As critical infrastructure takes on more technology to detect threats, expect more false alarms from sources that are unexpected. For example, radiation detected at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank last Friday was traced to an airport employee who recently underwent a medical procedure, airport officials said. A radiation security device detected radiation around 12:50 p.m. A Southwest Airlines passenger gate was closed for about an hour as police, firefighters, a hazardous materials team, and sheriff’s personnel all converged on the airport. The all-clear was given about an hour later, and airport officials said no one was ever in danger. Airport officials later told ABC7 TV that an employee who had recently undergone a medical procedure involving nuclear medicine, such as a radiation treatment for cancer, set off the alarm. A spokesperson for the Airport Police told the TV station the employee was “inside the fence’’ on the airfield when the alert went off. Even though it was a false alarm, an airport official told the TV station that travelers should feel good that the equipment works, is extremely sensitive, and can detect radiation at a great distance.

Do you have a story about a similar false alarm? Email