First SFPE Europe Conference on Fire Safety Engineering Draws Great Attendance, Feedback
On 4-5 June 2015, more than 150 attended SFPE’s first European Conference on Fire Safety Engineering in Copenhagen, Denmark. The event marked the first of what SFPE hopes will become a regular event, bringing together fire engineers and fire safety engineers to network, exchange ideas and further the advancement of fire safety engineering in Europe. The call for abstracts for the event yielded a number of quality submissions spanning a wide range of topics, culminating in a strong technical program that addressed the science and practice of fire safety engineering, as well as the tools and methods used by fire safety engineers in Europe and across the globe.
Prior to the official conference, the conference kicked off with a two-day technical seminar “Evacuation for Fire Safety Engineering,” presented by Daniel Nilsson, Ph.D., FSE, Department of Fire Safety Engineering and Systems Safety, Lund University; Rita F. Fahy, Ph.D., M.Sc., Fire Analysis and Research Division, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Following the conclusion of the technical seminar, a welcome reception and poster session afforded attendees to view posters on topics ranging from “An Evacuation Model Based on a Continuous Approach” to “Fire Safety in Timber Buildings,” among others. Attendees enjoyed an array of local hors d’oeuvres and cocktails while networking and catching up with colleagues both new and familiar.
The official conference began Thursday, 4 June with welcome messages from SFPE President Michael Madden, P.E., FSPE and Jimmy Jönsson, President, SFPE European Chapter Coordination Group (ECCG). Following the welcome remarks were two keynote presentations: “What Makes Fire Safety Engineers Professional?” by Graham Spinardi, Ph.D., Science Technology and Innovation Studies, University of Edinburgh Research and “Fire Safety Engineering Education and the Role of Fire Safety Engineers in Denmark” by Anne Dederichs, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Fire Safety Engineering, Institute of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark.
The technical sessions Thursday focused on two tracks in the morning: Fire Safety Engineer Development and Modelling, followed by two more tracks in the afternoon: Fire Safety Performance and Cases. A full list of presentations and presenters can be viewed via the program brochure [PDF]. Thursday afternoon concluded with a general session in which Michael Madden outlined SFPE’s Strategic Plan followed by a 60 minute roundtable discussion with Chapters on professional recognition. Topics addressed in the roundtable discussions included Fire Safety in Switzerland: Certification, Qualification and Educational Challenges and Opportunities led by James Bassett, M.Sc., FPE, EIT, Fire Protection Engineer, Swissi AG; Fire Engineering, the Missing Link led by David Maeso, EurIng, CEng, MIFireE, Associate – Fire Engineering, Ramboll; and Certification of Fire Experts Within the Building Control System led by Caroline Bernelius Cronsioe, B.Sc., M.Sc., Fire Protection Engineer and Civil Engineer-Risk Management, The National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket). The day’s sessions concluded with a follow-up discussion on Professional Recognition facilitated by Brian Meacham, Ph.D., P.E., CEeng, FIFireE, FSFPE, Associate Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Friday, 5 June began with a keynote presentation by Greg Baker, Chief Scientist, SP Fire Research, titled Lessons from 20+ Years of Performance-Based Design in New Zealand and another, The State of Fire Safety Engineering in Italy, by Emanuele Gissi, Ph.D., MEng., Vice Dirigente, Ministero dell'Interno, Corpo nazionale dei Vigili del fuoco (Fire and Rescue Service). Friday’s technical tracks included Accidents & Tests, Sustainability, Evacuation and Structures in Fire. The event concluded after lunch with a general session on the theme of Developing Fire Safety Engineering Practice, including the following topics and presenters: A Newcomer’s View on the Direction that PBFSE Should Take, Greg Baker, Chief Scientist, SP Fire Research; Assessing Variability in Engineer Selection of Tenability Criteria, Camille Levy, Graduate Student, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; User Impact on FDS Simulations, Nils Johansson, Ph.D., Department of Fire Safety Engineering, Lund University; Proposal for European CFD ASET Round Robin Study, Johan Norén, Fire Safety Engineer, Technical Director, Briab Brand & Riskingenjörerna AB.
Jimmy Jönsson, President, SFPE ECCG and co-chair of the SFPE Europe Conference Program committee closed out the event with a summary of the two days’ sessions and closing remarks. Of the SFPE European Conference on Fire Safety Engineering, Jönsson said “this event would not have been possible without the great support and involvement by the local Swedish SFPE chapter, SFPE Headquarters, the sponsors, the Program Committee and the Organising Committee.”
Jouni Nevala, Fire Protection Engineer at L2 Fire Safety Ltd in Finland was among the conference attendees and praised the event, saying “We found the conference very fruitful. It was especially interesting to hear how engineers around Europe approach performance based design and how the problems or challenges using it are quite similar to what we have faced here in Finland. I’m looking forward to seeing this conference become a regular event.”
In addition to great feedback from attendees once the event concluded, there were a lot of great tweets and social media posts shared during the event.
If you couldn’t attend the SFPE Europe Conference in Denmark, mark your calendars for the 11th Conference on Performance-Based Codes and Fire Safety Design Methods which will be held 23-25 May 2016 at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel in Warsaw, Poland. The call for abstracts for that conference is currently open, so if you’re interested in presenting, be sure to submit your abstract by the deadline, 30 September 2015.