Training is important to the achievements of any business but for security personnel it is essential.  Few other jobs are performed by such a large number of people across the country but yet have such a high level of responsibility and importance. When a task involves preventing potential attacks to our infrastructure, our citizens or our country, it is fundamental that proper training and education is provided for those in charge. For some of you who work in the detection and security field, such as TSA members,training is already a requirement of the job but unfortunately it is often treated as more of a mandatory requirement rather than an essential educational experience. There are many reasons for this, including focus on throughput and the current needs rather than future, lack of time or simply not understanding the benefits. But while training in the security and trace explosives detection field can be easy to overlook, it is essential and will only serve to better employees, their companies and ultimately, the security and safety of our nation.

The number one reason for explosive detection training, and admittedly often the most justifiable, is the development of effective screening and operation techniques. Without training in the proper use of equipment, an employee is essentially useless to the task of explosive trace detection. Understanding of correct machine operation and maintenance is the building blocks of any effective safety program and obviously is an essential part of new employee and ongoing staff training.  This training is the only way to ensure the effectiveness and ability of employees to properly detect the trace particles of explosives and narcotics that those in our field are tasked with finding. But as many will confess, even the most basic policies and teachings are easily forgotten when the priority is placed on throughput and immediate results. Ongoing training, support and experience is necessary for the continued improvement and success of security screeners and must be supported by the company’s policies and management officials. Every part of the management at a company is responsible for sustaining and supporting ongoing training and education otherwise, there is no point and will ultimately waste everyone’s time. Cheap training will result in cheap work and it must be understood that quality employees require quality training programs. Excellent training programs emphasize a correlation between personal development and official evaluations, allowing an employee to discern that career growth and success means evolving their expertise with training.

It is an undeniable fact, a better trained employee is a more efficient employee. A focus on employee efficiency and productivity through directed training and education creates quicker, more engaged and more responsive personnel. Training is most effective when it is developed to provide an extensive, multi-faceted process that enables employees to grow their confidence and have the knowledge to meet the challenges they face each day. Training leads to quicker employees who have the confidence and skills to easily screen large groups of people and quickly eliminate or investigate potential security threats. Well trained staff reduces the risks of potential mishaps or errors within the business and it conditions the employee to give his or her best in any given task. In this respect, a better trained employee saves money through faster results and increased throughput. Well-educated staff also reduces the wear and tear of improper machine use and maintenance. Maintenance is often the largest cost of ownership for ETD machines and human error contributes a large part to this. Employee training develops the skills and concern for equipment care and upkeep that goes towards reducing yearly servicing and repair cost.

Employee training is important for any organization’s success but when tasked with protecting the public from dangerous substances, it is vital. Despite the importance of training, there can often be resistance from both employees and managers who may claim that training is taking them away from their work. However, it important not to become complacent in our roles and continue  to provide our employees with the best trace explosives detection training and education available.