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TSA Bracing For Holiday Rush Through Airports

Michael Keating

The Transportation Security Administration expects 40 million people to go through airport security this holiday season. Regional spokesman Mark Howell says the agency starts planning early for security scheduling.

"We work with the airlines and the airports on a continuous basis to get projections from them," he says. "As they get the number of people that are buying tickets they share that with us and that helps us with the planning process. As we see which days and what hours are going to be heavier, we can put additional staff on during those hours."

The TSA says there will be up to 1,400 more officers working at the 50 busiest airports this season, through the use of overtime and extra hours for part-time agents.

The agency is using more canine teams to speed up security lines. Howell says the dogs screen for explosives.

"They just do a quick sniff of you as you're walking by. And we can deem you low risk for the threat of explosives instantaneously. When we can do that, we can offer sometimes an expedited screening process and that's going to speed the whole thing up for everybody."

Howell says the dog teams can be moved between terminals and airports based on traffic needs.

A rule about electronic devices has changed. Howell says it applies to anything bigger than a cell phone.

"If you have those iPads, tablets, cameras, you need to remove those from your carry-on bag and place them for screening in a separate bin. Doing that's going to give us a clearer X-ray image for the operator that's working in that lane."

Howell says food isn't covered by the rule, but the TSA still asks people put edibles in a separate bin to move things along.

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Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio: and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.