2010-2011

Honeywell to Name Fundamentals Lab Area of WPI's New Fire Protection Engineering Facility

The future WPI Fire Protection Engineering Lab is expected to house activities related to combustion and explosion, fire and materials, policy and risk, suppression, wildland-urban interface fires, and engineering tools to support the fire service.

WPI President Dennis Berkey, left, with FPE Professor and Dept. Head Kathy A. Notarianni, and Peter Clark of Honeywell Fire Systems

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) announces the establishment of a new fire protection engineering facility sponsored in part by Honeywell Life Safety, a division of Honeywell International. The state-of-the-art WPI Fire Protection Engineering Lab, a new facility still in the conceptual phase, is expected to house activities related to combustion and explosion, fire and materials, policy and risk, suppression, wildland-urban interface fires, and engineering tools to support the fire service.

The Honeywell Life Safety Fundamentals Lab will support the leading-edge education and research of WPI's world-renowned Fire Protection Engineering Program. WPI and Honeywell Life Safety share a commitment to leading the world to safety and to protecting the public, firefighters, and first responders globally by supplying them with the most technologically advanced fire alarm systems and sensors and personal protective equipment available.

"Worcester Polytechnic Institute has been a great contributor to the fire protection industry and Honeywell certainly wants to help further this mission," says Mark Levy, president of Honeywell Life Safety. "We’re going to provide our most advanced fire alarm systems and firefighter protective gear for this new lab to ensure the school continues its groundbreaking work."

WPI is home to the world's leading graduate program in fire protection engineering, where experts from a broad array of backgrounds come together to solve fire protection engineering challenges. Students in the program come from such diverse disciplines as chemical, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering, architecture, and more. WPI's fire protection engineering courses lay the groundwork for a firm understanding of the dynamics of fire: causes, prevention, and how to protect structures, vehicles, clothing, and people from fire's devastating effects.

In addition to offering the nation's first master's degree program in the field, the university was the first to provide a graduate-level program in fire protection engineering via distance learning in 1993, and it grants the world's only formal PhD program in fire protection engineering. WPI has conferred more than 350 master's and doctoral degrees in fire protection engineering and currently delivers programs to students hailing from more than 30 countries.

"We are extremely grateful for Honeywell's commitment to WPI's fire protection engineering initiatives," says WPI Professor and Fire Protection Engineering Department Head Kathy Ann Notarianni. "Honeywell is a dedicated industry leader and partner in advancing education and research to benefit all those involved in fire safety."

Honeywell Life Safety joins Chicago-based Rolf Jensen & Associates (RJA) and Schirmer Engineering in supporting WPI's new fire protection engineering lab. These sponsors were recognized at an event on Sept. 23 to celebrate WPI's Fire Protection Engineering program. Alumni of the program and distinguished guests gathered at WPI for a day of panel discussions that celebrated the university's leadership role in fire protection engineering, reflected on the program's distinguished history, and looked toward its future. A highlight of the day-long program, which was sponsored in part by Tyco International Ltd., was a dinner and special recognition of Raymond Friedman, a pioneer in fire protection engineering and author of Principles of Fire Protection Chemistry and Physics, as well as a remembrance of Duane Pearsall, inventor of the first practical home smoke detector, WPI Presidential Medal and honorary degree recipient, and great friend of the WPI Fire Protection Engineering program.

September 30, 2010

Contact: Michael Dorsey, Director of Research Communications, +1-508-831-5609, mwdorsey@wpi.edu