Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
ALL rights reserved and copyright
Friday 24 April 2015
The implacable and indomitable Travelling Gourmet TM goes to Terminal 3 of London Heathrow Airport to encounter…
MOST overzealous security officers screening the carry on luggage…A fat blonde female officer swabbed my old Nokia handphone..put the white swab into the Ionosphere machine and then said…”Positive activation!” She yelled out for Harry who came on the trot. He did all the tests again and asked her to clean her hands with an antiseptic gel. After 5 to 6 minutes, Harry Singh said, ‘It’s a false activation…’ I asked him what the issue was and he said it tested positive for explosives but it is a false activation. What the hell! The machine needs servicing & repair! Sheer incompetence! Time wasting Imbeciles!
Every time I fly from LHR there are these security screening problems! Aggravating! I filled in 2 feedback forms with negative comments and slotted them in the box! Up till today on 13 June, 2015, I have received NO reply!!! Incompetence!
Overzealous and incompetent fools ! I have not even been shooting for several weeks. What a load of Fiddlesticks and Balderdash!
Please see this link:
Here is an excerpt…
“So what makes them go off?
Explosives. That’s the short answer. However, there’s a problem – and this is what will get you, even if you’ve never seen a speck of explosives dust anywhere near you.
The most common substance detected that will set off an alarm is glycerine. Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? Well… it is, and it isn’t. Glycerine is such a common substance that it’s safe to say that every person living in a modern society has come into contact with it, and most do on a regular basis. Glycerine is used in skin products such as moisturizers and a lot of hand sanitizers, for example, since glycerine is what will “rehydrate” your skin and make it feel all nice and soft. It’s also a part of explosives, in the form of nitryglycerine. That stuff goes boom, as Bob Burns of the TSA Blog would have put it. Glycerine on its own is an extremely safe substance.
Another one is potassium nitrate, or salpetre, which is used both in gunpowder and fertilizer – but it’s also a food additive. So there you go. Another alarm. From handling food.
It’s hard to eliminate false positives in sniffers. Actually, there are a lot of substances that are part of explosives that can be found in perfectly safe, perfectly ordinary things such as food, even. That’s why security usually treat alarms on such machines relatively relaxed – the machine will also tell the operator what substance it has detected, and that will, of course, have some impact on how the alarm is treated. If the machine specifies a single, unmistakable explosive, that warrants a more radical course of action, of course.
Most of the “sniffers” have a long list of substances that they can detect, and they can be calibrated to several categories. here’s a few of the explosives the sniffers detect:
– TNT (Tri Nitro Toluene)
– Nitroglycerine (NG)
Dynamite and C-4 etc. are actually trademark names, and fall under one or more of those categories.
Alarm resolution is TSA-speak for “finding out what made the thingy go beep”, and that’s what they think constitutes “SSI”. Unfortunately, the TSA isn’t too familiar with the concept of scaling response to the actual threat, and will often go a bit overboard in their efforts to find out. That shouldn’t worry you too much, however. “Alarm resolution” means going through your bags and pockets – nothing more, nothing less.
The best tip we can give you is to clean your hands with alcohol before entering the checkpoint. A brand without glycerine, that is. Unfortunately, that won’t be sufficient for bags, clothes, etc, so if they find traces on those, you’ll just have to endure their rifling through your things for a while.”
From my research, false positives can also come from poor machine maintenance, machines NOT recalibrated regularly and improperly trained security staff operating the machine. The most common machines are the Ion Scan machines.
London Heathrow Airport
The Compass Centre, Nelson Road, Hounslow, Middlesex TW6 2GW
Tel: 0844 335 1801