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VIEWS & OPINION


The hidden dange r of fire ext Comment by ROBERT THILT


RT LTHORPE, FIA Te chnicalManage r


Fire extinguishers are a vital part of fire protection, but all too often, they get misused as door stops or worse – left in a corner and forgotten about. But ignored fire extinguishers have a hidden danger: a failure to operate if not properly maintained.


Fire extinguishers play a very important role in first aid fire-fighting. They can mean the difference between a small localised incident that is to find a raging nt at risk.


inferno which is quickly put out,


putting life, property and environme or the fire and rescue service arriving


Hopefully there would never be the need to use a fire extinguisher, but if there was, you’d certainly want the extinguisher to work as expected. As such, there is a need for proper maintenance. For example, if the safety pin in the extinguisher has corroded, it will mean that the pin cannot be removed, rendering the fire extinguisher inoperable. Annual checks by a competent Fire Extinguisher Technician, who has the relevant training, qualifications, experience, tools, equipment, and access to refills and components, would identify and rectify this type of issue, cleaning and lubricating, or replacing the pin if necessary. When a Fire Extinguisher Technician visits, each extinguisher is subjbject to a stringent 20-point check before it can be signed They will be able to identify any extinguisher which h


as reached end-of- off as safe to use.


life before you end up with an extinguisher that won’t work or, worse, becomes a danger to your or your employees.


When selecting a service provider to inspect and maintain your


extinguishers it is essential to ensure the competence of the company and / or individual being employed to carry out inspection and maintenance,


as not all service providers will be the level of competency you’d expect and hope for. This means that you could have extinguishers that may ‘serviced’ but may still not operate correctly.


to carry ou The Hea have been


lth and Safety atWork Regulations require a competent person t the inspection and maintenance of extinguishers. Any


technician must have the correct training and expertise to be able to do this properly.


You also rely quite heavily on the organisation behind the technician . For your own protection, they should be third-party assessed, carry the right liability insurances, and provide the technician with tools, the correct spares and refills for your extinguishers. They should also be members of a recognised Trade Association (such as The Fire Industry Association) who alert their members to extinguisher-manufacturer safety notices & recalls.


The Fire Industry Association (FIA) is the UK’s largest fire protection trade association, with over 750 member companies.Membership to the Association is subject to strict competency rules – so you can be assured that those carrying the FIA logo on their websites are fire protection companies that have been certified and will be able to offer their professional services to you.


To find a list of competent fire extinguishing service companies, visit the Fire Industry Association website and click ‘Find aMember’. There, you will be able to filter the list of companies by service and by location and be reassured that all of the listed companies have had sufficien t training a nd are certified to do the job correctly .


VIEWS & OPINIO N xtinguishers


Making education fit for purpose Comment by FELICIA JACKSON, Chair of the Learn2Think Foundation


As the information revolution continues there is increasing concern that the current approach to education is no longer fit for purpose. At this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos JackMa, founder of Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba warned that the knowledge-based approach to education was out of date, and would “fail our kids’ who will never be able to compete with computers.


Ma recommends that children are taught skills such as independent thinking, values and team work. The challenge remains how such approaches can be deployed across the educational system without increasing the burden on teachers.Many teachers already feel underpaid and underappreciated, so the addition of currently extra curricula approaches may seem onerous. Perhaps what we need to see is a new approach to teaching today, less focused on drilling in the right answers and more on understanding the importance of questioning, flexibility of thought and collaboration. One of the things that Professor AlexMoore points out in his book The Good Teacher, is that it’s difficult to be specific about what makes a good teacher because th at oversimplifies what are an incredibly complex mixture of issues and skills. And it’s this recognition of complexity as a good thing that we need to bring back to the forefront of education.


The issue of social media and digital literacy has dominated many recent discussions, with a focus on teaching children to manage their involvement in such environments. Isn’t it more important to teach child fundamental skill of assessing this information?


Such an approach also provides the framework on wh Marc h 02 1 8 2018


ich children can build ren the more


Making education fit for purpose Comment by FELICIA JACKSON, Chair of the Learn2Think Foundation


the ability to, if not control the environment around them, gain agency, resilience and social skills. This can build up children’s ability to work creatively and collaboratively, developing the intellectual humility to understand that no one needs to “be right”. Given the nature of the modern world, these ar e essential life skills.


Deborah Brentzman talked about teaching being a process of becoming and we need to see education as a sector where teachers and students are always in the process of becoming. And part of this is the recognition, for both teachers and students, that they are not working alone.


Teachers are increasingly nervous about sharing concerns, with potential career opportunities and the possibly negative impact of sharing a problem with colleagues. Given the ‘messy complexity of the classroom’ perhaps it’s time that we looked at the ‘messy complexity’ of teaching and find ways to bring teachers together to explore and grow, away from the prescriptive nature of achieving standardised attainment tests for children.


sense of w Today’s


educational culture is focused on outcomes rather than instilling a onder and opportunity, which can h ave a negative effect on pupil s and teachers.We encourage teachers and pupils not to succumb to the apparent strictures of the current curriculum but to suffuse every lesson with discussion, teamwork, creativity and choice.


It’s famously been said that if you get used to conformity your ability to think autonomously and relate to others will be seriously limited. Perhaps if we can find a way to use what’s messy, we can put collaboration, critical thinking and creativity back at the heart of education.


www. wwweducation-toda y.co.uk.co.uk 32


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