Back in 2014 I had the honour to graduate from the International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering (IMFSE). With a background in structural engineering, the IMFSE program allowed me to become a Fire Safety expert. Also thanks to the mobility of the program by attending four different universities, I became part of a unique and global network of engineers. As part of my fourth and last IMFSE semester I wrote my thesis at Queensland University, Australia.
Being originally from Belgium, I could not have imagined starting a career on the other side of the world, yet even before graduating I easily found a job and started a career with the New Zealand Fire Service in Auckland, New Zealand. A job at the Engineering Unit of the Fire Service consists of three main aspects, most importantly reviewing of fire safety designs and providing advice to building councils, secondly doing specific Fire Engineering projects and last but not least conducting Post Incident Analysis (e.g. fire investigation).
After being in the job for over a year, I was invited to give a seminar for the local SFPE chapter at Queensland University. The goal of my talk was to give an overview of what fire engineering is all about and what a great and diverse field of engineering it is. More specifically, during this talk I shared some of my most interesting project work and fire investigation. Moreover, the talk was concluded with discussing my experiences with the Verification Method and the potential pros and cons of introducing such a framework.
The IMFSE program will not train you in specific code or legislation, so as a graduate engineer I had to become familiar with the specifics of fire engineering practices within New Zealand. However, the study curriculum offered me skills and knowledge that go way beyond any specific legislation or practice and I was able to quickly learn and adapt to local practices whilst also offering a fresh and critical perspective.