Local MSP, David Stewart, Labour, has asked the First Minister about the risk of fire and lack of sprinklers in Scotland’s older schools.
During First Minister’s Questions today he said:
“The First Minister will be well aware, from reports in yesterday’s Times, that only a quarter of Scotland’s schools have sprinklers installed to slow down fires.
“According to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, 66 primary and secondary schools face a high risk of fires.
“New schools of course require sprinklers, but will the First Minister arrange an urgent new year’s meeting with local authorities to identify high risk older schools to retrofit sprinklers to protect our pupils, our teachers, and our staff.”
Nicola Sturgeon thanked Mr Stewart for raising the important issue and said she would ask the Deputy First Minister to respond in detail, including on the suggestion of a meeting in the New Year.
But, she also pointed out, it was up to local authorities, which were responsible for the school estate, working with the fire and rescue service, to ensure fire safety plans were in place, and said the government had invested in the fabric of the school estate.
Mr Stewart previously introduced a Member’s Bill in the Scottish Parliament, leading a campaign for greater fire safety measures in Scottish social housing.
As a result, the Scottish Government is taking forward Mr Stewart’s Bill, which requires fire sprinkler systems to be installed into all new-build social housing across Scotland, as a method of tackling Scotland’s high rates of fire death and injury.
Sprinklers are mandatory in all new schools in Scotland and Wales.
All homes in Scotland will have to have a smoke alarm fitted in the living room or lounge, and in circulation spaces such as hallways and landings. Every kitchen must have a heat alarm, and the alarms will have to be interlinked so they can be heard throughout the property. There must also be a carbon monoxide alarm where there are fixed combustion appliances. The standard comes into force in February 2021. You can find out more about that by clicking on this link: Fire and smoke alarms: tolerable standard guidance