The Fire Department’s Fire Protection Engineering Unit is involved in a number of areas, including:
Consultation to the Public. Offers knowledge and experience before, during and after construction and also for special events (evaluating building design, active and passive fire protection, human behavior during emergencies, risk analysis, escape facilities, hazardous materials, etc.).
Plan Review. Review of construction plans and processes. Like other cities, the City and County of Denver faces new hazards and threats (new hazardous materials and processes, terrorist and criminal actions, etc.) and new construction materials, techniques and furnishings. The Fire Protection Engineering Unit provides a level of technical expertise and capability that for many years was only available in large cities such as Seattle, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Construction design review ensures that safety systems installed within the City and County of Denver are appropriate for the structure and that all systems operate and are integrated in accordance with the overall fire safety design, and that these systems’ interfaces are user-friendly and are coordinated with the Fire Operations Division; there is no time to compensate for illogical design when fire crews arrive at an emergency incident. Fire Department plan review protects the public by reducing the potential hazards of unsafe construction or processes and ensures public health, safety, and welfare. Comprehensive plan review ensures the completed project will meet minimum standards of safety and will be less likely to cause injuries to occupants.
Consultation to the City’s Emergency Management Team. The Fire Protection Engineering Unit is a key resource to the City’s emergency management team and incident command system, providing consultation on emergency management, contingency planning and emergency response. The engineers’ education and background in fire dynamics and structural behavior provides the incident commander with guidance that keeps occupants and firefighters safe, effectively reducing injuries. Following an emergency event, the Fire Protection Engineering Unit will often work hand in hand with the Fire Investigation Unit to support investigations by performing engineering analysis and fire modeling.
Training and Support. Despite their heavy construction plan workload, the engineers regularly deliver training to Firefighters and to many different agencies, assist with technical inspections, and are occasionally assigned special projects.