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kmh1956
Topic Author
Posts: 2854
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:08 am

False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:47 am

If I'm in the wrong forum, feel freee to shift this. I have a question, however. I flew back from Boston to Bermuda yesterday on Delta, departing from Terminal A. Check-in was a breeze, the line at security was blissfully short. Took the shoes off, placed everything in their little tubs for x-ray, an dmy carry-on bag on the rollers and stepped into the little puffer machine thingie (Sorry...don't know what it's called)

Anyway, long story short......it wouldn't let me out! Apparently it detected something on me that looked like an explosive. This meant, of course, that I had to have a female screener to come over and do the pat-down and then they had to take everything out of my handbag and carry-on to examine. They were very pleasant and professional, and I have no complaints about having to go through the extra security but....what would give the machine a false reading?
'Somebody tell me why I'm on my own if there's a soulmate for everyone' :Natasha Bedingfield
 
YYZYYT
Posts: 1091
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 12:41 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:51 am

Maybe it wasn't a false reading. Maybe it was a trace of chemical that could be a bomb component?

Happened to me once in YQB. A stroller tested pos. for traces of explosive, and then the second stroller. We had a very careful going over - everything (including our checked bags which were found and brought into the security area) was hand-searched.

Afterwards, chatting with security, they said we could have picked up traces of whichever chemical anywhere... the back of the minivan rental, rolling on the ground... but it was definietely a correct test. I was never able to figure out where we picked it up.

Luckily we were flying Jetsgo so we had the built-in a 90-minute delay...
 
VonRichtofen
Posts: 4296
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2000 3:10 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:57 am

Quoting YYZYYT (Reply 1):
Luckily we were flying Jetsgo so we had the built-in a 90-minute delay...

 rotfl   rotfl   rotfl   rotfl   rotfl 
 
deltagator
Posts: 6170
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:56 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:00 am

Do you take nitroglycerine for a heart condition? Or come into contact with someone who does use it? My bag tested positive for "bomb making material" as they explained it to me and then the capers began.

It was quite funny to see the reaction of the TSA folks because you could see it in their eyes that they thought they were on to something. I started getting the the riot act read to me about how having bomb making equipment and components was a felony and that I would be going to jail for a long time.

One of the supervisors came over, called off the dogs, and asked me if I took nitro for my heart. I said no but understood that it could set things off. The supervisors then realized what machine they were using and told them to use the other tester since that one had been on the fritz that day. The retested and I came back clean. He apologized for their behavior and I was on my way.
"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
 
kmh1956
Topic Author
Posts: 2854
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:08 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:19 am

No heart condition, no nitro. I cannot for the life of me figure out what would have set this thing off.....

I'd had a shower and washed my hair...no perfume....had coffee and several cigarettes before I left the hotel (used a lighter)....had a cinnamon scone and a Cappuccino Grande from Starbucks.......something in the shampoo or soap, maybe?
'Somebody tell me why I'm on my own if there's a soulmate for everyone' :Natasha Bedingfield
 
tangoecho
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu May 13, 2004 3:10 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:28 am

As I work in security, we get positive readings quite a lot. but turns out to be quite innocent.

nitroglycerine as said above sets off our machines as does peroxcide and garden fertilizers.

All can be used as a component of a bomb.

Stu...
Contact Aberdeen tower on 118.10 G'day.
 
kmh1956
Topic Author
Posts: 2854
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:08 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:40 am

Like I said, no nitroglycerine.....no peroxide or garden fertilizers either..
'Somebody tell me why I'm on my own if there's a soulmate for everyone' :Natasha Bedingfield
 
deltagator
Posts: 6170
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:56 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:48 am

Who the heck brings a bag of 10-10-10 to the airport?  Wink

Not sure what made you set it off KMH. Perhaps you just have an air of terrorism about you? Probably just something you stepped in or on or rubbed up against from the hotel to the airport.

As for the name of the machine, I'm sure it has an official name but everyone on here and folks I've talked to call it a Puffer as well.
"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
 
agpatel
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 2:54 pm

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:51 am

prob from the the rental car? that seems to be a very likely source...or maybe the hotel u were staying at (dont know if you were) had gotten garden work done when you were there...many spots it could come from..
-AnK
 
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mbm3
Posts: 764
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 10:54 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:07 am

I just got a false positive on my bag yesterday in STX, which disappeared once the TSA guy cleaned the machine. I did not, however, stop think think about the fertilizer issue. Given that I carry it in my truck after purchase, it is certainly possible for my bag to come in contact with it. Heck, even potting soil can have fertilizer in it and I seem to spill that all the time in my car.
Let Me Tell You, Landing A 772ER Is Harder Than It Looks!
 
phljjs
Posts: 337
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 7:26 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:31 am

Alot of toiletries, cosmetics and lotions contain glycerine and other materials that when in very large amounts or when mixed with other items can make explosives. These are ordinary, everyday health and beauty items that we all use.
 
BHXFAOTIPYYC
Posts: 1442
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:47 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:26 am

I had a client rtn from DEN last winter and he said he set it off because of some wax he used on skis.
Breakfast in BHX, lunch in FAO, dinner in TIP, baggage in YYC.
 
jsposaune
Posts: 227
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 12:20 pm

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:39 am

It's quite easy to pick up traces of fertilizer, especially on your shoes. All you have to do is, well...walk on grass!
There are no stupid questions....only stupid people!!!
 
kmh1956
Topic Author
Posts: 2854
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:08 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:50 am

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 7):
Perhaps you just have an air of terrorism about you?

Yeah, that's me all right. I fit the classic profile.....if you're looking for a short, blonde, 49-year old from Bermuda!!!!

Quoting PHLJJS (Reply 10):
Alot of toiletries, cosmetics and lotions contain glycerine

It could have been the shampoo or conditioner. As I was only overnighting at the Logan Hilton, I had already packed my own shampoo and conditioner in my luggage so I used the hotel stuff.

BTW, I had my eye drops confiscated on the way to BOS....forgot they were in my handbag!
'Somebody tell me why I'm on my own if there's a soulmate for everyone' :Natasha Bedingfield
 
deltagator
Posts: 6170
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:56 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:16 am

Quoting Kmh1956 (Reply 13):
Yeah, that's me all right. I fit the classic profile.....if you're looking for a short, blonde, 49-year old from Bermuda!!!!

I knew you fit the profile...of someone wearing clothing for tropical weather. We can never trust your type.  Wink
"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
 
kmh1956
Topic Author
Posts: 2854
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:08 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:28 am

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 14):
someone wearing clothing for tropical weather

Especially when it was bloody chilly in Boston last weekend!! It must have been the green striped rugby shirt!!
'Somebody tell me why I'm on my own if there's a soulmate for everyone' :Natasha Bedingfield
 
PolymerPlane
Posts: 832
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 1:12 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:58 am

Yeah, I was once stopped at LAX because they detected nitroglycerine in my carry-on. I had no idea what they actually detected. They checked everything through, "tearing" apart every piece of item in my carry-on baggage.

One thing we should keep in mind, the sensors used in airports are not the most accurate detection unit. It is probably good for 95%, but there's still a lot of room for false reading. It's probably a balance between accuracy, speed and price.

Cheers,
PP
One day there will be 100% polymer plane
 
CaptainJon
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 3:21 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:10 pm

I was in PBI where the detector was positive for about 2 or 3 people in front of me, at least two or three times. I was positive twice too for something, they didnt say but after the third time going through they seemed satisfied and let me go. At least I didnt have to remove my shoes. Though at EWR I refused to remove my shoes since they just recommend it, not require it, so they just swabbed them instead. Fine with me, at least I was able to sit down.
 
aviationwiz
Posts: 882
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 7:20 pm

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:07 pm

I remember back in 2002 they swabbed my bags at LGA, and it came back positive for something they were looking for.

I had just read recently though that chocolate would set off the equipment, so I knew that was it. When they asked to open the bags, and I took off the lock for them, one guy saw a few boxes of chocolate, showed it to the other guy, and said "Ah, here's the problem." They then just cleared all the bags after I told him there was chocolate in each one.
Proudly from the Home of the Red Tail.
 
TimePilot
Posts: 290
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 10:40 pm

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:19 pm

Quoting Kmh1956 (Reply 15):
Especially when it was bloody chilly in Boston last weekend!!

Tell me about it! I flew out Monday morning to ORD. My parents came with me, both wearing jackets. Luckily the plane was stuffy when I boarded. I quickly wrapped myself in a blanket and stayed that way the whole trip.

I should've stolen the blanket; ORD was cold too  Sad

I was in Terminal B at 5:30am and went through security with no trouble at all. In fact, this time they didn't so a second scan on my PowerBook. They ALWAYS do.
 
bennett123
Posts: 10730
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2004 12:49 am

RE: False Readings At Security

Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:18 pm

At one time the tests would confuse Nitrocellulose with Nitroglycerine.

The problem is that the shiny coating on playing cards was ....

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