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New flashlights detect alcohol
Officer Joshua Johnson, 22nd Security Forces Squadron patrolman, demonstrates the use of the Passive Alcohol Sensor IV on a common access card April 28, 2010, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The PAS IV senses the alcohol through small silent pump located near the mouth of the light that draws an air sample when a person speaks. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Abigail Klein)
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New flashlights detect alcohol

Posted 4/29/2010   Updated 5/3/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Senior Airman Abigail Klein
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


4/29/2010 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- In a proactive effort to deter people from driving under influence, the 22nd Security Forces Squadron will begin using new flashlights capable of detecting the presence of alcohol.

McConnell is one of the first Air Mobility Command bases to utilize the Passive Alcohol Sensor IV (also called "the sniffer"), a tool already implemented by local law enforcement, capable of identifying the presence of alcohol ten inches away from a person's mouth.

The PAS IV senses the alcohol through small silent pump located near the mouth of the light that draws an air sample when a person speaks. If alcohol vapor passes over a fuel cell inside the flashlight an electronic current is generated, triggering a multicolored bar graph display on the flashlight.

The light bars indicate alcohol in the air sample, said Staff Sgt. Steven Pillar, 22nd SFS training instructor.

The light bars are based on measurement using the following scale:

· Green Bars Lit -- .01 to .02 percent (percent equated to legal drinking limit) alcohol is present in the air sample
· Yellow Bars Lit - 0.03 to .06 percent, alcohol is present in the air sample, this is the legal drinking limit for certain commercial vehicles and aircraft.
· Red Bars Lit - 0.08 to 0.12 percent, alcohol is present in the air sample, this is the legal drinking limit for private vehicles

McConnell's Drug Demand Reduction Program staff members continually research ways to educate Airmen on the risks associated with alcohol use. In the fall of 2009, they suggested the use of the PAS IV.

"We need to be proactive in helping people make responsible choices," said Lisa Bowser, 22nd Medical Group DDRP manager. "The PAS IV can be a great deterrence for DUIs."

By releasing information about the new device early, the DDRP staff and 22nd SFS hope to further encourage people not to drive under the influence.

"Having this device will make [22nd SFS's] job more efficient," said Mr. Kenneth J. Chrapkowski, 22nd SFS civilian operations officer. "The knowledge that we have a device like this will also help to deter DUI incidents by making people think twice before they drink and drive."

Because the PAS IV does not actually measures breath related alcohol content, only alcohol vapors in the air, traditional sobriety tests and breathalyzers will still be administered to suspected of DUIs or alcohol use.

"Though [PAS IV] is not enough for probable cause, it is another tool we can use while at the gate to help our guards recognize drunken driving," said Sergeant Pillar.

To ensure proper use of the PAS IV, members of the 22nd SFS began flight training in February. Since February, more than 90 members of SFS have undergone the training.

Security Forces is scheduled to begin using the PAS IV is scheduled for the 2010 Memorial Day weekend in conjunction with the kick-off of the "101 Critical Days of Summer."

For more information about the PAS IV, visit the Web site at www.pasintl.com. For more information about the DDRP at McConnell, call (316) 312-6369. 
 



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