TSA Expanding Use of Explosive Trace Detection

March 5, 2010 on 1:17 pm | In ThereArePlaces.com, air travel, air travel security, things travelers need to know, travel industry, travel news | Comments Off

Today, the TSA announced an expansion of its use of Explosive Trace Detection (ETD). The text of their press release follows.

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced today that it is expanding the random use of Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) technology at airports nationwide as an additional layer of security.

“Explosive Trace Detection technology is a critical tool in our ability to stay ahead of evolving threats to aviation security,” said TSA Acting Administrator Gale Rossides. “Expanding the use of this technology at checkpoints and at departure gates greatly enhances security to keep the traveling public safe.”

Since the Christmas Day failed attack TSA has increased its random use of ETD technology within security checkpoints to screen passengers’ hands and carry-on luggage. In addition, TSA piloted the use of ETD technology in both the checkpoint queue and boarding areas for two weeks at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Orlando International Airport, and Pitt-Greenville and Coastal Carolina Regional Airports in North Carolina.

Passengers can now expect to see the increased random use of ETD technology in areas where TSA currently conducts screening such as the security checkpoint, as well as in the checkpoint queue, and boarding areas. Officers may swab a piece of luggage or passengers’ hands, then use ETD technology to test for explosives. The swab is placed inside the ETD unit which analyzes the content for the presence of potential explosive residue. To ensure the health of travelers, screening swabs are disposed of after each use. Since it will be used on a random basis, passengers should not expect to see the same thing at every airport or each time they travel.

To date, the Department has awarded $15 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for 400 fixed ETD units. Additionally, President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget prioritizes key investments in aviation security, including $39 million to purchase approximately 800 portable ETD machines.

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