The investigators of the World Trade Center disaster recommend building designers keep tall buildings safe from fire by employing fire protection engineers. For high-risk and tall building projects, including these professionals on the design team is especially important.
This recommendation was one of 30 announced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and while the federal agency has no authority to enforce these recommendations, it’s strongly urging adoption in order to improve the safety of tall buildings, their occupants, and first responders. There is currently no requirement for designers and architects to employ fire protection engineers as part of the building’s design team. “Using science and technology, fire protection engineers analyze how buildings are used, how fires start, how fires grow, and how fire and smoke affect people, buildings, and property,” says Morgan Hurley, technical director for the Bethesda, MD-based Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE).
SFPE is currently developing Web-based distance learning programs to educate fire service, local code enforcement officials, and design professionals on topics of modern fire protection engineering principals and technology. This initiative is in direct response to NIST’s recommendations.
To find out more contact SFPE by calling (301) 718-2910 or visit (www.sfpe.org).