Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has launched a new industry focused part-time Fire Engineering programme for professionals wishing to upskill and develop competencies in fire safety.
The Bachelor of Engineering in Fire Engineering will be delivered on Friday evenings and Saturdays over a 12 month period.
In Waterford to launch the programme was John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. Speaking at the launch, Minister Phelan said: “Modern building methods and regulation have greatly improved the fire safety of our built environment, but there is also scope for improvement. This course will not only serve to educate those who have responsibility for designing, building or refurbishing our living and working environments going forward, but also those who serve as the failsafe, who ensure initial and ongoing fire safety of our buildings and those who endeavour to protect us should the worst happen.”
Industry engagement and meeting the needs of industry is a key factor of programme development at WIT. Dr Derek Sinnott, head of the Department of the Built Environment, developed the part-time programme with valuable industry input from the chief fire officer of Wexford County Council, Paul L’Estrange, to meet the demand for employees with specialist fire safety engineering skills.
Dr Sinnott explained that there is growing awareness of fire safety in design and a greater understanding of the need for competence in fire protection design and for installation professionals. Additionally, the introduction of the Building Control Amendment Regulations (BCAR) 2014 has had a very significant effect on the way building design and construction is managed and certified.
“Grenfell Tower, Priory Hall and Millfield Manor are all names that we all know of because recent issues and media coverage. While this comes in the wake of recent high profile fire events, the programme has been in development for a number of years. By participating in programmes like our new Fire Engineering course, graduates will possess a comprehensive understanding of the scientific and technological principles related to fire science and engineering and will be equipped to deal with complex fire engineering issues,” Dr Sinnott said.
Paul L’Estrange added: “The Fire Engineering degree will also be of great benefit to local authority staff who want to progress from firefighter and fire officer through to senior ranks. This industry-led course will equip them with specialist knowledge of fire in all its forms, enabling them to respond professionally and perform effectively in the highly complex and challenging world of fire safety, fire prevention and emergency management.”