The Role of Fire Engineers

What is a Fire Engineer?

Fire Engineering relates to the application of scientific and engineering concepts, codes, or regulations to protect people, property, and the environment from the effects of fire. Fire Engineers are principally responsible for ensuring this, using expert judgment based on an understanding of fire’s phenomena as well as its reaction and behaviour.

Fire Engineers are professionals with a high level of skill and understanding of fire safety regulations and codes. They follow the relevant regulations and standards about the design, installation, and maintenance of fire safety and smoke venting systems. The role of a Fire Engineer is to assess the risks and hazards related to fires and ensure inhabitants’ safety as well as mitigation of possible damage. Based on this knowledge and understanding, Fire Engineers must design and build structures, transport systems, and other types of infrastructure and products.


What is the role of a Fire Engineer?

The primary role of a Fire Engineer is to assess hazards and the risks of fire. Fire Engineers have a detailed understanding of fire emergencies and the risks associated with them. These skills enable them to evaluate and rank the potential dangers faced by structures such as buildings, factories, or industrial facilities and occupants. Fire Engineers assess the existing levels of risk of fire based on the building’s materials. They then create a risk rating scale that enables them to decrease risk with specific procedures.

By understanding the risk of fire, Fire Engineers can reduce the potential damage caused by it. The degree of damage caused by a fire may vary depending on the design, architecture, structure, and building materials. By employing specific building materials and structures, Fire Engineers can determine and estimate the degree to which the fire can be contained by firefighters in the event of a fire. This also extends to the extent to which a building is susceptible to fires due to weather and wind conditions.

A Fire Engineer’s typical duties include creating fire strategies and fire safety plans. Fire strategies are developed at the early stages of the construction cycle and provide a holistic view of the fire safety systems and attribute factors that contribute to safe premises. As part of the strategy, the roles, responsibilities, and accountability of all personnel involved are clearly defined.

Additionally, consideration is given to the site layout including.

  • points of entry and exit,
  • roadways,
  • building use,
  • the storage of supplies and other objects,
  • connections to the water supply,
  • sprinkler and alarm systems.

Fire safety and smoke venting systems are often developed and designed by a Fire Engineer. For instance, the minimum legal requirement for a building is that the fire prevention systems meet code requirements; it is the responsibility of the Fire Engineer to ensure this.

Fire Engineers may be aided in the design of a fire safety and smoke ventilation system by computer programs such as Computational Fluid Dynamics Modelling. CFD Modelling allows the Fire Engineer to predict the movement of heat and smoke from fires in a proposed site. It primarily utilises numerical analysis and algorithms to analyse and solve problems that involve fluid flows such as gases and liquids. A virtual model of any building can then be created to calculate the fire and smoke behaviours and validate the Fire Engineers’ fire strategy and design. Consequently, the Fire Engineer is then able to determine the right equipment for use in the event of a fire. This equipment’s primary objective is to serve means of escape and aid the firefighting team when fighting the fire.


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