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Fire Protection Engineering

From the burning of Rome in 64 A.D. to the Great Fire of London in 1666 to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, catastrophic fires have leapt off the pages of history, shocking our minds with their unimaginable toll of human suffering.  But it wasn’t until New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911, in which 146 trapped young women and men burned or leapt to their deaths, that shock turned to determination and reform. On October 14, 1911, out of the ashes of that fire, the American Society of Safety Engineers was born.  If you feel drawn to this honored profession, our program will give you every academic and practical tool you need to make it your vocation.

Acquire the skill set that will lead to success.

Fire protection engineering is a multidisciplinary program that combines principles from various areas of science and engineering.  Our program teaches you how to apply these principles to the problem of fire protection by designing, constructing, and installing fire protection systems to prevent or minimize potential losses. 

You’ll begin by laying a firm foundation in mathematics, science, and engineering, then move on to applying your knowledge through practical, hands-on laboratory experiences.  As you progress through the program, you’ll also acquire the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are vital in this field.

Train in state-of-the-art fire labs.

Get up-close-and-personal experience in some of the finest fire labs in the country:

  • Main Laboratory.  Here, you’ll learn the key components of fire pumps, water mains, sprinklers, hydrants, extinguishers, and appliances and how these devices work.
  • Fire Investigation Laboratory. Gain hands-on experience investigating fires.  The rooms in this lab are regularly re-burnt to change the fire so that you can keep adding to what you learn.
  • Computer Laboratory.  The computers here contain the same specialized software that the fire service uses.  They are available to you so that you can become familiar with all of the software’s capabilities.
  • Fire Dynamics Laboratory.  Conduct experiments with burning metals and other materials here.  See how certain materials ignite and how they burn as well as how they react with various extinguishing agents.
  • Fire Detection/Alarm Laboratory.  Updated in 2010 to the newly updated NFPA alarm codes, this lab gives you the chance to experiment and understand the details of how a code-compliant alarm system operates.
  • Sprinkler Laboratory.  Learn how to reset a sprinkler system, trip the valve, and flow water out of whichever head you want — sidewall, pendant, upright or deluge-type head — as well as gauge the floor coverage of each head.
  • Fire and Security Demo Laboratory.  This lab is a work in progress.  When it is finished, you’ll be able to work with thermal dynamics and the explosive characteristics of gaseous products.

Learn from instructors who have done what you want to do.

Full-time faculty members in the department have a combined experience of over 150 years of service in the field of fire protection and are all experts in their specific field.  Each of them is or has been a chief officer within a fire department.  They show the same leadership with the curriculum — continually updating courses to ensure that you learn about future trends as well as current realities.

Our adjunct instructors who are professionals are fire protection engineers, fire marshals, fire chiefs, and federal and state investigators from the public and private sectors.  All of them are recognized experts on their subjects.  Also, many of our adjuncts are currently active in the fire service, which means they can bring you up-to-the-minute reports on the fire safety and engineering technology that firefighters are using.

See what you can do with your degree.

One of your options is to continue on to graduate school.  In that case, your bachelor’s degree gives you the basics that you need for successful graduate study.

But if you want to launch a career right away, here’s a list of the areas you can aim for:

  • Code Development and Evaluation
  • Fire Service Personnel (Firefighter, Fire Chief, Assistant Chief, etc.)
  • Fire Investigation
  • Forest Fire Inspector and Prevention Specialist
  • Fire Protection Technology
  • Fire Protection Engineering
  • Industrial Fire protection
  • Loss Prevention
  1. Program Description