Home to one of three fire protection engineering graduate programs in the country, WPI’s Fire Protection Engineering Department has driven more research, developed more real-world solutions, and graduated more in-demand experts in the last 30 years than any other university.

Our internationally renowned faculty members are recognized for cutting-edge research and teaching focused on making the world safer by tackling challenging questions about fire behavior and our response to it. Students work alongside them in state-of-the-art facilities to gain and create knowledge that informs and shapes regulatory policy, building design, manufacturing processes, first responder operations, and product performance standards.

Center for First Responder Technology

Stirred by the events of the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire in December 1999 and the tragedy of 9/11, WPI has been developing and applying innovative technologies and new ideas to alleviate the dangers that firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and other first responders face every day.

Performance Engineering Laboratory at Gateway Park

FPE Faculty and student researchers have access to facilities that are unmatched in academia—including the Performance Engineering Laboratory at Gateway Park, where researchers can conduct large-scale burns up to a two-story building.

A High-Demand Career Path

The demand for fire protection engineers continues to grow, providing nearly unlimited career opportunities for WPI FPE graduates. Our alumni are highly sought after and can be found working as consultants, at fire protection equipment manufacturers, and in government, the insurance industry, research laboratories, and more. Their jobs have taken them from the South Pole to Alaskan pipelines, Disney World, and beyond.

Brian J. Meacham

Associate Professor
Fire Protection Engineering
Worldwide, there are increasing efforts to better understand the performance of buildings and infrastructure under a wide range of events, from accidental to deliberate, fire to natural hazards, climate change to terrorism. There is also an increasing focus on understanding the perceptions and responses of people to these events. This knowledge can then be employed in developing technology and policy solutions that better meet societal expectations for building and infrastructure safety and performance, resulting in a better allocation of resources focused on critical needs.
Kathy A. Notarianni

Associate Professor
Fire Protection Engineering
Today, firefighters serve increasingly as first responders for emergency medical calls, civil emergencies, terrorist threats, and hazardous materials incidents, in addition to fire emergencies. The fire service needs tools and technologies that aid in carrying out their ever expanding mission without increasing costs. My research is focused on working with the fire service to achieve this important goal. I am conducting research on fire department mobilization times and exposure of fire fighters to toxic gases.
Nicholas A. Dembsey

Professor
Fire Protection Engineering
In today’s cost-conscious world, ensuring greater life safety and property protection has never been more challenging. To this end, my research focuses on the building performance applications of fire dynamics, fire characteristics of materials, and fire models. I am working with students in the following areas: fire safety of green buildings; develop of new techniques and guidance documents for practicing engineers to measure fire properties of materials; and in the optimization of building assemblies for fire performance, ease of manufacturing and cost effectiveness.  View Linkedin page.
Tahar El-Korchi

Prof/DH CEE & Interim DH FPE
Codirector, Panama Project Center
Civil & Environmental Engineering 
I enjoy my interactions with students at all levels of education, research, and mentoring, whether it be in the classroom, the lab, or in project work. I especially enjoy taking them to the Morocco Project Center and sharing with them the places where I grew up. Challenging the students to achieve higher levels of discovery is a thrill for me.

Avoiding Costly Losses Due to Fire

This white paper, written by FPE professor of practice Milosh Puchovsky, introduces the profession of fire protection engineering and explores the many roles fire protection engineers play in helping organizations mitigate fire and explosion threats.