EUROPEAN CHAPTERS COORDINATION GROUP (ECCG) President's Viewpoint
This is the second issue of SFPE Europe magazine. I’m happy to say that we managed to keep on track and continue the hard work after the first issue. From now on I am certain that it will be easier for us to continue with this great initiative.
In this issue we have a short recap from our first SFPE Europe conference that was held in Copenhagen earlier this year. From my point of view it was a success. We managed to gather more than 150 professionals from all over Europe, even attracting participants all the way from Asia and Australia. Good papers were presented and interesting discussions were held and the feedback from many of the participants was good, which will help us prepare even better for the next one.
Within fire safety engineering, one of the areas that is evolving rapidly is modelling. Many fire safety projects include advanced modelling such as CFD analysis or evacuation modelling. Unfortunately, this is one of the areas where our profession is still in need of improvement, principally from a knowledge and ethical point of view. Because the users of models make different decisions or assumptions in regards to model input parameters, studies on the subject often show a great variability in the model outputs. Implicitly this could affect the safety level. That is why the treatment of uncertainty is an important issue that the model user should address. Additionally, there is no doubt that a thorough theoretical base and experience in fire safety projects is needed to be able to perform this type of analysis correctly. It is also necessary to understand the limitations of the programs used and, even more importantly, the validity of the results produced. Two articles in this issue offer different examples of how to deal with this variability.
The first article, A Swedish Best Practice Guideline for Proper Use of CFD-Models, is about how guidelines could help the user by introducing certain limitations and values on specific areas within modelling. This is no doubt a good way to try to increase knowledge and reliability of modelling results and proposes an important step forward.
The second article, Fire Safety Engineering: Applications for Water-Based Fire Control and Suppression Modelling, will be an eye-opener for some and present well-known facts to others. It illustrates how important it is to know the limits of modelling and the applicability of certain aspects within modelling. Even if programs allow for certain types of input, it does not necessarily mean that they are appropriate to include; rather, including them depends on the purpose of the modelling. The article makes us consider: Are we designing for life safety or are we doing scientific research?
I hope that all of you-- but especially the fire engineers out there involved in modelling work-- will find these articles interesting, and that the words “appropriateness” and “reliability” will be in your heads the next time you evaluate input/output data.
As always, a great thanks to the people that have put in a lot of time and effort to make this issue a reality.
I hope you will enjoy our second issue of our SFPE Europe magazine.
Jimmy Jönsson. ECCG President