A fire prevention engineer (also known as a fire protection engineer) works to prevent fire damage and protect people from fires by recommending what fire resistant or retardant materials to use along with suggesting fire-detection equipment. These experts are knowledgable in a variety of topics to help them be effective at their job, such as engineering and chemistry.
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How to Become a Fire Prevention Engineer
To become a fire prevention engineer, employers typically look for a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as engineering or environmental health and safety. In fact, O*NET OnLine reports that almost 100% of the fire prevention engineers surveyed held a bachelor’s degree. While working towards your bachelor’s in engineering, you would want to take focused courses on ergonomics, environmental safety, industrial hygiene, and occupational safety and health according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Job Description of a Fire Prevention Engineer
Fire prevention engineers work with teams of people to advise them on the most effective fire prevention materials and equipment to use. Architects and other construction professionals use their expertise when working on structures to ensure fire code and standards are met. These engineers may also inspect existing structures to advise on ways to prevent fire damage. They would create reports based on their inspection, any work they may have preformed, and recommendations for improvement.
Along with inspecting structures and recommending materials and equipment, these professionals may design products to prevent fires or fire damage as well.
Fire Protection Job Posting
Let’s look at a job description posted by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:
- Perform risk assessments and work closely with architects and engineers to identify, mitigate, and prevent fire hazards.
- Provides specifications for building construction, egress and exit means, and mechanical systems.
- Develop, interpret, and promote fire safety codes and standards.
- Anticipate and predict fire behavior, based on materials, machines, structures, and apparatus to protect life and safety.
- Investigate incidents involving fires and explosions, examine how fires originate, spread, are detected, and controlled; and apply quantitative methods and scientific principles to assess various aspects of fire and fire safety.
- Review building and other construction plans and specifications for adequate and appropriate life safety systems and equipment and to ensure that fire safe provisions are included where hazardous processes, hazardous chemicals, and/or radioactive materials are involved.
- Conducts performance testing to determine whether fire protection systems are fully functional.
- Conducts or arranges for all scheduled testing, as required by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
- Ensures that facility fire drills are conducted, as appropriate.
- Responsible for the implementation and oversight of the Hot Work Permit and Fire Penetration Programs. Participates in various Committees within the BPVAHCS (Bay Pines VA Healthcare System).
- Inspects buildings and other structures in operation and during the course of construction to ensure compliance with approved fire protection plans and testing procedures.
This position was posted to run 10/26/2018 until 01/17/2019 with a salary range of $73,375 to $95,388 per year on USAjobs.gov (link opens in a new tab). USAjobs.gov is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Fire Prevention Engineer Career Video Transcript
No amount of regulations or safety measures can completely eliminate risk from the world, but health and safety engineers use engineering tools and technology to make our lives as safe as possible. These engineers promote worksite and product safety to minimize danger from a variety of hazards —chemical, physical, biological, and even psychological. They focus both on preventing hazardous conditions, and developing safety measures to control problems when they do occur.
There are several types of health and safety engineers: Industrial safety and health engineers often team up with public health and safety workers to investigate industrial accidents and injuries, find their cause, and prevent future problems. Fire prevention and protection engineers analyze buildings, transportation systems, and materials for potential fire hazards… and design fire prevention and suppression systems. Product safety engineers test products, from nuclear submarine reactors to children’s toys, to ensure they are safe and meet regulations.
Systems safety engineers work in many fields, including aerospace, medical safety, and environmental safety, to ensure safe system designs. While health and safety engineers spend time in the office, they also travel to worksites to evaluate machinery and environments and to train workers in safety and emergency procedures. Many of these positions require a four-year college degree in environmental health and safety or a related engineering field.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Health and Safety Engineers.
National Center for O*NET Development. 17-2111.02. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.