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Full body scanner comes to Juneau Airport
Published: 01/27/2012 13:58:00
Updated: 01/27/2012 14:06:08

This week the TSA started using a new millimeter wave full body scanner at the Juneau airport.

Lorie Dankers is a Public Affairs Manager with the TSA, she told us about the new equipment: "TSA in September announced that it would be purchasing 300 advanced imaging technology screening units, and one of those is here in Juneau. We also have these similar units in Anchorage and Fairbanks and coming to Ketchikan by the end of the month. They use electro-magnetic waves to bounce essentially a radio wave off the passenger's body to determine if there are any items, metallic or non-metallic, on the passenger's body.

This particular type of technology is not an x-ray. It has software that the machine uses; it creates a computer generated generic image that's the same for all passengers male or female. And it just highlights where on the body an object is, it can be metallic or non-metallic, and then our officers can do a follow-up pat-down of that area to clear the passenger so they can continue on their way."

The TSA claims that the new scanners' radio waves are thousands of times weaker than a normal cell phone signal, and by only scanning the surface of the body can also make things faster for those with medical implants.

"For those who've had hip replacements or some kind of implant that's metal, those passengers are used to going through the metal detector and alarming; and they know the drill, they know that they're going to receive that follow-up screening. With this type of equipment they will no longer alarm because those are internal to their body, they won't be picked up by this type of technology and they would be cleared to proceed, presuming that they've taken everything out of their pockets and they haven't concealed any items" said Dankers.

"For those who have medical conditions or disabilities, TSA has a toll free hotline that people can call ahead to let TSA know that they are coming through for screening so that we can work with them to clear them as quickly as possible and to respect their dignity and their wishes as they go through the screening, and so we would encourage passengers to do that" she added.

That phone number is 1-855-787-2227.

By: Mikko Wilson -