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May 20, 2022

How Accurate is the Measuring Instrument Used to Serve You

A big part of what the Bureau of Standards does is to calibrate a lot of the instruments that are used to determine a certain gauge or measurement in the public, such as scales used to weigh shop and market produce. But has it ever crossed your mind whether the blood pressure gauge used to take your pressure, or the one used to take your glucose level is properly calibrated? How about the meters attached to your homes that determine how much electricity or water your family consumes each month? While the government’s utility companies have their own in-house calibration units and there is no law in place that prescribes for the Bureau of Standards to calibrate those meters, the bureau encourages medical institutions, particularly those in the private sector, to use its services to calibrate its measuring instruments. Most of the fuel pumps at gas stations are calibrated by the bureau. David Guerra, a Metrology Officer at the Bureau of Standards explained how instruments are calibrated and verified.


David Guerra

David Guerra, Metrology Officer, Bureau of Standards

“When you put in fuel, when you go to the pumps, you pump in twenty dollars gas – I don’t know how much you get these days – you get five gallons of gas. You take it for granted that the dispenser is dispensing your five gallons and that it’s matching the correct price that has been determined. But how do we determine that? How do we ensure that? Through calibration and verification of the equipment. There’s a difference between both of them. When we talk about verification, it’s taking a measuring instrument and determining whether or not its meeting certain manufacture requirements. Is it doing what it’s meant to do? Yes or no? It either fails or it passes. Whereas calibration takes a measuring instrument and we compare it with another measuring instrument or reference that we know or we have confidence on what the status of this measuring instrument is. The next time you go to the store and you make a purchase, the next time you pump gas, the next time you go to your doctor, think about those results that you’re receiving and maybe even ask him. This year or next fiscal year, what we want is to do another survey to see what types of measuring instruments are out there again to see how the Bureau is going to further develop in terms of meteorology.”

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