Code of Ethics

Individuals who join SFPE must agree to abide by the Society’s Code of Ethics. Under SFPE's Constitution & Bylaws, all SFPE members are required to comply with the SFPE Code of Ethics and to report any observed violations. The procedure for filing an ethics complaint is covered in the SFPE Standing Rules and the complaint form is available here.


Section I - Preamble

Fire protection engineering is an important learned profession. The members of the profession recognize that their work has a direct and vital impact on the quality of life for all people. Accordingly, the services provided by fire protection engineers require honesty, impartiality, fairness and equity, and must be dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the public safety, health and welfare; and the environment.

  1. In the practice of their profession, fire protection engineers must maintain and constantly improve their competence and perform under a standard of professional behavior which requires adherence to the highest principles of ethical conduct with balanced regard for the interests of the public, clients, employers, colleagues, and the profession.
  2. Fire protection engineers are expected to act in accordance with this Code and all applicable laws and actively encourage others to do so.
  3. Although these canons use the specific term "fire protection engineers," this code is intended to apply to all members of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.

Section II - Fundamental Principles

Fire protection engineers uphold and advance the honor and integrity of their profession by:

  1. Using their knowledge and skill for the enhancement of human welfare and the environment;
  2. Being honest and impartial, and serving with fidelity the public, their employers, and clients;
  3. Striving to increase the competence and prestige of the fire protection engineering profession.

Section III - Knowledge and Skill

Canon 1

Fire protection engineers shall be dedicated to the safety, health, and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional duties. If fire protection engineers become knowledgeable of hazardous conditions that threaten the present or future safety, health or welfare of the public, then they shall so advise their employers or clients. Should knowledge of such conditions not be properly acted upon, then fire protection engineers shall notify the appropriate public authority.

Canon 2

Fire protection engineers shall consider the consequences of their work and societal issues pertinent to it and shall seek to extend public understanding of those relationships.

Canon 3

Fire protection engineers shall be encouraged to contribute services for the advancement of the safety, health and welfare of the community and support worthy causes.

Canon 4

Fire protection engineers shall perform their professional duties in such a manner that considers the consequences to the environment.

Section IV – Honesty and Impartiality

Canon 5

Fire protection engineers shall perform professional services only in the areas of their competence and after full disclosure of their pertinent qualifications. They shall not falsify or permit misrepresentation of their academic or professional qualifications or experience.

Canon 6

Fire protection engineers shall be honest in presenting their data and estimates, professional opinions and conclusions, and in their public statements dealing with professional matters. Fire protection engineers shall not engage in improper solicitation of professional employment or contracts, and shall reject bribery in all its forms.

Canon 7

Fire protection engineers shall act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees and shall not disclose confidential information concerning the business affairs or technical processes of any present or former client or employer without consent.

Canon 8

Fire protection engineers' decisions shall be made and actions taken without bias because of race, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation or disabilities.

Canon 9

Fire protection engineers shall make prior disclosure to all interested parties of all known or potential conflicts of interest or other circumstances which could influence or appear to influence their judgment or the quality of their service.

Canon 10

Fire protection engineers shall not accept compensation from more than one party for services on the same project, or for services pertaining to the same project, unless the circumstances are fully disclosed to and agreed to, by all interested parties. They shall not solicit or accept gratuities, directly or indirectly, from contractors, their agents, or other parties dealing with their clients or employers in connection with work for which they are responsible.

Canon 11

Fire protection engineers shall approve or seal only those design documents, reviewed or prepared by them, which are determined to be safe for public health and welfare in conformity with accepted engineering standards.

Canon 12

Fire protection engineers shall not maliciously or falsely, directly or indirectly, injure the professional reputation, prospects, practice or employment of another engineer or indiscriminately criticize another's work.

Section V – Competence and Prestige

Canon 13

Fire protection engineers shall perform services and associate with others only in such a manner as to uphold and enhance the honor and integrity of the profession, including but not limited to using those engineering methods and tools which are appropriate for the specific application. <

Canon 14

Fire protection engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers and shall provide opportunities for the professional development of those engineers under their supervision.

Canon 15

Fire protection engineers having knowledge of any alleged violation of these Canons shall cooperate with the proper authorities in furnishing such information or assistance as may be required.

Canon 16

Fire protection engineers shall accept responsibility for their actions, seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of work, properly credit the contributions of others, and shall not accept credit for the work of others.

Canon 17

Fire protection engineers shall strive to advance the knowledge and skills of the profession and to make these advancements available to colleagues, clients, and the public.

The SFPE Canons of Ethics was first published in 1984. It was most recently revised on February 3, 2018 by the SFPE Board of Directors.

About the SFPE Ethics and Standards of Conduct Committee

The Society's Professional Ethics and Standard of Conduct Committee is comprised of members with an interest, experience, or expertise in developing or administering professional ethics and standards of conduct for the practice of fire protection engineering. The committee is responsible for establishing and promoting the profession’s Canons of Ethics and Standards of Conduct. The committee is also charged with providing the Board of Directors confidential and impartial evaluations on questions of ethics as they may pertain to the Society, its members, or the practice of fire protection engineering.

Subcommittee Chair: Carl Baldassara
Staff Liaison: Chris Jelenewicz