Christmas card or potential threat – your operator should know

Security checks are put in place to keep people safe by ensuring that dangerous items don’t make their way into buildings and venues, or at least, that is what is supposed to happen. Unfortunately, that is not always the case as all too often the operators of X-ray equipment are unsure what they are looking at. And perhaps this isn’t surprising, after all, how many people do you know who are just born with a natural ability to discern an explosive device from an electronic greetings card on an X-ray? We would guess none, as this is a skill that needs to be learnt. This is why we, here at Todd Research, have been providing operator training for several years and have recently added online courses to our repertoire.

Knowledge is the best gift

Fighting terrorism is not an easy task, with potential perpetrators gaining access to ever-more advanced technology. Successfully preventing an attack requires the use of every item in the toolbox, and one powerful option that should not be overlooked is well-trained staff. Unfortunately, good security courses can be hard to find, and some even allow the participants to achieve certification without ensuring that all the necessary concepts have been properly understood. This clearly shows that there is a need to support the security staff, providing them with courses that will give them the knowledge they need to do their jobs with confidence, trusting in their own judgment.

Granting wishes

Todd Research has always known that an X-ray scanner – or any other piece of security equipment – is only as good as the person using it, and the company has therefore included operator training among its services since 1973. Training has historically been carried out either during a maintenance visit or on request, but in these new COVID times, there have been several requests for an e-course version of the tutorial. We are delighted to say that we can now grant our customers’ wishes and, starting this year, there are two online courses available – one aimed at operators of conveyor type X-ray scanners, and one for users of cabinet models. This will make life far easier for our customers based far away from our office, as well as those who want to stay isolated but still want to take advantage of what we have to offer.

You’d better be good

When we were designing this course, it was very important for us to make sure that there was no way to bypass any sections without learning all the important underlying concepts. The tutorial consists of four chapters and there is a test at the end of each one that participants need to complete to move on. The topper on the tree is our visual test showing images from our scanners, where they must decide if there is a threat or not – is it a Christmas card, or an explosive device?

And here is the interesting part, how many correct answers does someone need to have to pass the test? Well, consider if it was you or your loved ones entering an event? How sure do you want to be that it is safe? Is 70 % enough? Or should it be 80 % or 90 %? Here at Todd Research, we believe that it has to be 100 %. A perpetrator needs to only get lucky once, while the operator has to be correct all the time as the consequences of an error could be devastating. We have therefore set the pass limit for the visual test to 100 %. You might think this is harsh, but just remember what is at stake.

A well-received gift

Although our online course may sound difficult, we’ve had great feedback from the users – even those who have never used an X-ray scanner before in their lives. The vast majority found that the content was extremely relevant to their work, and 85 % percent said that the course greatly improved their knowledge, increasing their competence, and making them feel more confident at their jobs.

If you have employees who would find our training useful, feel free to send them our way and join in our effort to make the world a safer place.