Feds Turns to Classrooms to Fight Fires


Each year in the United States, there are enormous economic losses as a result of fire. According to federal statistics, almost 1.6 million fires were reported in the U.S. in 2003. These fires contributed to over $12 billion dollars in direct property losses.

Because of these substantial personal economic losses as a result of fire, the federal government is providing grants to assist state, regional, national or local organizations to address fire prevention.

As part of this program, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), based in Bethesda, Md., has been awarded a grant to develop three college-level courses in the subject of fire-protection engineering. These courses will be used in colleges throughout the U.S. that offer fire science programs at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels.

“These fire science programs provide our nation’s firefighters the opportunity to pursue college-level learning,” says SFPE engineering program manager Chris Jelenewicz. “The curricula developed by SFPE will provide fire science students with a firm understanding of the fundamental engineering principles that are used to design ways to protect people from fire.”

Additionally, as part of this grant, SFPE will develop two engineering guides. The first will summarize methods that predict fire hazards and the second will provide a framework for conducting fire risk assessments. SFPE will also develop a web-based distance learning program for the fire service on the topic of fire risk assessment.

This grant was provided by the U.S. Fire Administration’s Fire Prevention and Firefighter Safety Program that is part of the FY 2004 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. The Fire Prevention and Firefighter Safety Program is designed to assist state, regional or local organizations in protecting citizens and firefighters against the effects of fire and fire-related incidents.

“In this nation, far too many individuals lose their lives or are injured by fire. Among these victims are firefighters, who provide emergency response services to their fellow residents,” says U.S. fire administrator R. David Paulison. “The nation’s firefighters and American homes are safer today through this important grant program.”

For more information go to www.sfpe.org .

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