Securing wheelchairs and their users is something that must be done properly, every time. To help its customers do just that, Unwin holds regular training sessions at its Martock, Somerset headquartersUnwin’s training is hands-on and it attracts a variety of participantsSecuring a wheelchair user is among the most important jobs that drivers of minibuses undertake, but have yours been given sufficient training to ensure that they do so correctly?The answer to that may be no, because sessions held by accessible transport solutions specialist Unwin demonstrate that it is far from a straightforward task. That may come as a surprise to some, but the consequences can be disastrous if things go wrong because of a driver’s lack of knowledge.Unwin carries out comprehensive training on wheelchair and occupant securement at its Martock premises in Somerset; it can also be held an operator’s base.Training is handled in an adult and comprehensive manner. The course is suitable for drivers, and it is also something that managers may benefit from attending too, along with individuals who are designated depot trainers.Separate sessions on Unwin’s range of lifts are also offered, with dates usually based around customers’ requirements.At the beginningCorrect use of wheelchair and occupant securing equipment is covered during the tuition, but the day begins with a look at what’s important before staff are let loose with webbing, karabiners, seatbelts and more.“Drivers need good communication skills, and not just with passengers. They must also be able to speak effectively to parents or carers,” says Unwin Marketing Co-Ordinator Florence Vaughan-France.The importance of that is reinforced during the training, which Florence leads. Other relevant topics include the need not to invade a passenger’s personal space, and ensuring that they are not touched in a manner that could be construed as inappropriate.“Drivers should talk to the passenger, and not their parent or carer. They should also bear in mind that their own safety is just as important as that of passengers, because if the driver is injured, everyone on the minibus is in trouble,” she adds.Participant numbers are limited, allowing most value to be taken from dayVarious other things should also be considered. If securing equipment was in use in a vehicle that was involved in an accident, it could be damaged without it being obvious. As a result, all such items should not merely be discarded; they should be destroyed to prevent re-use.Additionally, the importance of correctly stowing equipment when it is not required is emphasised. Items are not designed to be left in tracking rails when they are not needed, and damage may result if they are.Getting it doneWith the basics covered, talk moves on to the practical aspects of securing wheelchairs and their users correctly.What may not be fully appreciated by all drivers is that they have a legal requirement to ensure that passengers are restrained effectively. Should the worst happen, they could potentially find themselves explaining in court why they had failed to do so.Detailed instructions are given on how to correctly secure wheelchairs and their users with Unwin’s products, and participants can also see exactly how those items are manufactured.Hands-on experience comes through the opportunity to practice using a number of demonstration chairs mounted on tracking-equipped boards, along with live volunteers.That gives the chance to gain knowledge of best practice for Unwin’s range of tie-downs: The standard model, the Quattro and Quattro Express retractable and self-retracting variants respectively, and the high-capacity Titan.The latter is a six-point set-up able to secure wheelchairs that (without the occupant) weigh up to 200kg. Both Quattro models come in 100kg and 120kg four-point layouts and they are compatible with the tongue and buckle, karabiner, and hook methods of attaching webbing to the wheelchair. Titan works only with a karabiner.Importance of correctly stowing and maintaining equipment is stressedAlso examined are combined wheelchair and occupant restraint systems, along with stand-alone seatbelts for the user. Course participants are encouraged to get their hands dirty and practice with all of these items.Why attend?2017’s final training session was held in November. It attracted a full house; Unwin restricts attendee numbers to 12 to ensure that all participants can gain hands-on experience.November’s delegates were a mixed bunch. Some were drivers, but others included local authority representatives, and also two managers from a company that handles one council’s accessible minibus work on an outsourced basis.The training is just as relevant for these managers as it is for drivers. As it includes elements of legislation, it gives an opportunity for them to ensure their operation’s compliance, allowing them to reassure more senior staff that the day-to-day operation is on track legally.Additionally, it gives the opportunity to share best practice with, and learn from, others. As an example, one topic of debate centred on what actions the driver should take when a passenger refuses to co-operate with the requirement for them and their wheelchair to be secured.That was just one point of discussion, illustrating that Unwin’s training is a valuable opportunity to stay up-to-date on what is a subject of vital importance for operators of accessible minibuses.Unwin will hold further training sessions, on both wheelchair and user securement and lift operation, throughout 2018. If you are interested in attending, email [email protected] for more information.
This dog was found Monday in Prairie Village.Dog found near 77th Street and Norwood in Prairie Village. Reader Kathy Casteel let us know her family had found a dog without any contact info on her tag running around near 77th and Norwood in Prairie Village Monday. They plan on taking the dog to animal control today, but if you know whose dog it is, you can contact the Casteels at 816-809-3679.Tim Grimes story makes front of KC Star sports section. Kansas City Star sports writer Sam Mellinger used his Sunday column to share the story of Tim Grimes, the SM East graduate recently diagnosed with stage four cancer: “The Royals’ winning ways have given Tim and his friends a rallying point. They’d find something else without baseball, certainly, but it probably wouldn’t be as fun. Dude, one of them texted the other day, I know this is serious but this is the most fun I’ve had in a while. Tim smiled. Me too, he wrote back.” [Royals’ playoff push has special meaning to fan diagnosed with cancer — Kansas City Star]Brownback court appointment draws opposition and support. Gov. Sam Brownback’s appointment of Caleb Stegall to the Kansas Supreme Court drew criticism from Democrats, including Paul Davis, but it was opposed by other groups as well. The MainStream Coalition in Johnson County weighed in over the weekend calling the appointment arrogant and contemptuous of the separation of powers. The Kansas Values Institute also called Stegall the least qualified of the nominees. Stegall, Brownback’s former chief counsel and lawyer for Phill Kline, was supported by the Americans for Prosperity, among others. [Brownback names Stegall to Kansas Supreme Court — Topeka Capital Journal]