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Fire Protection Engineer Duties and Responsibilities

While a fire protection engineer's day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:

Consult with Designers on Fire Safety Issues Fire protection engineers provide expert technical support to other engineers, architects, and contractors to strengthen fire protection within blueprints. They create plans for fire detection tools, such as extinguishers, alarm systems, sprinklers, fire pumps, and more. Their work also helps designers evaluate a building's lifetime safety. The construction plans that fire protection engineers put in place guarantee needed protection measures are present.

Direct Fire Safety Installation Activities Managing the installation of fire safety devices is another important role of fire protection engineers. They direct the maintenance and repair of fire prevention equipment and coordinate key safety activities within departments.

Perform Fire Prevention Investigations Fire protection engineers carefully investigate deficiencies in buildings and construction sites that could cause fires in the future. They are also responsible for determining the causes of recent fires to uncover how they could have been prevented. Fire protection engineers work with fire departments to prevent blazes by drafting sprinkler design specifications, making hydraulic calculations, and selecting fire pumps.

Conduct Fire Prevention Trainings Conducting fire prevention workshops and training sessions is another responsibility of fire protection engineers. They educate managers, designers, construction workers, and company employees. During fire prevention classes, they share fire safety rules and regulations and suggest policy changes.

Write Documentation Reports Preparing and writing reports that outline specific fire prevention topics and procedures is another responsibility of fire protection engineers. They review work performed and provide written updates to key stakeholders.


Fire Protection Engineer Skills and Qualifications

Fire protection engineers have strong analytical and problem-solving skills. Employers typically seek candidates with at least three years of fire safety experience and a bachelor's or master's degree in engineering. The following skills are essential for getting the job done:
  • Fire hazard analysis - monitoring and examining potential fire hazards in buildings, water supplies, and construction sites is a key responsibility for fire protection engineers
  • Research skills - researching and testing fire retardants, ignition sources, and methods of extinguishing flames is another important responsibility
  • Fire safety equipment design - fire protection engineers help design alarm systems, fire prevention systems, and other detection devices
  • Building inspection - it is the responsibility of fire protection engineers to examine buildings for flaws that could cause fires
  • Technical writing - fire protection engineers document written procedures for other fire safety contractors to follow
  • Administrative skills - these engineers examine fire protection policies and fire codes and must to keep track of new or revised policies
  • Communication skills - fire protection engineers must communicate technical information and give important safety training to a variety of different people

Fire Protection Engineer Education and Training

It is common for fire protection engineers to have a bachelor's or master's degree in fire safety engineering, fire protection technology, or a related engineering field. Candidates with educational backgrounds in different engineering areas can usually take additional courses in fire protection or get on-the-job training. Employers typically seek candidates with at least three years of fire protection experience. A professional engineering (PE) license makes candidates especially attractive. Engineers who gain significant career experience may become eligible for certification by the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. This certification is an official mark of recognition within the field.

Fire Protection Engineer Salary and Outlook

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for fire protection engineers is $88,510. The lowest 10 percent of earners make less than $51,820. However, the highest 10 percent earn more than $139,630. Industry employment of fire protection engineers is projected to grow 9 percent through 2026. The BLS notes that this is about as fast as average for all occupations. As buildings, products, and processes become more complex, and as companies look to decrease costs while protecting lives, demand for fire protection engineers will rise.

Helpful Resources

We searched the web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a fire protection engineer. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect, and engage:

Society of Fire Protection Engineers - the official global organization fire protection engineers, SFPE has 92 chapters and offers networking events, educational opportunities, free training, and an online community

An Introduction to Fire Dynamics - this book covers the core fundamentals of fire dynamics, giving you the scientific knowledge necessary to succeed as a fire protection engineer

Industrial Fire Protection Engineering - this book details how engineers build fire protection into equipment and everyday products

Performance-Based Fire Safety Design - check out this book get advice from top experts in fire science. Readers learn how safety engineering can solve fire detection issues and how buildings perform during fires

"How to Become a Fire Protection Engineer" - read this article to discover the different paths you can take to become a fire protection engineer

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