Fire protection engineers also called fire safety engineers, tend to be jacks of all trades. They must be knowledgeable about several types of engineering, such as civil, mechanical, and electrical, in order to be effective
For example, when designing a new building, it is important to consult and collaborate with architects, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, and electrical engineers. Professionals in those fields will be focused on their area of expertise and will suggest changes to the design based upon their experiences.
If a civil engineer recommends rearranging a hallway or moving a door, the fire safety engineer needs to respond to those suggestions and provide their expertise regarding how those changes may affect the safety of the building. The same is true for other suggestions made by the other engineers involved. Fire protection engineers must understand those other fields in order to adequately do their jobs.
EKU Courses Build for Success
The courses in the fire protection and safety engineering technology program at EKU build upon each other to provide students with the full scope of fire safety design.
One of the sequences begins with FSE 221 – Fire Detection and Suppression Systems. This course introduces fire detection, protection, control systems and extinguishment. Students study a range of fixed and portable fire detection and suppression systems. This overview of the systems provides a basis to build upon into more specialized areas.
FSE 322 – Water-Based Fire Protection Systems Design is the next course in the sequence. This course provides a deeper dive into the layout and design of sprinkler systems, and their ability to combat fires and structural damage. The course addresses questions such as, what kind of sprinkler head do we want to pick; what does the code say that we need to pick; what are the different options; what’s approved for our use; and how do we figure out what’s approved and what’s not approved.
The course then starts working down the line into the type of pipe to use. There are a number of different variables to consider such as friction loss and expense. Once these specifics are determined, the course discusses how to lay this out to provide an adequate protection of a sprinkler system.
The next step is figuring out the demand on that system. In this step, the course addresses questions such as, how much water in terms of overall flow are needed; how many gallons per minute is that system going to need; and how much pressure is available. This step also includes a hydraulic calculation all the way back to the city water system.
That’s where the next course in the sequence, FSE 360 – Fire Protection Hydraulics and Water Supply, picks up. This course is a study of water at rest and in motion. Students calculate from the source of the water to the start of the building. They also learn about water distribution systems, velocity, friction loss, pump and nozzle pressures required for fire protection.
All of these classes get tied together in the capstone course, FSE 481 – Fire Protection Design. Students in this class do an overall design project using the knowledge gained from the program’s core classes. They formulate a problem, manage the project, finalize drawings and specifications, estimate cost, as well as other project components.
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