For security screeners, being able to identify threats and prohibited items under X-ray is an important responsibility. To aid in this task, some may agree that learning how to identify everyday objects is almost equally important since most items inspected are innocent. Think about it. How beneficial would it be for security screeners to recognize and clear innocent everyday items quickly and efficiently? A rapid check over of the X-ray image is all it would take for a skilled screener. That’s why practice recognizing everyday objects alongside threats and prohibited articles is encouraged.
The everyday objects observed at individual security checkpoints vary by application. For screeners at an airport’s cabin baggage screening (CBS) checkpoint, everyday objects would typically include clothing, shoes, cell phones, laptops, and toiletries. Recognizing the shape, density, and color of these everyday items under X-ray is a learned skill. More practice equates to better recognition skills especially when an object is cluttered with other items or positioned at an odd angle in the X-ray image.
When screeners can recognize everyday objects quickly, X-rayed items can be cleared at a faster rate. Security screeners typically have a certain method to examine X-ray images. Using this method, a quick check over the X-ray image is employed and screeners will not need to painstakingly identify every single item shown on-screen.
Faster Recognition of Abnormalities
Once screeners become skilled at recognizing everyday objects, it will be easier for them to identify abnormalities under X-ray. Every so often, a threat or prohibited item is concealed within an ordinary item. When this happens, screeners should immediately recognize that something is wrong. The TSA’s Instagram page has plenty of examples of threats concealed as everyday objects (i.e. knife concealed as a comb) and CBP’s Twitter account has examples of prohibited items hidden within everyday objects (i.e. liquid cocaine hidden inside shampoo bottles).
Expands Learning Opportunities
Learning about common everyday objects presents screeners with an opportunity to learn about other types of innocent items. Screeners can take the time to learn about innocent items that are commonly mistaken as a threat. They can learn about items that are uncommon, but interesting under X-ray. Screeners could also benefit from learning about innocent items that are commonly used to conceal weapons, explosives, drugs, or contraband.
Security screeners have a tough job. Using X-ray technology, screeners must analyze all items passing through the checkpoint and be on the lookout for threats or prohibited articles – all while maintaining efficiency. That’s why there’s added value there when screeners are able to practice viewing and analyzing everyday objects under X-ray.