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Being told we can't use fire exits

Guest Sarah1988

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Guest Sarah1988


Hi everyone,


I work for a small 16+ college in Manchester. We rent our building from a large high school that is behind our building. We are completely separate from them and cannot access their grounds. 


However, there are three fire exits that open into their grounds but they have told us that we are not allowed to use them as it is a safeguarding issue for their students. 


This means currently students and staff have to walk away from their nearest exits and into a potentially burning building to access ones at the front. 


Our premises isn’t large so this would take a matter of seconds but it means that during drills the nearest fire exits aren’t being used in half of the building. 


As we rent our premise from the school, where do we stand legally on this? My concern is obviously the safety of our students but also if we have an inspection and the fire alarm goes off and they see the procedure or someone asks to look at our fire safety policy. I’ve been advised from our local fire service that we can have two assembly points as once staff and students have left through those fire exits they would be stuck in the school grounds until we let them back in through the fire exits. 


The school have said that if it’s a real fire then we can use them, but I was under the impression that the idea of a fire evacuation is that you always treat it as it’s real until you hear otherwise. By the time they realise it’s real it might be too late! 


I’d love to get your thoughts on this and get some advice on how I can get the school to change their minds.


Thank you! 



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