Fire protection engineering – the study of the causes of fires and how building design influences the prevention and suppression of fires – is a rapidly growing sector of the job market, Charles Joyce, PE, director of fire safety at AKF Group®, told students from the Fred DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science.
“Since 9/11, the need for Fire Protection Engineers has increased dramatically,” Joyce said. “These devastating events make people realize all the things we still don’t know about building design.”
Mr. Joyce spoke to engineering students as part of the DeMatteis School’s Executive Speaker Series. The series brings industry professionals to campus to provide insight into career options.
In addition to serving as the head of AKF’s Fire and Life Safety team, Joyce is the vice chair of the Fire Protection Systems Technical Committee developing the next version of the New York City Building Code. He was also involved in the $1.1 billion renovation of Madison Square Garden.
In his presentation, Fire Protection Engineering: Protecting People, Property and the Environment, Joyce discussed the roles and responsibilities of fire protection engineers, including analyzing fire hazards and design solutions, installing and maintaining fire detection, suppression and communication systems, and post-fire investigation and analysis.
Joyce also outlined the variety of career paths available for engineers interested in fire protection, such as insurance underwriting, laboratory testing and product development, working for a regulatory agency or in building design and consulting.
“It was interesting to learn about all of the elements involved in fire protection and how Fire Protection Engineers need to coordinate with civil engineers on issues like the weight of water tanks,” said Benjamin Rey ’20, a mechanical engineering major. “This is a career I would definitely consider in the future.”
AKF Group is a full-service consulting engineering firm serving public and private sector clients across the United States and worldwide.