Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Fire alarms and a lesson in lunacy


CLIMATE activists have already gone too far. Not content with disrupting thousands of people getting to work, targeting and endangering international travellers (remember the mindless attempt by Extinction Rebellion to shut down Heathrow Airport by illegally flying drones close to airliners), encouraging children to bunk off school and adopt unhealthy eating fads, now, in the name of saving the planet, it seems they are prepared to risk lives.

The National Education Union, representing the majority of teachers, amongst its irresponsible and inappropriate encouragement of climate activism, has endorsed one particularly daft and life-endangering move by Doncaster Council to meddle in school fire practices – to set off their fire alarms as a climate strike protest.

It’s somewhat ironic that a union supposedly ‘committed to making the education sector a great place to work and a great place to learn’ is prepared to abuse an essential life-saving regulation to make a controversial political point outside its educational remit.

Once schools start using fire alarms to dramatise the threatened apocalypse, when will the child recognise it for real? That it means an actual fire?

Perhaps they’ve forgotten Grenfell Tower and the fact the people do die in fires (there were 334 fire-related deaths in the UK in 2017) and that fire regulations are ones that nobody contests. So why on earth do these climate-strike schools, Doncaster Council and the NEU think it is clever or, appropriate, to use (abuse) fire detection and alarm systems for anything other than a fire or fire practice? Do they think they are above the law?

Perhaps they’ve forgotten that since the passing of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – which mandated all employees to have ‘adequate fire safety training’ and to be able to identify those ‘who may be especially at risk’ in the event of a fire – schools have redoubled their efforts to ensure that all pupils are educated on fire prevention and escape. Which is also why the London Fire Brigade advertise and carry out fire safety programmes for more than 100,000 pupils annually. It’s crucial in raising a competent, fire-safe young generation.

The NEU seems prepared to compromise this, despite the fact that two-thirds of English schools have been found to have ‘poor’ fire protection and the recommendation that sprinklers should be mandatory. 

Let’s hope the NEU sees sense before these are installed, or soaking children and flooded schools will another price we have pay to prevent the end of the world.

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Ben Dolbear
Ben Dolbear
Ben Dolbear is a twenty-year-old student of Literature and a Parish Councillor for the Conservative Party.

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