Bomb Detection Scanners Tested At Gulfport Airport - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/28/04

Bomb Detection Scanners Tested At Gulfport Airport

The line to get through Gulfport's passenger screening area normally takes anywhere from five to 15 minutes. Now, you can add 14 seconds to that wait, because passengers must walk through a new scanner.

Rita Tucker had to go through the new machine twice.

"I like it," the Orlando woman said.

The machine is a GE Entry Scan. It's sole responsibility is to determine if passengers are carrying bombs.

Pat Baroco represents TSA at the Gulfport airport.

"What we're talking about is a non intrusive walk through portal that is able to detect for a wide range of explosives," he said.

Gulfport Biloxi International Airport is one of five airports testing the GE Entry Scan for the Transportation Security Administration. The goal is to see if it can be effective deterrant that thwarts terrorism in the skies.

According to airport director Bruce Frallic, "All airports have a vested interest in making sure that we have a quality screening operation."

Here's how the scanner works. A passenger walks into the explosives trace portal. Seconds later, a recorded voice says, "Air puffers on," and puffs of air shoot across the person's body. State of the art technology instantly determines if the molecules blowing through the contraption are explosives.

If the passenger is clean, he or she then walks through the magnetic scanner, and finally, to the gate.

"All airports need to get it," passenger Tucker said. "It's neat."

According to TSA's Baroco, "This just adds a total new dimension of being able to check the actual passengers themselves to see if they have any traces of explosives on them."

Again, Gulfport is one of five airports testing the explosives device. The other airports are in Tampa, San Diego, Rochester, New York and Providence, Rhode Island. Gulfport was selected because the TSA wanted to see if passengers at an airport with just one screening line would be inconvenienced by the 14 seconds of extra security.

by Brad Kessie

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