Current Research

[CLOSED] Request for Proposals from Engineering Consultants for WUI Fire Property Risk Assessment & Mitigation Project

SFPE recently received a FEMA Fire Prevention & Safety Grant to create a virtual handbook using engineering-based resources to support firefighters and fire departments operating in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI). Current WUI property fire risk assessments are often based on simple checklists that don’t provide fire departments with the flexibility they need to make informed recommendations on assessment and mitigation in the field. Moreover, fire departments around the United States vary greatly in their experience of fire hazards in the WUI. The aim of this project – “Beyond the Checklist – A Virtual Handbook of Engineering Resources for WUI Property Fire Risk Assessment and Mitigation” – is to develop a virtual handbook of engineering-based resource materials to support fire department WUI property fire risk assessments and recommended mitigation strategies for use in the field.

SFPE & SFPE Foundation are seeking an experienced Technical Engineering Consultant to lead the development of the virtual handbook of engineering-based resources and tools for fire departments to use in the field. The Consultant will work with SFPE Staff and the Project Advisory Panel to organize and moderate a virtual workshop for fire departments to unearth best practices, draft a beta version of the virtual handbook, pilot the handbook in the field with two fire departments, conduct site visits and measure risk reduction potential utilizing the two pilot departments as test cases, revise the handbook based on feedback, work with SFPE staff to adapt the handbook for a mobile platform that can be used by firefighters in the field, and develop a one-hour webinar to train fire departments in how to use the virtual handbook tool.

Review the full RFP here.

Up to $55,000 (USD) may be awarded. Complete project proposals are due by 1:00 pm, EDT, October 27, 2021. We welcome proposals from groups or individuals. Email Dr. Leslie Marshall, Foundation Director, with submissions or inquiries at foundation@sfpe.org.

**Questions received related to this RFP are listed below along with the answers provided.**
Q1. How is this project different from some of the publications already available on this topic? Are you looking for data, methods, or tools?
A1. The most notable difference is that this project is specifically targeted at the U.S. Fire Service and particularly local fire departments. We are not looking for something like an encyclopedia entry that only synthesizes information; we are looking to create deliverables (i.e. tools) for the fire service to use in the field. Our goal with this project is to produce a tool in collaboration with fire departments that they can reasonably and reliably use in the field, hence the emphasis on a mobile application or platform suitable for devices they may have access to when conducting risk assessment and mitigation activities (e.g., smartphone, tablet, etc.). The tool is likely to draw on (and properly cite/attribute) existing resources, but there is a need to package insights from engineering-based best practices in such a way that firefighters can access and apply them in the field (and have guidance on how to do so), including departments that have more experience in the WUI and those that are relatively new to WUI fires.

Q2. Is the timeline flexible? Is additional funding available? 
A2. The timeline and funding are firm as per the terms of our grant agreement with FEMA. 

[CLOSED] Request for Proposals: Open Call

The SFPE Foundation invites proposals on any topic germane to one or more of the following priority research areas identified in the SFPE Research Roadmap:

  1. Resilience/Sustainability
  2. Wildland/WUI Fires
  3. Innovative Technology/Materials
For a full description of the gaps identified in each of the above areas, please consult the SFPE Research Roadmap.

We welcome proposals from groups or individuals. Up to $30,000 (USD) may be awarded.

Interested applicants should review the full RFP here. Complete project proposals are due by 5:00 pm, EDT, October 31, 2021. We welcome proposals from groups or individuals. Email Dr. Leslie Marshall, Foundation Manager, with submissions or inquiries at foundation@sfpe.org.

**Questions received related to this RFP are listed below along with the answers provided.**
Q1. Does the Foundation have a policy regarding overhead or indirect costs?
A1. The Foundation does not have a specific policy regarding overhead or indirect costs at this time.

Q2. Do letters of support (if provided) count towards the 7-page limit? 
A2. No, letters of support may be submitted as an Appendix and will not count towards the 7-page limit, though they should be referenced in the main text and their relevance to the proposal should be made clear. 

Q3. What should the proposed start and end dates be for the proposal? 
A3. For this RFP, proposals are due October 31, 2021, and we expect to sign the contract with the selected team no later than December 2021. The RFP requests that proposals take no more than 8 months to complete; we would like to have the final report and deliverables in hand by July or August 2022 at the latest. 


Climate Change, Public Water Supplies, and the Implications for Fire Protection Systems

It is widely acknowledged that the impacts of climate change include more widespread and prolonged drought conditions, increased risk of flooding, rising temperatures, reduced snowpack, and shifts in weather patterns globally. Many of these changes not only increase the risk of fire events, but also place additional strain on the public water supplies that are an integral part of many fire protection systems. To design for more resilient communities in this context, fire protection engineers need to understand the linkages between climate change, public water supplies, and fire protection systems design. Our focus in this RFP is on the built environment and in-building fires, though we recognize structures may be in areas where wildfires and the wildland-urban-interface are also a consideration for fire systems design. A research team from Oklahoma State University was selected for this project, with completion expected in mid-2022.


Design Fire and Material Performance

The Foundation has initiated a project whose overall goal is to develop and maintain a “living” comprehensive data set that can be used for assessing hazards and creating design fires. Additionally the project aims to develop a framework that may be used by engineers to develop design fires, aligned with the state of the practice as described in the 5th edition of the SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering and the SFPE Engineering Guide to Performance-Based Fire Protection. The Foundation has selected a team of researchers from Poole Fire Protection, Performance Based Fire Protection Engineering, and the University of Maryland Department of Fire Protection Engineering.  Work on this project has begun and is expected to be completed late 2021.