FPE Department Chair Arnaud Trouve 2023General Departmental Information

Welcome to fire protection engineering (FPE)! FPE is a unique specialty that puts engineering in the service of the common good. Fire protection engineers work at multiple scales (materials, products, rooms, buildings, communities, landscape, etc.) and develop design solutions to protect people, property, structures, the environment, and also the planet from the negative effects of fires. Fire protection engineers consider established technologies like water-based sprinkler systems to protect the built environment as well as new technologies like multispectral sensors, drones and artificial intelligence to more rapidly detect and suppress fires both in the built environment and in the wildland. Examples of new hot topics in FPE include fire and explosion safety in Lithium-ion batteries, fire safety at the wildland-urban-interface, fire safety in automated high-density storage warehouses, fire safety in mass timber buildings, fire and explosion safety in hydrogen systems, etc.

Our graduates take pride in getting a degree that is in high demand and that is delivered by a department that is unique. The FPE Department at UMD is the only ABET-accredited undergraduate fire protection engineering program in the U.S., and one of only three graduate fire protection engineering programs in the U.S. (the best!). In addition, the FPE Department is recognized as a national and international leader, both in the fire engineering profession and in the fire research community. The department is staffed by leading experts in the practice and in the science of fire safety engineering. Our faculty holds prominent roles in leading professional and research organizations associated with fire engineering, in particular the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE, https://www.sfpe.org), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA, https://www.nfpa.org), the International Association for Fire Safety Science (IAFSS, https://iafss.org), and the International Fire Safety Consortium (IFSC, https://intlfire.org).

Our graduates can also take pride in getting a degree that serves as the entry point to a vast network of alumni and friends in the fire engineering industry. Our alumni are very much involved in the life of the department, for instance through their contributions as members of the Curriculum Advisory Committee and the Board of Visitors, through their participation in courses as adjunct faculty, and through mentoring our students in class projects and summer internships. Alumni and friends also provide support to the department through donations, funding of scholarships, and/or membership of their firms to the Fire Research and Education (FIRE) Center. The FIRE Center supports our most talented undergraduate and graduate students with scholarships and teaching assistantships.

The FPE Department offers Batchelor of Science (B.S.) and Master of Science (M.S.) degrees through ENFP, a Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree and a Graduate Certificate in Engineering through ENPM, and à-la-carte courses outside of a degree program. The B.S. and M.S. degrees are offered on-campus (https://fpe.umd.edu/undergraduate/degrees/bachelor-science and https://fpe.umd.edu/graduate/degrees/master-science); the M.Eng. and Graduate Certificate in Engineering are offered both on-campus and online (https://mage.umd.edu/fire-protection). Information on the on-campus B.S. degree program may be obtained from Dr. Peter Sunderland (pbs@umd.edu), FPE Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies. Information on the on-campus M.S. degree program may be obtained from me, Dr. Arnaud Trouvé (atrouve@umd.edu), FPE Professor and Chair, and Director of Graduate Studies. Information on the online option for the M.Eng. degree, the Graduate Certificate in Engineering, or on non-degree programs may be obtained from Dr. James Milke (milke@umd.edu), FPE Professor and Director of the FPE Distance Learning Program.

The FPE department does not confer a Ph.D. degree. However, students may pursue a Ph.D. degree with a strong emphasis on fire protection engineering by enrolling in the Ph.D. programs of other UMD departments, such as Mechanical, Aerospace or Civil Engineering. Fire Protection Engineering faculty are affiliated with these departments and can serve as Ph.D. advisors. Information on the Ph.D. degree options may be obtained from Dr. Trouvé. Current research topics include fire dynamics, flammability of materials, fire detection, fire suppression, structural performance in fire, toxicity of the fire smoke, fire in microgravity conditions, fire forensics, application of UAS to wildfire problems, human behavior in fires, etc. Detailed information on current research activities can be found at https://fpe.umd.edu/graduate/research-activities.

The department also offers a testing capability called the Fire Testing and Evaluation Center (FireTEC). FireTEC provides an opportunity for companies to take advantage of the department’s laboratory facilities and expertise to conduct experimental studies to explore the fire performance of materials, products, and systems.

A Final Personal Note

It is my great pleasure and an honor to serve as the Department of Fire Protection Engineering Chair. The department has a mission to serve both the practice of fire safety engineering and the science of fire. The objectives of the department are to grow the numbers of engineers in the field as well as to develop the knowledge and tools that are required to provide suitable and sustainable solutions to fire safety problems. The department prides itself in nurturing a close-knit community atmosphere with collegial and collaborative relationships between students, faculty, staff and alumni. 

FPE has passion! FPE cares! FPE has purpose! Please reach out to me and consider joining us in fire protection engineering!

Arnaud Trouvé, Ph.D.