Fire service urges caution over classroom ‘door chopping’ plans

The move is in response to concerns over air flow in classrooms and the spread of coronavirus.

Fire service urges caution over classroom ‘door chopping’ plans iStock

Scotland’s fire service has urged caution over plans to cut classroom doors in a bid to improve ventilation.

It was announced earlier this week that £300,000 would be made available by the Scottish Government so that around 2000 doors can be ‘undercut to increase air flow’.

The proposal has been discussed in response to concerns over high levels of CO2 and the spread of Covid-19.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the measures set out to increase air flow are “basic common sense”.

But, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the move to chop the bottom off of doors had been “met with derision”.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) indicated that anyone who is intending to undertake such an action should contact their fire safety enforcement teams before doing so.

“We are aware of the financial support which has been provided by the Scottish Government to local authorities to support Covid ventilation arrangements within schools,” they said.

“Internal doors play a key role in preventing smoke and fire from spreading within buildings.

“As such the SFRS would strongly advise duty holders to make contact with our fire safety enforcement teams before undertaking any actions which would have an impact on the fire safety arrangements within their premises.”

Scottish Conservative spokesperson for children and young people, Meghan Gallacher, urged the First Minister to recognise that the proposal is “illogical” and “potentially dangerous”.

“Nicola Sturgeon has to listen to experts and halt her frankly absurd plans to chop up classroom doors,” she said.

“The First Minister has to stop digging in and recognise her proposal is illogical and even potentially dangerous, according to fire safety experts.

“Nicola Sturgeon dismissed valid concerns from a retired firefighter yesterday and claimed her plan was ‘common sense’. She must listen now that Scotland’s fire service is advising caution.

“She should really be writing to every school in Scotland to make sure they listen to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, and not her words at First Minister’s Questions.

“Our schools need more air filters to protect against Covid. They don’t need classroom doors chopped up.”