Fire Protection Engineering Roles

To assist stakeholders within the fire protection field and other organizations that interface with fire protection and fire safety engineering, SFPE has identified the specific roles within the fire protection engineering field and is working on defining the knowledge areas and skills required to obtain a minimum competency level in each of the roles.

Clean Agent Suppression

The objective is to identify the fundamental principles, design criteria, and installation requirements for clean agent extinguishing systems based on hazard and occupancy, including how to identify risks and analyze, evaluate and specify the system's performance and coordinate with other fire protection and integrated building systems. Clean agent systems suppress fire through chemical interference with combustion or oxygen displacement through gaseous flooding of the volume containing a fire incident. Clean agents are non-conducting and leave no residue on evaporation.

Egress

The objective is to identify the fundamental principles, design criteria, and evaluation methodologies for means of egress based on hazard and occupancy. The ability to utilize both code-based and performance-based techniques, incorporating the impact of behavioral response to emergencies, are important concepts that should be known and utilized by engineers.

Explosion Protection

The objective of this brief is to provide documented engineering guidance related to the knowledge base of principles and competencies required in the subject of explosion protection (deflagration and detonation). The domain of this guidance includes requisite knowledge of general fire protection and fire science principles directly related to explosion protection, as well as an in-depth understanding of the application of prevention, protection, and mitigation of consequences of an explosion. The description in this subject area of explosion protection pertains specifically to dust, gas, vapor, and mist protections and excludes explosive materials (high explosives).

Fire Alarm, Detection, & Signaling

The objective is to identify the fundamental principles and prepare design criteria, layout details, and installation requirements for fire detection (including smoke detectors, heat detectors, flame detectors, gas detectors, etc.) and occupant notification (including horn/strobe devices, speaker/strobe devices, etc.), emergency communication systems, based on hazard and occupancy, including how to identify risks and analyze, evaluate and specify the system's performance and coordinate with other fire protection and integrated building systems.

Fire Protection & Life Safety Modeling

The objective of this brief is to provide documented engineering guidance related to the knowledge base of principles and expertise required to establish recognized competency in the subject of fire and egress modeling, particularly with respect to buildings, occupants, and high-value assets. The domain of this guidance includes requisite knowledge of general fire protection and fire science principles directly related to predictive simulation, as well as an in-depth understanding of the application of influencing techniques to control fire spread and maintain occupant egress and emergency responder ingress pathways as viable routes.

Fire Risk Assessment

Coming Soon

Governance of Fire Protection

The objective is to identify a fundamental understanding of how regulations are created, apply to fire protection, and the impact they have on engineering methods and solutions.

Human Behavior

The objective is to identify a fundamental understanding of the information needs of effective ways of communicating with and expected actions of building occupants in response to fire and other emergencies. This includes requisite knowledge on social behavior, fire alarm and notification systems, and egress systems.

Passive Fire Protection Systems

The objective is to identify the fundamental principles, design criteria, and installation requirements for passive fire protection systems. Working knowledge of prescriptive installation requirements and application as well as understanding and evaluating the performance requirements of these systems is key to this role. It is important to understand how these systems affect other fire protection systems and protection methods as well as where these systems end and structural fire protection begins.

Process Fire Safety

The objective is to identify fundamental engineering guidance related to the knowledge base of principles and expertise required to establish recognized competency in the subject of process fire safety. The domain of this guidance includes requisite knowledge of general fire protection and fire science principles directly related to Loss of Containment (LOC) and subsequent fires of chemicals/hydrocarbons, as well as an in-depth understanding of the application of management and mitigation techniques to control chemical/ hydrocarbon fires within process industries to achieve defined safety objectives.

Performance-Based Design

The objective of this document is to identify the fundamental knowledge areas necessary to develop or independently review a performance-based design. Performance-based designs may be applied to a narrow set of fire protection or building features, larger portions/areas of a building, or to an entire facility. It is a process in which appropriate evaluation techniques are applied and developed by individuals with competency in the application of those techniques, to identify fire protection related design solutions or alternatives that address the objectives of stakeholders involved (e.g., Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs), building owners, building users, architects, insurers, or fire protection engineers).

Smoke Control Systems

The objective is to identify fundamental engineering related to the principles and expertise required in the subject of smoke control. The domain of this guidance includes requisite knowledge of general fire protection and fire science principles directly related to smoke, as well as an understanding of the application of fire protection, mechanical and electrical systems required for management and mitigation techniques to control smoke by natural and mechanical means using air movement to achieve defined safety objectives.

Special Hazard Systems

The objective is to identify a fundamental understanding of the principles, design criteria, and installation requirements for the protection of special hazards. Working knowledge of prescriptive installation requirements and application as well as understanding and evaluating the performance requirements of these systems is key to this role. This includes Carbon Dioxide - CO2, dry chemical, and wet chemical.

Structural Fire Protection

The objective is to identify a fundamental understanding regarding the impact of fire exposure on structural elements, using either the prescriptive compliance method or structural fire engineering. The role involves technical competency in areas such as fire resistance qualification, fire resistance equivalencies, and demonstrating that structural systems have the ability to resist structural design fires.

Water-Based Suppression Systems

The objective is to identify a fundamental understanding of system design and functionality. Working knowledge of prescriptive installation requirements and application as well as understanding and evaluating the performance requirements of water-based suppression systems is key to this role. Various water-based systems include wet pipe sprinkler systems, dry pipe sprinkler systems, preaction sprinkler systems, foam systems (foam-water/foam-water spray), and water mist systems.

Wildland Urban Interface

The objective is to identify fundamental guidance related to the principles and expertise required to establish recognized competency in the subject of Wild/Urban Interface (WUI) fire protection engineer. The includes requisite knowledge of general fire protection and fire science principles directly related to the protection of fire risks facing urban-wildland interface communities; where humans exist and their development meet or intermix with wildland fuel. WUI fire protection engineers assist those who plan for, coordinate, invest in, respond, and recover from WUI Fires.

Last revised 8/2/2021