Fire engineering is the application of science and engineering principles to protect people, property, and their environments from the harmful and destructive effects of fire and smoke. It encompasses fire protection engineering which focuses on fire detection, suppression and mitigation and fire safety engineering which focuses on human behavior and maintaining a tenable environment for evacuation from a fire. In the United States fire protection engineering is often used to include fire safety engineering.
The discipline of fire engineering includes, but is not exclusive to:
• Fire detection – fire alarm systems and brigade call systems
• Active fire protection – fire suppression systems
• Passive fire protection – fire and smoke barriers, space separation
• Smoke control and management
• Escape facilities – emergency exits, fire lifts, etc.
• Building design, layout, and space planning
• Fire prevention programs
• Fire dynamics and fire modeling
• Human behavior during fire events
• Risk analysis, including economic factors
• Wildfire management
Fire protection engineers identify risks and design safeguards that aid in preventing, controlling, and mitigating the effects of fires. Fire engineers assist architects, building owners and developers in evaluating buildings’ life safety and property protection goals. Fire engineers are also employed as fire investigators, including such very large-scale cases as the analysis of the collapse of the World Trade Center. NASA uses fire engineers in its space program to help improve safety. Fire engineers are also employed to provide 3rd party review for performance based fire engineering solutions submitted in support of local building regulation applications.