We’re right in the middle of Diabetes Blog Week! Myself and many others are posting for 7 (seven!) straight days. Haven’t heard of Diabetes Blog Week? Get the lowdown by clicking on the banner above. Now, on to today’s subject:
Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) – get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change? (Thanks to Briley of inDpendence for this topic suggestion.)
Why yes, I do have an idea for a petition. I would like to see our community as a whole petition the Transportation Security Administration for some changes to their airport screening procedures. Among the changes I would propose:
– Providing agents with clear, up-to-date information on insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), meters, and durable medical supplies. Including pictures.
– Finding efficiencies in the pump/CGM screening process. If everything goes well, we have to stand (while our traveling companions wait) as we touch our devices, then get them and the devices swabbed. Then the swabbage gets checked out with a machine that tells us whether there is any explosive residue anywhere. To begin with, this takes too long. It also saps resources that might be better used in another part of the screening process. You don’t have time to check for knives and scissors, but you have time to swab my pump and my hands and question me about something that many travelers wear every day? How is that helping to find potential terrorists?
– Providing advocacy for all affected travelers. This is remarkably important. If you’re “randomly selected for additional screening”, once you go beyond the security door, you’re on your own. Why? Is this still America (at least where I live)? Can’t I at least have an advocate in my court who can let my traveling companions know what’s going on? How about an advocate that is well versed in what is appropriate behavior, language, procedures, etc., so I don’t have to be every time I fly? An advocate who, in the event of hypoglycemia during the screening, can advocate on my behalf so I can get access to my juice boxes, Glucolifts, or Honey Stingers?
– And while we’re at it, how about requiring a specific level of training for TSA staff? Meaning, all TSA staff? I’m still waiting for the first time that I’m handled the same way in the screening process on both ends of a round trip flight. I shouldn’t be told to go through the metal detector at one airport, then through the full body scanner in another. I shouldn’t be told that I don’t have to remove my medical supplies from my carry on in one airport, then get yelled at for not removing it from my carry on in another airport on my trip home. TSA staff must be more consistent in how they handle everyone, including People With Diabetes.
So that’s it… Clear information. More efficiency when screening our devices. Advocacy for travelers (why does a murderer get an attorney when they need one, but travelers aren’t represented at all in the screening process?). Specific, consistent training for TSA screeners. That’s fair. And it’s not a lot to ask for. It would help us all to feel better while at the same time feeling safer.