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May 27, 2003

TSA Smoothes the Way for "Persons with Disabilities"

From: Department of Homeland Security (press release) - May 27, 2003

For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary May 27, 2003

Persons with disabilities will find travel smoother due to the advanced training of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners. Today, TSA announced its Persons with Disabilities Program dedicated to providing a more secure and dignified program for screening persons with disabilities. The announcement was made at a news conference at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

TSA designed, with the help of various groups representing persons with disabilities, a screener training program that provides better security and customer service to affected travelers.

"Before September 11, 2001, persons with disabilities were on their own, unsure of how they would be treated at the security checkpoint," said Admiral James M. Loy, TSA Administrator. "Today, our professional screeners have the unique opportunity to better serve this group of Americans."

"I used to dread going to the airport but now the screeners are not only considerate, but they understand exactly how to deal with my disability," said Ruth Ann Miller, Community Outreach Coordinator, Making Choices for Independent Living and member of TSA Disability Coalition.

Sandra Cammaroto developed the program as the first manager of the TSA Screening of Persons with Disabilities Program. Before TSA, there were no specific or consistent procedures to screen persons with disabilities. The program was designed to train TSA screeners how to screen consistently, safely and with sensitivity to individual needs. In addition, TSA publishes travel tips on its website so persons with disabilities can learn what to expect at security checkpoints.

"TSA's goal is to ensure that every passenger with a disability knows what to expect at every airport, every time, everywhere," said Cammaroto.

Cammaroto focused the program on passengers whose disabilities fall into four categories -- mobility, visual, hearing, and hidden. 'Mobility' refers to limitation of body movement, and involves people using wheelchairs, scooters, crutches, canes, etc. 'Hearing' includes persons who are deaf or have a hearing loss. 'Visual' includes persons who are blind or have limited (low) vision. And, 'Hidden' refers to persons who have heart and lung conditions, diabetes, brain injuries, etc., and may be using devices such as a pacemaker, insulin pumps, or other devices.

For more information and to learn about the travel tips for persons with disabilities, please visit our website at .