Some opponents of safe standing, not grasping the design of rail seats, suggest that rail seating would make it more difficult for paramedics to get to an unwell fan or to help them out. The opposite is actualy true, thanks to wider 'clearways'.
Now, unless you're a stadium designer or safety expert, you've probably never heard of the term clearway in a football context. However, if you find yourself needing to refute the suggestion that rail seating makes it hard to gain access to unwell fans, it is a term you'll want to understand.
The 'clearway' in a grandstand is the clear path available to a person when walking along a row of seats, i.e. the clear space between the back of one seat and the front of the next (from the underside of the seat in the case of a tip-up seat or from the front lip in the case of a fixed seat).
Safety regulations enshrined in the 'Green Guide' require that the clearway in an existing stadium is not less than 305mm (for new builds it must be 400mm). The guide also stipulates that the depth of a seating row must be not less than 660mm (610mm if the seating is benches).
What the images show
The top two images on the right show examples of tip-up and fixed seating on row depths of 660mm, showing clearways of 400mm and the minimum permitted width of 305mm respectively.
Rail seats create wider clearways
Because rail seats fold up flush between the uprights they take only 50mm out of the depth of each row.
In a modern stadium with a typical row depth of 760mm (for new builds the regulations actually now recommend a minimum of 800mm) the clearway between rail seat uprights would therefore be no less than 710mm or to put it another way: well over twice the required minimum of 305mm.
Rail seats create better access for paramedics
So if opponents of safe standing try to tell you that it will impede access and egress for paramedics, please point out to them that it will actually make it easier for them and other emergency staff, stewards and police to get in and out of the stand, as safe standing creates wider clearways.
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