Explosive testing

By Noelh | Oct 22, 2017, 03:21 PM
We all know that there is a random explosives test done after the x-ray screening. However can this be carried out as one test for three people? Have the rules changed? Normally I have been tested as one person at a time.
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By SeatNextToYours | Oct 22, 2017, 04:26 PM
If the test had come up as positive, wouldn't they then have to swab each person individually anyway?
Ridiculous.
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By Taylor | Oct 22, 2017, 04:30 PM
Hi Noelh -

I was exiting via Melb in August and put with a family i didnt know and was tested with the family and child (including pram), so all up 4 people. I have in the past always been and seen testing done on a solo basis, so dont know what has changed..
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By sdtravel | Oct 23, 2017, 08:19 AM
Ive only seen it in Melb. Seems ridiculous. But i guess its a way of swabbing more people and cutting down consumables.

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By SeatNextToYours | Oct 23, 2017, 09:31 AM
I've never seen, nor heard of anyone testing positive.
Has anyone here ever set off the analyser? Perhaps a groundskeeper, covered in fertiliser, without time to shower/change before a flight...
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By PCHammond | Oct 23, 2017, 10:09 AM
I get tested 90% of the time I go through the security checkpoint, both locally and overseas. Never seen multiple people swabbed at Melb, but I have only gone through Melb twice in the last few years.

One guy told me that he often gets positives from farmers shoes, but hasn't seen any other positives. He said if they turn up positive, they get taken to another room for further tests and a brief interview.
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By watson374 | Oct 23, 2017, 10:30 AM
Using the same explosive trace detection swab on multiple people appears to be a Melbourne thing.

The idea basically goes like this:
- Most people turn up negative;
- Most of the time spent on the test is waiting for a result from the analyser;
- There is no real difference between x people turning up negative on x swabs and x people turning up negative on the one swab;
- The probability of x people turning up positive on the one swab and thus needing to be further tested individually is very low;
- Therefore, using the same swab on multiple people is a more efficient use of resources.

Generally, you'll only be picked up if you've been using firearms on a farm or something, so there's rarely any cause for concern.
Last edited by watson374 at Oct 23, 2017, 10.31 AM.
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By ChrisCh | Oct 23, 2017, 11:44 AM
I've tested positive once, but it was a false positive (the machine gave a positive reading for semtex, which is a form of plastic explosive, which I certainly hasn't been touching). Procedure was to repeat the test three times across different machines to confirm the accuracy of the result. All three tests came up negative and that's all there was to it. No details required or further examination of baggage: was free to continue with my day. Imagine (and you'd hope) it would have been different if the further tests also resulted in alarms, but seemed like a common sense way of resolving a false positive without wasting too much of everyone's time. :)
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By Jyrn | Oct 23, 2017, 11:59 AM
[QUOTE=7083;41735]
I've never seen, nor heard of anyone testing positive.
Has anyone here ever set off the analyser? Perhaps a groundskeeper, covered in fertiliser, without time to shower/change before a flight...

[/QUOTE]

I am told that it used to be reasonably common in airports with a high number of FIFO mine staff as it is quite easy to be contaminated (especially shoes and other gear which is rarely washed) while on mine sites.

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By sdtravel | Oct 23, 2017, 01:20 PM
My experience in Melb was/is the one time i have gone through it on international.
When you enter customs there is a person directing people to go left or right. I had just arrived and since i didnt know better mistakenly just followed a bunch of people the person had directed to go right. I thought strange that people could go either direction but anyways ill just follow these guys. After the awesome group swap going through 4 or so people's bags they tested us and let us go. We were then directed to the end of the closet security line which also was quite long and security didnt allow us to move over to other lines.
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By passer-pete | Oct 25, 2017, 01:46 AM
wonder what explosive tests are like in Afghanistan airports, the country is so messed up. Has anyone ever travelled there?
I don't know anyone ever found positive, only saw this in movies
Last edited by ChrisCh at Oct 25, 2017, 09.58 AM.
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By MrT | Oct 27, 2017, 03:36 PM
Just got pulled in for a multiple person swab test (with non accompanying passengers) departing Hobart. First time I've seen it happen. Makes sense unless one person in the group tests positive, then everyone has to wait around for everyone to be individually re-swabbed
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