From a scientific and engineering standpoint, a fire protection engineer studies how to prevent fires. He or she uses technology to assess the risk of fire based on knowledge of how fires start and spread, as well as how buildings are used in general. Engineers also create systems to prevent and control fires, as well as conduct research into the flammability of various materials. Local and regional agencies, fire departments, consulting firms, and manufacturing facilities all have openings for fire protection engineers. Mechanical, structural, chemical, and electrical engineering degrees are required to work in this field.
Risk assessments are carried out in both residential and industrial settings. The fire protection engineer frequently collaborates with architects to create fire-resistant structures. High-rise buildings, stadiums, hospitals, as well as trains and ships, are examples of specific projects. Some fire safety engineers collaborate with space programs to develop the safest materials and fire prevention and control systems for spacecraft.
Testing materials in a laboratory to see how flame resistant they are is one of the responsibilities of a fire protection engineer. When fires do occur, he or she can look into how the fire spread and what went wrong with any protective systems in place. This data can be used to generate design concepts for better designs.
Engineering for fire safety systems is a lucrative field in terms of earning potential and job opportunities. The job description for a fire protection engineer varies depending on where one works. A high-level engineering position at a major corporation, a petrochemical plant, an insurance company, or a hospital are all possibilities. An engineer can also work in a forensics lab or for a fire code enforcement agency. Such an engineer can teach others at a college or university using the skills and knowledge required for the job.
The first requirement for a fire protection engineer is a master’s or doctorate degree. Civil, mechanical, chemical, or electrical engineering must be studied at the bachelor’s level. A fire protection engineer must be familiar with 21st-century technologies such as composite materials in order to work with them and assess their flammability. In order to conduct adequate research into new technologies, the job also requires teamwork. This also aids in the analysis, design, and testing of materials and fire protection systems using tools.