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The TSA is gearing up for the holiday travel season, and the federal agency wants to make the experience a little easier for travelers with medical devices or medical conditions.
“The (TSA) checkpoint should not be a barrier and we don’t want people to think it is. We have ways of making sure that people can get through in a convenient and respectful manner,” Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said Friday at Lehigh Valley International Airport.
In front of Farbstein was a table full of medical devices, including crutches, a nebulizer, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, diabetes-related equipment and medication, and ostomy bags. All can be taken through the TSA checkpoint.
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Medical issues do not prevent passengers from being screened, and agents cane make accommodations to make the process more comfortable.
Travelers with medical issues, disabilities or special circumstances can visit the Transportation Security Administration’s website or call its toll-free helpline at 855-787-2227 before arriving at the airport, Farbstein said.
If a person wants to discretely make officers aware of a medical issue, a TSA notification card can be found on its website. The card can be handed to a TSA officer at the checkpoint.
“It’s not a get out-of-screening free card,” Farbstein said.
People on crutches can be seated as the crutches are screened, private screening rooms are available and traveling companions can be brought with a person.
For travelers with prosthesis, TSA officers will never ask a person to remove their prosthetic device, David Montanye, a lead TSA officer at LVIA.
“Some people will volunteer to remove it, and that’s up to them,” he said.
People with medical implants can choose to go through the body scanner, rather than the metal detector.
Persons with disabilities and medical conditions are not required to remove their shoes, but the shoes must undergo additional screening.
As for medications, medically necessary liquids, medications and creams in excess of 3.4 ounces can be brought in a carry-on bag.
The medications must be removed from the bag and separated from other items in order to be screened. TSA officers may test liquids, gels or aerosols for explosives or concealed prohibited items.
The TSA has a list of information and recommendations for travelers with medical conditions or devices here.
Sarah Cassi may be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @SarahCassi. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.