Fire Safety Engineering

Last updated: January 8, 2020

What Does Fire Safety Engineering Mean?

Fire safety engineering (or fire protection engineering) is the use of engineering principles to protect individuals and property from fire risks. It can encompass the full range of fire safety considerations within a given area or structure, including assessing:

  • The risk posed by various fire sources
  • How fast fire could spread within a given area
  • How quickly workers can evacuate from the structure in the event of a fire
  • How effective any fire suppression equipment may be

In order to ensure that fire risks are minimized to the greatest extent practicable, fire safety engineers are often consulted as part of the initial design process for buildings, industrial facilities, and other structures.

Safeopedia Explains Fire Safety Engineering

Fire safety engineers work to save lives before a fire occurs by influencing the architecture and design of a structure to minimize the risk posed by fire; subsequent to the design process, the fire safety engineer will determine what fire protection equipment a structure needs to effectively suppress a fire in the event that one occurs. As different types of structures carry different types of risk, it is the responsibility of the fire safety engineer to determine how the material features of a particular structure affect its fire suppression needs.

Fire safety engineers typically have a strong working knowledge of the various regulatory regimes that are used to enforce fire safety within their location of work, and understand how to design fire protection systems in a manner that ensures compliance with those regimes. In order to carry out their work effectively they are required to have a knowledge of the chemical properties associated with building materials, furnishings, and fire suppressant agents, so that they can accurately understand how those factors affect the risk of fire within a given area.

A significant aspect of modern fire safety engineering is the use of risk analysis tools. These risk-based calculations often require the use of sophisticated software that enables the engineer to model specific building environments in order to assess the risk a potential fire could pose to life and property under various conditions and scenarios.


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