A protection engineer, also called a fire prevention engineer, specializes in designing new materials and equipment to protect buildings from flammable hazards. These engineers study the causes of fires, as well as similar threats from explosions or smoke damage. Protection engineers work with architects and building managers to ensure that facilities are safe from these lethal dangers.
Before an individual can work as a protection engineer, he or she must obtain a bachelor’s degree in engineering or science. A protection specialist typically studies for four years at the undergraduate college level, and must take courses in fire protection and civil engineering. After completing a college degree, a protection engineer often works for insurance agencies, government agencies, and protection equipment manufacturers. Many are also employed by facilities that have a high risk of hazards, including oil refineries and chemical plants. Regardless of the employer, engineers provide important advice on the proper techniques and gear to reduce potential damage and save lives.
A protection engineer frequently performs physical inspections of buildings and equipment to ensure that everything is in safe working order. These specialists use their education and creativity to consider different ways that a fire could start or spread. Once they identify a potential threat, specialists must also develop a safe solution. This may be difficult at times, as engineers are often required to work with limited budgets and resources.
Even the best-designed facility is susceptible to dangerous hazards. In addition to preventing unsafe conditions, a protection engineer must plan different options for worst-case fire scenarios. These options typically include fire detection alarms and extinguishing equipment for people within a building. Specialists must ensure that proper escape routes and evacuation procedures are in place for every person.
Many protection experts spend a significant amount of time conducting ongoing research. Engineers may perform experiments on flame-retardant material to find the most effective substances. They also research how materials react to different ignition sources such as sparks or heat, and make sure that unsafe textiles are kept away from these hazards.
Continuing education also plays a significant role in protection engineering. Specialists often attend conferences and seminars in order to share information regarding fire protection and risk mitigation. These conferences allow engineers to learn about new materials and technologies that can help safeguard people and property. Typically, a protection engineer should be open to new ideas to stay on the cutting edge of safety advances.