Monday, March 22, 2010

Helping Wounded Warriors

Last week, I went to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC with staff from TSA’s Office of Security Operations who work on screening procedures and officer training. Prosthetics have come a long way, and Walter Reed is on the forefront of providing severely wounded service men and women with state of the art prosthetics and first class treatment and rehabilitation protocols.

As we’ve said before, about a quarter of TSA’s frontline workforce are veterans. We know that our troops deserve respect when they come through the checkpoints, and we do our best to give them the honor they deserve. We work with the Wounded Warrior Project to help severely injured veterans who have been injured with assistance to get them through the checkpoint smoothly. But sadly, we also know that some have tried to exploit our respect for those in the armed forces by impersonating them and trying to sneak bad things through. Unfortunate, but true.

As you can imagine, soldiers with shrapnel in their bodies and prosthetic limbs set off metal detectors. As part of the hospital visit, the security team looked at various prosthetics and their inner workings to better understand how to write procedures for screening people with them. We also visited and spoke with some wounded soldiers about the Wounded Warrior Project, and gave them tips to make their checkpoint experience less stressful. We also talked to them and their family members about advanced imaging technology, which reduces the chance of a pat down for people with metal implants and prosthetics.

To facilitate the movement of injured veterans, TSA partners with the Department of Defense and the Wounded Warrior Project through the TSA Military Severely Injured Program. To request assistance through this program, injured service members or their designee(s) should contact TSA by telephone, email, or fax no later than 24 hours prior to flying. This will allow enough time for the TSA Military Severely Injured program to contact local TSA officials at the departing airport who will facilitate the injured service member's screening experience.

We look forward to continuing our work with the Department of Defense to identify protocols that improve how we screen people with disabilities.

Lynn
TSA Blog Team

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think screeners better understanding prosthetics and possibly seeing how to improve screening those that have them is a good thing.

However, I have a question about the statement in the post where you met with wounded soldiers and "gave them tips to make their checkpoint experience less stressful" --

Did you also allow them an opportunity to give feedback on problems they've experienced with screenings and educate you on how you should treat them in facilitating the screening process, which would also make their checkpoint experience "less stressful"?

Chris Boyce said...

We work with the Wounded Warrior Project to help severely injured veterans who have been injured with assistance to get them through the checkpoint smoothly.

Interesting -- Every other federal agency also participates in the Wounded Warrior Program with one significant difference: They actually hire wounded warriors.

We also talked to them and their family members about advanced imaging technology, which reduces the chance of a pat down for people with metal implants and prosthetics.

I trust the GIs saw right through your limp attempt to sell strip search machines to them if they ever fly again.

Does this mean you are also going to visit a hospital to study patients with insulin pumps, restorative breast surgery, colostomy bags, etc, and convince those patients that the strip search machines aren't so bad?

But sadly, we also know that some have tried to exploit our respect for those in the armed forces by impersonating them and trying to sneak bad things through.

Funny -- I don't remember reading anything about this in the paper or online. If this really happened, the "Big Catch" would be plastered all over the TSA web site and here in the blog.

This is even beyond a Puppy Post.

Anonymous said...

So removing artificial limbs from amputees isn't enough? Why not just swab the limb down for explosive trace residue and be done with it? Since all you're authorized to search for is explosives, weapons, and incendiary devices.

Anonymous said...

While it's good that there's a mechanism to minimize the chance that your poorly-trained, unprofessional screeners will abuse severely wounded vets, shouldn't the same courtesy be extended to all severely wounded and handicapped individuals?

Sandra said...

What's wrong, Lynn? TSA's claims that WBI is being accepted are not true so now you have to go to Walter Reed to promote your cause.

"But sadly, we also know that some have tried to exploit our respect for those in the armed forces by impersonating them and trying to sneak bad things through. Unfortunate, but true."

True? Then why has not TSA touted the finding of these alleged "bad things" by impersonators? Guess what, Lynn, your veracity is highly questionable.

Know what happened in Idaho today? Their House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to restrict use of WBI at Idaho airports.

This could be the start of something big.

Anonymous said...

It is very nice you are doing this for wounded active duty service members but don't you see any problem with the double standard if you don't offer the same service to the general public?

Anonymous said...

While we all appreciate their service, why are disabled veterans given any more respect than any other disabled American who attempts to traverse a TSA checkpoint?

GSOLTSO said...

Lynn, it is nice to see a blog post explaining that we are continuing to reach out to external sources to help our screening process! I especially love that we are working with the Vets to streamline the process for them. It is nice to see HQ reaching out consistently to improve the process for all passengers with disabilities. I would like to thank the Wounded Warrior Project, and the wonderful programs and assistance they render to our Vets. Excellent post!

West
TSA Blog Team

Ayn R. Key said...

Oh Bob.... oh dear.

Please stick to topic.

Anonymous said...

Great work. It would, of course, have been absolutely impossible to have, oh I don't know, thought some of these things through years ago: as we all know, there were no amputees and absolutely no knowledge of prosthetics before the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Luckily, this timing has allowed the TSA to puff up what should be their job (i.e. designing and implementing effective, efficient security procedures) by linking it to wounded veterans (who, as all good citizens of the republic know, are nothing short of angels walking among us, demi-gods superior to those of us who just don't have the guts to join up and ship out to whatever country we're invading this week) and slapping a ridiculous name on it.

Sandra said...

Anonymous wrote:

"It would, of course, have been absolutely impossible to have, oh I don't know, thought some of these things through years ago: as we all know, there were no amputees and absolutely no knowledge of prosthetics before the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan."

+1

LTSO with Answers said...

So removing artificial limbs from amputees isn't enough? Why not just swab the limb down for explosive trace residue and be done with it? Since all you're authorized to search for is explosives, weapons, and incendiary devices.

We do not ask passengers to remove artificial limbs as part of the normal screening process. We do swab prostectic devices for explosives.

LTSO with Answers said...

While it's good that there's a mechanism to minimize the chance that your poorly-trained, unprofessional screeners will abuse severely wounded vets, shouldn't the same courtesy be extended to all severely wounded and handicapped individuals?

We recieve training for all sorts of persons with disabilities. Hidden or obvious we have ways to help them through the screening processes. Some people see us abusing someone handicapped just because we are screening them but this is not so. Everyone is subject to screening. Even the elderly.

Ayn R. Key said...

By the way, Bob, when I say "stick to topic" I mean "don't insult our intelligence with a puppy post when there are very relevant and revealing questions still unanswered from your last post."

Anonymous said...

So does this mean that TSOs will no longer be telling young crippled children to remove their braces and walk through your scanning systems, or wheelchair-bound elderly gentlemen to get out of their chair and walk?

It's nice to see that your agency is beginning to see the impracticality of having your agents "play God" and try to "heal" people to get them to walk through your Porn-O-Scopes.

And while you're out trying to make the checkpoint a "kinder, gentler" place, would you also re-educate your agents on the questions they are and aren't allowed to ask when encountering someone with a medical condition? The last I checked they weren't allowed to ask details of medical conditions, as that violates privacy laws and is certainly out of the bounds of your agency's mandate to look for guns, knives, and explosives.

Thanks.

Gunner said...

I was expecting this puppy post on Friday. I wish you would stick to your schedule.

Isaac Newton said...

Lynn wrote:
As part of the hospital visit, the security team looked at various prosthetics and their inner workings to better understand how to write procedures for screening people with them.
Do you really need to understand how a prosthetic works to know that it's going to set off the metal detector and that the screening process will be a patdown or the WBI? Sheesh, I could've told you that, but then you wouldn't have this heart-warming story.

Watching a TSA screener groping a disabled person, veteran or not, is a disturbing sight. I agree that this is just an excuse to encourage the injured veterans to use the WBI, to make TSA look less foolish.

jack said...

"soldiers with shrapnel in their bodies and prosthetic limbs set off metal detectors. As part of the hospital visit, the security team looked at various prosthetics and their inner workings to better understand how to write procedures for screening people with them. We also visited and spoke with some wounded soldiers about the Wounded Warrior Project."
It's good project

Anonymous said...

Quoted:
Anonymous said...
While we all appreciate their service, why are disabled veterans given any more respect than any other disabled American who attempts to traverse a TSA checkpoint?

March 22, 2010 6:23 PM"
------------------------
Uh, because they deserve it.

Anonymous said...

"To request assistance through this program, injured service members or their designee(s) should contact TSA by telephone, email, or fax no later than 24 hours prior to flying. This will allow enough time for the TSA Military Severely Injured program to contact local TSA officials at the departing airport who will facilitate the injured service member's screening experience."
--------------------------------

What if my leg was amputated as the result of, say, a logging accident? Can you explain why these measures have only been instituted for veterans? Are the rest of us second-class citizens?

Anonymous said...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/mar/24/airport-worker-warned-body-scanner

can't..... stop.... laughing.... reality bites....

Rock said...

You know what would also help people get through the checkpoint smoothly? Not having their naked scanner pictures taken, as we all know the tsa employees will do, and which other scanner employees have started to do:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/mar/24/airport-worker-warned-body-scanner

And before you say "this happened in the UK not here" it just proves that it CAN happen here - which means it will.

8675309 said...

"Funny -- I don't remember reading anything about this in the paper or online. If this really happened, the "Big Catch" would be plastered all over the TSA web site and here in the blog."

Actually I've read many things in mainstream media about prohibited weapons and drugs being found in prosthetics and mobility aids by TSA. But of course even if you saw the article yourself, you would claim it was made up.

"Interesting -- Every other federal agency also participates in the Wounded Warrior Program with one significant difference: They actually hire wounded warriors."

Read the first sentence of this web page:

http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/careers/gc_1257434968190.shtm

As a component of DHS, TSA does hire wounded warriors. But of course even though you can read it, you will claim that it isn't true.

"What's wrong, Lynn? TSA's claims that WBI is being accepted are not true so now you have to go to Walter Reed to promote your cause."

I would rather go through WBI than have a stranger run their hands all over me. Remember, not everybody is as paranoid as you are, maybe you should let the vets decide for themselves if they want the WBI before trying to run to their rescue. Having faced the dangers of roadside bombs, and having survived being shot or shot at, I'm sincerely doubt that they care about a miniscule amount of radiation or are worried that somebody might see a black-and-white image that looks more like the Michelin man than it looks like porn. But I'll let the vets decide for themselves because going through the WBI is optional.

"Know what happened in Idaho today? Their House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to restrict use of WBI at Idaho airports."

Maybe they like members of the same sex rubbing them down during pat downs. What happens in Idaho stays in Idaho? Since the WBI is optional anyway, what purpose does limiting the WBI serve except to take options away from us who don't want to be patted down?

"While we all appreciate their service, why are disabled veterans given any more respect than any other disabled American who attempts to traverse a TSA checkpoint?"

The Wounded Warrior project isn't a TSA program. What non-TSA program/project are you suggesting that TSA reach out to? Have they reached out to TSA like Wounded Warrior did?

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "While it's good that there's a mechanism to minimize the chance that your poorly-trained, unprofessional screeners will abuse severely wounded vets, shouldn't the same courtesy be extended to all severely wounded and handicapped individuals?"

Any time we communicate with any group of persons that require special assistance, more coordination, or any type of understanding, it can only help us with ALL people that have the same types of needs. By working with the Vets to learn what steps are the easiest for them, what type of communication they need, and what types of accomodations are needed - it just helps us to screen other people with the same needs better as a workforce.

What is learned will be put into training, communicated to the workforce, and in this case given to the public so they can see it as well. I wish we had the chance to do more of this type of cooperation with groups.

I think this is a great chance for HQ (and by extension the whole workforce)to learn what effects screening can have on people with disabilities.

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "It is very nice you are doing this for wounded active duty service members but don't you see any problem with the double standard if you don't offer the same service to the general public?"

By learning more from the Vets, we can assist other people with similar needs better. I think one of the simpler reasons they worked with Walter Reed is the location and the amount of varying wounds and injuries seen there. All passengers with disabilities or special needs benefit by HQ commnunicating with the Vets and learning best practices and procedures to help them.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Ayn sez - "Oh Bob.... oh dear.

Please stick to topic."

This post was by Lynn, and it is an excellent topic. It lets folks know how the agency is working on learning how to deal more effectively and professionally with folks that have disabilities and special needs. It also gives a source to Vets that may make it easier on them arranging travel. How is that off topic?

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Great work. It would, of course, have been absolutely impossible to have, oh I don't know, thought some of these things through years ago: as we all know, there were no amputees and absolutely no knowledge of prosthetics before the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Luckily, this timing has allowed the TSA to puff up what should be their job (i.e. designing and implementing effective, efficient security procedures) by linking it to wounded veterans (who, as all good citizens of the republic know, are nothing short of angels walking among us, demi-gods superior to those of us who just don't have the guts to join up and ship out to whatever country we're invading this week) and slapping a ridiculous name on it."

Hiya Anon, I have a few things to say to you on this particular issue:

1) This is part of an ongoing learning procedure. When TSA first came into being, they coordinated with over 50 (I think it is closer to 70, but I don't want to misquote) recognized groups to design and implement procedures that helped people with disabilties. These procedures have changed numerous times, and this post is simply the most recent in those ongoing efforts to learn.

2)People have had disabilities since long before any of us were here. To imply that there has only been a focus on these folks since the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is simply silly.

3) We have been designing these security programs and updating, changing and refining them since day one. Some are better programs than others, but it is never a "create this and then we are done process".

4) Most military members are not Angels or Demigods, they are folks that took an Oath, served their country, and in some instances have injuries that have forever changed them. Not all of these injuries are physical, but we were coordinating with Walter Reed to find ways to work better with folks that have ALL sorts of disabilities (this group just happened to be Vets).

5) Thankfully, this country does not require you to serve in the military. It is an all volunteer force and those that choose not to go are not necessarily cowardly or even not brave. It simply means they chose not to go into the military for their own reasons. If you are applying cowardice to not entering service, that is your own impression or interpretation, and a fairly narrow viewpoint (it is also sad).

6) The Wounded Warrior Project is a fantastic non profit organization that assists military members that are wounded. It was started by a group of folks that thought something should be done to help those coming back wounded. They help thousands of military members and their families to get financial, legal, educational, rehabilitational and other forms of assistance - simply because they want to.

On a personal note, I love what the Wounded Warrior Project does, and think that as a Nation, we should be participating in more groups like them.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Sandra sez "+1"

You are indicating +1 to the fact that someone (erroneously) tried to point out that the agency has never worked with peresons with disabilties before they worked with the Vets at Walter Reed? That is pretty sad, we have worked with several groups on developing ways to work with folks that have disabilities and to learn the best way to help them. We then post a followup coordination with Walter Reed as part of an ongoing learning process so we can keep up with new technology that helps folks with disabilties, and how to effectively screen them. And you give a +1 to someone that made a fairly hardhearted statement? WTG, you win a gold star for your notebook! Next please?

West
TSA Blog Team

Barbara said...

While some may think working with the Wounded Warrior Program is merely a step in the right direction, it is, indeed, just that --- a step. Let's get real here, folks. Maintaining the safety of travel and travelers is a DAUNTING responsibility, and a thankless one at that. We are sure to hear about the "ones that got through" but we are far less likely to pay attention to the countless times things have worked. Moreover, when the safety of all is concerned, we do not need, nor do we have the right to expect to know. If every case is detailed ad infinitum, further information is supplied which may be used to circumnavigate the System.

As for speaking with the Wounded Warriors, again, a great place to start. Walter Reed houses a finite community which represents a larger population of those with physical challenges. As the parent of a US Marine who is now serving in Afghanistan, I would dare say that the average service member would laugh at the slight inconveniences they may meet while going through a security checkpoint! You see, they are accustomed to real-life security issues on a daily basis, and know that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!" You cannot be selfless and selfish at the same time; if we want our country to be safe, we may have to suppress our own comfort and privacy. You can't always have it both ways.

Finally, TSA is a government agency. Everything they do must be approved by a bureaucracy of government checks and balances. Have you ever tried to start a group from the ground up and answer to committees and subcommittee each step of the way? It's a challenge to say the least. Try doing that on a national level. Furthermore, the challenge ANY group or corporation faces is that it is comprised of people. NONE of those people is perfect, nor is any agency, government or otherwise. As Americans, though, we have the right to tweak our checks and balances. We can call our representatives, we can voice our concerns, we can vote freely. We must, however, use these responsibilities cautiously and question whether we are working toward a common good or augmenting our own self-serving desires. It seems that TSA is trying to be part of the solution, but it is incumbent upon us to not become part of the problem!

Ayn R. Key said...

West wrote:
This post was by Lynn, and it is an excellent topic.

And Bob approved it to distract us from the previous topic.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Barbara, how much were you paid to write that?

Chris Boyce said...

Anonymous 8675309 irrationally lashed out and said...

Actually I've read many things in mainstream media about prohibited weapons and drugs being found in prosthetics and mobility aids by TSA. But of course even if you saw the article yourself, you would claim it was made up.

Hey, pal, please bring us up to speed and cite some sources. While you're at it, please tell us why finding drugs is a TSA mission.

...and, if that wasn't enough, he said:

Read the first sentence of this web page:

http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/careers/gc_1257434968190.shtm


Please tell us how many wounded warriors the DHS has actually hired -- in real numbers and as a percentage of the overall workforce. You'd better be right -- I have the actual data.

Anonymous said...

LTSO with Answers said...

We do not ask passengers to remove artificial limbs as part of the normal screening process. We do swab prostectic devices for explosives.

March 23, 2010 12:11 PM
___________________________________

That's an awful big blanket statement to make, and again, is evidence of the inherent problems with the TSA.

Over and over again, travelers say you do.

Here's one of many: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20100308_Daniel_Rubin__More_stories_of_horrors_at_airport_take_wing.html

At Baltimore-Washington International, he watched trainees force a Gulf War veteran passing through the detectors to remove his prosthetic limbs.

"To do this, the war hero had to sit on the floor of the checkpoint. . . . The screener and supervisor involved saw nothing wrong with this process."


A quick scan will pull up many more.

Ranger11 said...

Very Well said Barbara. As a former active duty service member, I praise your resolve and offer my prayers for your soldier and his safe return home. I too, still, have many friends that continue to serve, and many others that have traversed the halls of Walter Reed and come out the other side as better soldiers and men.

Once again, very well said.

Anonymous said...

So what is this I hear about a TSA employee accused of harassing another using the body scanner on her and making lewd comments? Are these machines really so innocuous after all, hmmmmmm? Will the TSA tell this employee that her complaints have no merit since her image was not stored or printed?

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO--

Please provide a link to the website where severely injured civilians can apply for special treatment at TSA checkpoints. If you can't do that, kindly refrain from suggesting that this post was really about ongoing efforts to help all disabled people rather than an advertisement for a program specifically designed to provide assistance to veterans that is not available to civilians. There's nothing inherently wrong in that if you happen to believe that, when making decisions about exactly how much "respect," "honor," and access to special accommodations will be afforded to a given individual, our society ought to strike such a distinction between those who have "served" and those who merely "work." Please understand that many of us want to preserve the society that you have described in "point 5": ["5) Thankfully, this country does not require you to serve in the military. It is an all volunteer force and those that choose not to go are not necessarily cowardly or even not brave. It simply means they chose not to go into the military for their own reasons."]

The post was all about trumpeting the special steps that TSA is taking to help veterans, with only a passing reference to the applicability of these programs to the disabled community as a whole. Stop acting like we should all know about TSAs alleged commitment to civilian community outreach. I'm not saying this doesn't happen, but I would think we'd be reading blog posts about it if the TSA were to, oh say, establish programs at retirement communities in order to both educate the elderly population and refine procedures. Again, maybe you're doing this stuff all the time, but you shouldn't imply that we should know about it from this post, this blog, or this agency. Aren't you the folks who took several years to figure out that people might need a place to sit to get their shoes back on?

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "What if my leg was amputated as the result of, say, a logging accident? Can you explain why these measures have only been instituted for veterans? Are the rest of us second-class citizens?"

Anything we can learn from these collaborations are applied and taught for ALL persons with disabilities. If (God forbid!) you were to have a leg amputated, I would help you and work with you just like any other passenger with a disability. I do not think you are a second class citizen at all!

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob, you should have had second, and if necessary, third thoughts about posting TSA working with the Wounded Warrior Project. It would have been much better received if it had come out from the military members involved with it. As it sits right now it looks like just another rah rah look at us post.

kellymae81 said...

Chris Boyce said: Interesting -- Every other federal agency also participates in the Wounded Warrior Program with one significant difference: They actually hire wounded warriors.

Who said TSA doesnt hire wounded warriors? Is that what you are saying with that statement? TSA does not discriminate. From what I understand, just like any other company/agency, there are requirements to be hired on. TSOs have to pass several tests along with the requirement of being able to lift 70 lbs. If you cannot, then no, you probably wont be hired. It doesnt mean you are being discriminated against. When looking for jobs lets say via the internet, they always list the requirements. If I don't meet those requirements, I probably wont get the job.
So to sum up, if a wounded warrior applies for TSA and can pass these tests and lift 70 lbs, then he will be hired.

Anonymous said...

Why TSA is having PR issues.
.........................
Non-TSA employee posted on another blog:

"Many of the post you have made over the past months seems to indicate, at least to me, that you have a very poor opinion of the people you serve.

Do you think that moves the ball forward on how the public views TSA as a whole?"

Response from TSA employee:

"Lets be honest, would it really matter? You hate us and we return it to you. It wont ever change."

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said... So what is this I hear about a TSA employee accused of harassing another using the body scanner on her and making lewd comments? Are these machines really so innocuous after all, hmmmmmm? Will the TSA tell this employee that her complaints have no merit since her image was not stored or printed? March 26, 2010 11:40 AM
-----------------------

It wasn't TSA. This unfortunate incident occurred in the UK. TSA does not screen in the UK.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
Anonymous said... So what is this I hear about a TSA employee accused of harassing another using the body scanner on her and making lewd comments? Are these machines really so innocuous after all, hmmmmmm? Will the TSA tell this employee that her complaints have no merit since her image was not stored or printed? March 26, 2010 11:40 AM
-----------------------

It wasn't TSA. This unfortunate incident occurred in the UK. TSA does not screen in the UK.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

March 29, 2010 10:12 AM
...............
Not the US but apparently these Strip Search Machines do reveal sufficent detail that a person in the UK got his jollies by looking at a co-worker.

Is this why TSA refuses to release WBI images in the same size and resolution that the machine operator sees?

What is TSA hiding?

How can I as a traveler made a decision to either accept WBI or not if I don't have all the correct information needed to make an informed decision?

Until TSA releases this information I would suggest that everyone say NO to Strip Search Machines.

Nico said the images are safe for young children to view. Are they really safe for young children to view?

Was Nico also not properly informed like the Chicago FSD?

How about some truth TSA!

Anonymous said...

Why was my post deleted? I am asking a perfectly legitimate question: What does whole body imaging help with screening persons with prosthetics? These machines can only see the surface, and you could hide large prohibited weapons and explosives in a fake limb.

You should be using explosives detection technology, not imaging.

james said...

Its the best service to humanity taking care of the wounded All diabled should be given good care

Stephanie said...

I think this effort is great...and needed. I have worked for several years as a rehab nurse and have told patients with joint replacements over and over again to plan ahead for airport travel.

We use to provide patients written documentation from the physician attesting to their surgery, as well as specific locations of the hardware. I can only imagine using such efforts with soldiers would require a much more secure process.

micheal said...

advanced imaging technology is defiantly a less embarrassing way of screening people,possibly the way forward for all hospitals

Anonymous said...

Jack, you didn't even really read the post, did you?

You just copied and pasted some of the article.

And you got a link for your HDTV sales onto the blog.

Good work!

James said...

I applaud the effort to treat wounded veterns with respect and at the same time explore ways to keep the public safe. Things and people are not always as they seem and it takes effort to find ways to keep the public safe and not cause the innocent to be subjected to procedures that are not respectful.

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...
Anon sez - "What if my leg was amputated as the result of, say, a logging accident? Can you explain why these measures have only been instituted for veterans? Are the rest of us second-class citizens?"

Anything we can learn from these collaborations are applied and taught for ALL persons with disabilities. If (God forbid!) you were to have a leg amputated, I would help you and work with you just like any other passenger with a disability. I do not think you are a second class citizen at all!

West
TSA Blog Team

--------------------------------

Great. Please provide me the link where a severely injured civilian can apply for special assistance. You have provided the link for veterans, so it shouldn't be a problem for you to demonstrate the existence of a parallel program for civilians.

Jim Huggins said...

Great ... six new posts approved today, and four of them have links to external commercial websites ...

Anonymous said...

4 of the last 5 posts were nothing put people trolling your blog to get their links to commercial services posted.

Blogger Bob said...

Jim Huggins said... Great ... six new posts approved today, and four of them have links to external commercial websites ... March 31, 2010 5:52 PM
----------------------------

Hi Jim. Yeah, this is a problem with Blogger. When you're looking at the posts in the moderation dashboard, it doesn't allow you to click on the user name to see where the link will take you.

Sometimes it's obvious if the user name is FreeHDTV, but other times it's not so obvious.

So, I check the links in the comment itself for spam, but not the user name.

I guess it could be argued that the owner of FreeHDTV is interested in aviation security? :)

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Ayn sez - "And Bob approved it to distract us from the previous topic."

Bob approved this because it is a worthy subject, and the blog is not just used to discuss one subject.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "So what is this I hear about a TSA employee accused of harassing another using the body scanner on her and making lewd comments? Are these machines really so innocuous after all, hmmmmmm? Will the TSA tell this employee that her complaints have no merit since her image was not stored or printed?"

This was not a TSA employee, it was overseas.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez part 2 -

The Wounded Warrior project is a privately organized non-profit group, set up specifically to assist military members (and their families) with injuries and disabilities. I am certain that their information was included additionally because they help so many military members, and the consultation was done at a military installation.

The following are a group of private enterprises dedicated to helping people with disabilities to travel:

http://www.handicappedtravelclub.com/

This one focuses on disabled accessible travel:

http://www.disabilitytravel.com/

This site gives information on how to prepare, who to contact ahead of time (in general) and even has links to some other sites that give good info as well:

http://www.flying-with-disability.org/

This page below is Aviation travel consumer protection agency, they allow folks to communicate with them about issues in air travel (this page is for passengers with disabilities) :

http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/hotline.htm

The only page listed that is a government page is Airconsumer (and of course, TSA).

I hope that this is the first in several posts about cooperative meetings and learning opportunities for the agency. Any time we can work with specific groups of folks that have special needs, it can only benefit the entire workforce, as the changes we develop based on these meetings are implemented and trained on nationwide. (I personally love to see outreach to more groups of folks!)

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez part 1- "Please provide a link to the website where severely injured civilians can apply for special treatment at TSA checkpoints. If you can't do that, kindly refrain from suggesting that this post was really about ongoing efforts to help all disabled people rather than an advertisement for a program specifically designed to provide assistance to veterans that is not available to civilians. There's nothing inherently wrong in that if you happen to believe that, when making decisions about exactly how much "respect," "honor," and access to special accommodations will be afforded to a given individual, our society ought to strike such a distinction between those who have "served" and those who merely "work." Please understand that many of us want to preserve the society that you have described in "point 5": ["5) Thankfully, this country does not require you to serve in the military. It is an all volunteer force and those that choose not to go are not necessarily cowardly or even not brave. It simply means they chose not to go into the military for their own reasons."]

The post was all about trumpeting the special steps that TSA is taking to help veterans, with only a passing reference to the applicability of these programs to the disabled community as a whole. Stop acting like we should all know about TSAs alleged commitment to civilian community outreach. I'm not saying this doesn't happen, but I would think we'd be reading blog posts about it if the TSA were to, oh say, establish programs at retirement communities in order to both educate the elderly population and refine procedures. Again, maybe you're doing this stuff all the time, but you shouldn't imply that we should know about it from this post, this blog, or this agency. Aren't you the folks who took several years to figure out that people might need a place to sit to get their shoes back on?"

This post was a bout a trip to work with folks at Walter Reed to learn more about the nature of injuries, and prosthetics and other medical equipment that may be encountered at the checkpoint. This will help TSA learn, and train better for disabilities in general, someone with a prosthetic device is not limited to being in the military.

In order for passenger with disabilities to be able to prepare better, TSA has the following page set up for them to peruse, to give them an idea of what to expect:

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/index.shtm

It covers many areas of special needs. If there is no information that can be found pertaining to what you made need specifically, then TSA has the following email :

tsa-contactcenter@dhs.gov

and the following toll free number to call:

1-866-289-9673

These are for ALL person with disabilities, or their family members seeking information to help them transit the checkpoint.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Great. Please provide me the link where a severely injured civilian can apply for special assistance. You have provided the link for veterans, so it shouldn't be a problem for you to demonstrate the existence of a parallel program for civilians."

I posted some earlier, you can use those to get some info. One thing to keep in mind is that the Wounded Warrior project is a private agency. I hope to see some outreach programs from other private agencies to assist other folks with disabilities as well. That would be a really great step forward as the WW project was at this point.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Do none of you read the public facing part of your blog regularly?

Someone should be doing that. It is just a basic part of having a web presence.

In addition, there are relatively simple and fast ways to catch the spam before you post it.

What browser do you use? Any browser will allow you to quickly see the HTML code.

Copy the name. Switch to source view. Search for name. See if it is in a spam link.

I hope you are not in IE6. -grin-

Can you use Chrome?

I know Google Chrome may be too new to be allowed on your systems but its inspect element option would readily allow you to inspect a name.

Good luck. I really do hope you stop allowing these people who add little, or more often nothing, to the discussion to improve their search engine rankings by exploiting your blog.

Flip said...

Wow. Is not not a shame that some people read a story like this and all they can do is spew venom. I think it is commendable what is being done. Of course we can always do more, but applaud the progress and work towards betterment. It does no one any good to chastise these people for doing a good thing.

Chris Boyce said...

Flip, on April 4, 2010, at 11:30 AM said...

Wow. Is not not a shame that some people read a story like this and all they can do is spew venom. I think it is commendable what is being done. Of course we can always do more, but applaud the progress and work towards betterment. It does no one any good to chastise these people for doing a good thing.

**********************************

No, Flip. This is not commendable. What the TSA did by plastering it all over the internet and on this blog was exploitation.

If this act was commendable, don't you think it's strange that the Army didn't release a joint press release to thank the TSA for coming out to WRAMC?

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Speaking of exploitation.

Flip's post was an exploitation of this blog to get the link to his real estate services onto the blog.

As the pirate said; "That's irony that is."

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Speaking of exploitation.

Flip's post was an exploitation of this blog to get the link to his real estate services onto the blog.

As the pirate said; "That's irony that is."

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...
Anon sez - "Great. Please provide me the link where a severely injured civilian can apply for special assistance. You have provided the link for veterans, so it shouldn't be a problem for you to demonstrate the existence of a parallel program for civilians."

I posted some earlier, you can use those to get some info. One thing to keep in mind is that the Wounded Warrior project is a private agency. I hope to see some outreach programs from other private agencies to assist other folks with disabilities as well. That would be a really great step forward as the WW project was at this point.

West
TSA Blog Team

-----------------------------
West,
I wrote a fairly lengthy response which in no way violated your blog's terms, but as your comment-approval process is as arbitrary and worthless as your screening procedures, it was not posted.

I've already wasted enough time going through your links and responding to them, so I won't do it again. Suffice it to say that none-- not a single one-- of your links revealed the existence of a parallel program for severely wounded civilians. Kindly refrain from wasting my time by dumping a load of web links and pretending that you have answered my question.

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "West,
I wrote a fairly lengthy response which in no way violated your blog's terms, but as your comment-approval process is as arbitrary and worthless as your screening procedures, it was not posted.

I've already wasted enough time going through your links and responding to them, so I won't do it again. Suffice it to say that none-- not a single one-- of your links revealed the existence of a parallel program for severely wounded civilians. Kindly refrain from wasting my time by dumping a load of web links and pretending that you have answered my question."

I answered your question by indicating that the Wounded Warrior project is a private organization that cooperates with DOD and the TSA. I do not know of another group that coordinates with TSA to assist non-military passengers. The links I posted give information on groups that do some of the same things the WW project does. If you would like to form a not for profit group, establish protocols for assisting non-military members on transitting the airports and coordinate with TSA HQ, I will personally send the info to my chain of command and recommend them just like I would the WWP. I would love to see more coordination for folks that need additional time and help, and would work with any group that is trying to do the same thing as the WWP. Do you know of any groups that provide these services? If you do, please list their contact info here and I will try to get them some assistance in coordinating with HQ.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

"I do not know of another group that coordinates with TSA to assist non-military passengers."
===============================

Finally, an answer! Really, how hard was that?

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Finally, an answer! Really, how hard was that?"

I am looking for your point. I was publishing information trying to assist folks that are not eligible to participate in the WWP and you are trying to .... What exactly? Do you have a group that you know of that coordinates with TSA that I have missed? Do you know of a group that I could reach out to and see if I could make transiting the airport better for passengers with disabilities that are not eligible to participate in teh WWP? I would welcome any information you have that would help reach out to this group of passengers.

West
TSA Blog Team

Jon said...

I wonder if private enterprise would actually be able to screen passengers with less of a one-size fits all approach. As I see it, the problem of a vast federalized program is that it discourages flexibility. It moves in the opposite direction of individual rights. Perhaps given some realistic flexibility, private enterprise would be able to more closely tailor their searches to fit the needs of all individuals including our wounded vets as opposed to requiring everyone to conform to the inflexibility of a standardized system.

Jason Moffat said...

I agree, we as a nation should respect the veterans and not make them feel out of place, but we do need to make sure the public is safe, I think the veterans understand this and won't take it to heart.

SFC MAC said...

The Transportation Stupidity Agency has no common sense.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2013/mar/19/tsa-agents-humiliated-wounded-marine-aggressive-in/

Tammy said...

The Wounded Warriors Project has been extraordinary. However, there is still a great deal of public awareness that needs to made for these brave souls.

I would love to hear from some wounded warriors on what their experiences have been in working in thereal estate industry.