that your harness is securely attached to your body.

    This Elk River Raven Tower Harness features a quick connect chest connection and a tongue buckle belt for seat attachment.

     

     

     

    Certifications


     

    When looking at full body harnesses it is important to keep in mind the certifications you need them to meet. If you are working in the United States you will need a harness that meets ANSI Z359.11-2014. ANSI Z359.11-2014 outlines the safety requirements for a full body harness. If you are working in Canada you will need a harness that meets the CSA requirements. Your CSA harness will need to meet the CSA Z259.10-12 Full Body Harness Standard. A full breakdown of these standards is beyond the scope of this blog post, but be sure to check back because we will cover it in another post. Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel to get notified when we break down the ANSI Z359.11 and CSA Z259.10-12 standard.

    Looking for more information about the standards? Give one of our Gear Experts® a call and as always Climb Higher®!

    Click here to view our full selection of safety harnesses.

     

    Get Social


     

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    Raven Tower Harness


     

    Want to learn more about the Raven Tower Harness from Elk River? Check out this YouTube Video

     

  6. 4th of July Elk River Sale

    We’ve got an All-American Sale going, folks. Now through July 17th, get 15% off all Elk River gear! Just use promo code “ELKRIVER15OFF” at checkout.

    Elk River 4th of July Sale

    Elk River manufacturers all of their gear right here in the USA. So there’s no better time to start this sale than the week of the 4th of July! From their harnesses and lanyards to their anchors and tool pouches, everything they make is proudly produced in the land of Red, White and Blue.

     

    Their Peregrine RAS Platinum Tower Climbing Harness is super lightweight, and has an awesome blackout look.

     

    Also popular for its value, is the EagleTower LE Tower Climbing Harness. It has 6 steel D-Rings, plus a very comfortable seat and accessory loops for versatility.

     

    Be sure to check out our Elk River category to see all their great products, and don’t forget to enter ELKRIVER15OFF at checkout to get your savings… for America.

  7. Why Fit is Important in a Harness

    Westfall Harness Photo - GME SupplyIt doesn’t matter if you have a 1 or a 6 d-ring harness. Construction, Tower, Oil and Gas, or even a rock climbing sport harness... If your harness doesn’t fit correctly, you’re gonna have a bad time.

     

    An ill-fitting harness isn’t just unsafe; it’s probably uncomfortable as well. If you’re wearing your harness correctly, you really shouldn’t even notice that it’s there after a while. You get used to it. If you have a harness that’s digging in, pinching, or rubbing in a certain area, there’s a good chance you’re wearing it wrong.

     

    The most common problem with harness fit that we see is the chest strap. A lot of climbers wear it too low. It should fit straight across your chest, nipple to nipple. If it’s too low, you could roll out of the harness when your shoulder strap slips. Too high and it’ll ride up under your chin and either choke you or give you a nasty cut.

     

    Next big issue is the leg straps. You REALLY want these to be tight on your legs. Wearing them loose might seem like it gives you more room to move around, but in the event of a fall.. BAD THINGS HAPPEN! If your leg straps are tight, during a fall they’ll grab onto your legs and catch the majority of the weight. If they’re loose, they’ll slide up your legs, and whatever they hit will absorb the energy. If you know… what we mean. Yeah… not good!

     

    Check out our How to Don and Fit Your Harness video to see a step-by-step of putting on and properly adjusting your harness.

     

     

    Even if you’ve been working in your harness for a while, it’d be worth a once-over to make sure it’s still fitting like it was designed to.  If you have any other questions about harness fit, or aren’t sure what size harness you need, give us a call or chat us online!

  8. Elk River Peregrine Platinum Tower Harnesses

    Elk River’s Peregrine Tower Harness Series has all of the bells and whistles you could need in a tower harness. A few different harnesses make up the Peregrine line.

     

     

    The Peregrine Platinum is one of the lightest harnesses on the market. This six D-Ring harness has a standup aluminum D-ring on the back, plus two aluminum D-rings on the hips and seat. The smaller chest attachment point is steel. Breathable padding on back, shoulders and waist keep you cool and comfortable. The Peregrine Platinum has a quick-connect chest and tongue buckle waist. Choose between quick connect or tongue buckle leg straps.

     

    The Elk River 67630 Peregrine Platinum RAS has all of the great features of the Peregrine Platinum, but with an adjustable, removable seat. This popular harness has exceptional fit, and is ideal for all day comfort. See the Peregine Platinum RAS here.

  9. WestFall Professional

    WestFall Professional’s gear is designed to meet and exceed the most stringent of industry standards. Their Ascend Tower Harness, for instance, stands toe-to-toe with some of the most popular harnesses on the market, at a fraction of the price. What if I told you, you can get a tricked out, aluminum harness for the cost of a basic steel belt from other brands? Is that something you might be interested in?

     

     

    Beyond their harnesses, they bring a nice selection of hardware to the safety table. They have carabiners in many shapes and styles, all ANSI rated of course. Oh, you need a spreader bar or positioning kit to go on your shiny new Ascend? Westfall can save you some cash on that as well. But don’t worry… it’s just as functional and safe as others on the market.

    Westfall Capstan Hitch Mount - GME Supply 

    Ever heard of Weld-Lok Technology? WestFall Pro uses it to make their capstan mount even stronger than standard straight mounts. This puppy is designed and made in the USA and it’s load rated at 1,000 lbs.

     

    Guide your internet here to see everything from WestFall Professional, and if you have any other questions give us a call or chat us online.

  10. Miller Fall Protection

    Miller Fall Protection has been in the at-height solutions game for over 65 years. They provide harnesses, anchorage, ladder climbing systems, confined space and rescue devices, fall protection training, and engineered solutions to keep workers safe.

     

     

    Their AirCore line of harnesses are designed to keep you cool and comfortable. They take all of the bulky, stuffy padding that many harnesses use and throw it out. Miller believes that comfort comes from being lightweight, and breathable. Because they have reduced padding, the harnesses bring the airflow to reduce heat and moisture. The Tower Climbing Harness has quick connect chest and leg straps and a removable tongue-buckle belt. Check out our video above to see more.

     

    The Manyard series of shock-absorbing lanyards are also popular. They have version which have internal shock absorbers, as well as SofStop Shock Absorbers. They’re available in a variety of connection types, choose from snap hooks and carabiners to rebar hooks in steel and aluminum. They’re also available in both single and twin leg styles.

     

    Miller has a bunch of other products to help keep you safe. Check out all of them here, and if you don’t see what you need, give us a call and we can find it for you.

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