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What Does A Firefighter Engineer Do

By David Krug 4 minute read

A bachelor’s degree in fire prevention engineering is one of the best investments you can make. Firefighters are also likely to find it interesting.

Volunteer or professional firefighter experience is a plus, but it’s not necessary if you want to pursue a career as an engineer in fire prevention.

In order to enter a fire protection engineering school, you don’t need any previous expertise in the firefighting industry.

Choosing Your Educational Course for Fire Science Engineering

In order to work in fire prevention engineering, you must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in a suitable field. Even while a degree in fire protection engineering is preferable, it isn’t always possible to get one.

Only seven colleges in the United States are recognized by the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) as offering bachelor’s or master’s degrees in the field of fire protection engineering specifically.

In the event that none of these seven colleges is a suitable fit, you should know that a degree in fire science isn’t the only way to break into this sector.

You may take fire prevention engineering courses at more than a dozen other colleges and universities as part of a larger engineering degree program.

The SFPE noted that many fire protection engineering specialists have degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or civil engineering.

To be successful as a fire protection engineer, you will need relevant job experience if your educational background does not include much in the way of a fire safety curriculum.

For example, you may work as an intern for a fire engineering consultancy or volunteer as an emergency responder.

An internship or admission to a school in fire science engineering normally does not require previous firefighting experience.

In order to be successful in college, no matter what your chosen field of study, it is imperative that you have a strong foundation in the sciences and mathematics while still in high school. According to the SFPE, you should take math and science classes in high school and college.

Gaining Practical Knowledge of Fire Protection Engineering

In order to succeed in the field of fire protection engineering, you should aim to gain as much practical experience as possible before graduating. Laboratory work in a fire prevention engineering program provides a large portion of this training experience.

At colleges and universities that specialize in the field, you’ll discover a variety of fire labs that are utilized for various purposes.

Most of the essential components of fire protection equipment should be taught in the main laboratory. This includes extinguishers, sprinklers, fire pumps, hydrants, and other such systems. 

Training in fire investigation and sprinkler system operation, as well as smoke and fire detection, can be found at separate, specialized facilities.

For the purpose of discovering how and when various combustible materials ignite and extinguish, a fire dynamics laboratory might be useful. 

You may learn how to utilize a wide range of specialist analytical and scientific software in the field of fire prevention engineering in a computer lab.

Fire Science Living Learning Communities, which teach the public about fire safety and the proper use of extinguishers and other equipment, may also be available to you as an option for extracurricular learning.

Numerous Potential Professions in Fire Protection Engineering

You’ll have a better grasp of fire safety and protection if you’ve previously worked in the firefighting field. Which direction your career in fire protection engineering takes determines how much of an influence your experience will have.

For fire protection engineers who work directly in uniformed fire service professions, first-hand experience as a firefighter is particularly useful.

According to the SFPE, these positions often entail tasks such as evaluating the fire preparation of locations, reviewing plans, initiating investigations of fire occurrences, instructing firefighters on operating methods, and much more.

Some fire protection engineers do not interact with the uniformed fire service in this manner. 

A different job in the field of fire engineering may not allow you the opportunity to draw on your firefighting knowledge to the extent that you expect.

Researchers may conduct experiments to uncover new techniques to limit the spread of a fire, for example, as a research assistant. 

An industrial fire protection engineer’s responsibilities include putting fire safety measures into action in high-risk areas.

A fire protection specialist can spend their time analyzing the technical designs utilized in fire protection systems while consulting fire engineers can help prepare for the fire requirements of new structures that are being developed.

Chief Engineer or Consulting Engineer are titles that don’t include fire or the term engineer, such as fire protection engineer or “fire protection engineer and code consultant (Design Director or Loss Control Manager).

David Krug