The University of Ulster’s world-renowned Institute for Fire Safety Engineering Research and Technology (FireSERT), recently played host to a delegation of 50 fire officers from the French Academy for Fire, Rescue and Civil Protection.
Ecole Nationale SupÃ©rieure des Officiers de Sapeurs Pompiers (ENSOSP) students enjoyed a five-day, tailor-made course in fire safety engineering delivered by Ulster experts Professor Ali Nadjai, Professor Michael Delichatsios, Dr Karen Boyce and Dr Jianping Zhang.
The course consisted of lectures on subjects including fire dynamics, structural fire engineering and human behaviour in fire, plus laboratory experiments and the opportunity to witness a spectacular demonstration of structural performance during fire, in FireSERT’s unique 600-metre-square burn hall.
Students also enjoyed a fascinating presentation by Mr Barry McAllister, Director RPS Consulting Engineers, regarding the use of fire safety engineering in the iconic Titanic Belfast.
Course co-ordinator Dr Karen Boyce said: “Each year, as part of their fire officer training, ENSOP students organise a study tour and in 2013 they chose to come to Ulster and spend a week studying fire engineering.
“FireSERT is a world-leading provider of higher education in scientific and technical fire safety engineering, with a well established MSc Fire Safety Engineering programme.
“The experimental facilities here at Jordanstown, combined with our multi-disciplinary team of scientists, engineers and psychologists are unique in Ireland and within the UK university sector.
“As well as our world-class reputation, the reason ENSOSP chose to come to FireSERT is because one of their students, Julien Gsell, is a former University of Ulster MSc Fire Safety Engineering graduate.
“Our MSc has welcomed many students from France over the years and many graduates are now working in engineering consultancies in France.
Julien was so impressed by his time at FireSERT and by the culture in Northern Ireland, that he instigated the initial contact about a study tour to Ulster.
“By talking to ENSOSP, we were able to create and structure a week-long course that was specific to the organisation’s needs.”
Added Dr Boyce: “To complement lessons and experiments, the students were also able to witness first-hand the ground-breaking research work being carried out at Ulster.
“This is the first course of its kind that FireSERT has delivered for ENSOP and the University of Ulster looks forward to welcoming the organisation again and indeed other international bodies keen to avail of our extensive expertise.”
FireSERT is the Institute for Fire Safety Engineering Research and Technology within the School of Built Environment, Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment. It is located on the Jordanstown Campus.
A multi-disciplinary team of scientists, engineers, modellers and psychologists are led by Professor Michael Delichatsios.
FireSERT’s four core areas of activity are fire dynamics and materials, structural fire engineering, active fire protection and human behaviour in fire.
FireSERT staff have attracted significant project funding from UK research councils, government, the European Union and industry.
The facilities developed for undertaking world-class fire safety research are exceptional. A 600-metre-square burn hall allows full-scale fire research to be undertaken. A 20 MW facility, a large-scale combination wall and floor furnace (3m x 3m x 4m long), intermediate and small size furnaces facilitate investigations over a wide range of scales.
These facilities are complemented by a well equipped fire dynamics and chemistry laboratory furnished with TGA/FTIR/DSC/MS and two cone calorimeters, one standard and one having a controlled oxidizer atmosphere. In addition to the experimental laboratories, extensive dedicated computer facilities are available for fire modelling, using CFD.
A specific set of laboratories are also available for the investigation of human behaviour in fire, allowing fundamental work to be undertaken on human responses to fire and evacuation simulations.
For further information go to: www.firesert.ulster.ac.uk
CAPTION: ENSOSP Commandant Philippe Chauvin pictured with FireSERT’s Dr Karen Boyce