SFPE to Host Annual Conference & Expo October 17-19 in Baltimore, Maryland

Event will feature top leaders from across fire protection engineering and address timely topics such as wildfires, building fires and growing noncompliance to industry codes and standards

GAITHERSBURG, Md.--()--The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), the world's leading professional society representing those practicing in the field of fire protection and fire safety engineering, is hosting its 2021 Annual Conference & Expo in-person at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, in Baltimore, Maryland.

The event will feature leaders from across the fire protection and engineering industries including Stephen Kerber, Vice President of Research for Underwriters Laboratories and Director of UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute, and Jason D. Averill, Chief of the Materials and Structural Systems Division (MSSD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Conference programming will begin with a word from SFPE leadership on October 18, followed by high-level keynote presentations, panel discussions and breakout track sessions examining the latest industry trends. It will be packed with technical content, curated by a conference program committee and will promote and be a premier source for technical knowledge, information sharing and business networking for fire protection and fire safety engineers.

“At SFPE, we recognize the urgency for discussions around new fire standards, fire behavior and fire protection systems to ensure the safety of our global communities,” said Nicole Boston, CAE, CEO of SFPE. “We’re grateful to be able to gather in-person. It's a long-overdue chance to reconnect after COVID-19's tumultuous uncertainty and focus on some of the most important issues facing fire safety professionals.”

Issues like wildfires, building fires and noncompliance to industry codes and standards continue to cause concerns for communities across the globe. As of September 27, the National Interagency Fire Center’s (NIFC) situation report listed a total of 45,971 wildfires across the United States that burned more than 5.8 million acres. Other recent tragedies such as the Miami Surfside Condo collapse have also begun to see local governments across the nation expressing concern regarding the safety of their own buildings.

At the forum, attendees will find sessions discussing the importance of helping combat these issues, as well as recommendations from NIST on building codes, standards, and practices and the use of engineering principles to address fire challenges.

Additional noteworthy sessions include:

  • Finding a Voice for Fire Safety Progress | October 18, 8:15 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. ET
    • Stephen Kerber, Vice President of Research for Underwriters Laboratories and Director of UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute

      This talk will explore Kerber's perspective on how fire protection engineers can find their voice for fire safety progress. He will share his journey and how he found his voice to impact the overall safety and effectiveness of fire service. Steve will draw many parallels between the fire service and FPE communities with examples of SFPE Members that have made a difference. Join the discussion and bring your perspective on how we can further achieve fire safety progress!
  • NIST World Trade Center Investigation Recommendations and Changes to Building Codes, Standards, and Practices | October 18, 9:00 a.m. – 9:54 a.m. ET
    • Jason D. Averill, Materials and Structural Systems Division, NIST

      Jason Averill will summarize the findings and recommendations of the NIST World Trade Center investigation and discuss the principal changes to U.S. building codes, standards, and practices in the twenty years since 9/11.
  • Fire Protection for the Developing World – Opportunities and Challenges for the Other 80% | October 18, 4:45 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. ET
    • Richard Walls, head of the Fire Engineering Research Unit at Stellenbosch University

      The less developed countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa represent around 80% of the world’s population. Many of these countries lack suitable infrastructure, trained fire protection engineers, building code systems and well-resourced fire departments. Should we even be surprised when we hear of the next large-scale refugee camp fire in Bangladesh, informal settlement (slum) fire in South Africa or a garment factory fire that kills dozens of workers? However, the developing world also presents great opportunities for markets for fire engineering as there are rapidly growing populations, big infrastructure projects, large-scale mining activities and petrochemical projects. This talk will look at both the realities and opportunities for making a difference, making profits and making education available in countries where improved fire safety can make a major impact.
  • Ensure Qualified People in the Fire Protection Engineering Community | October 19, 12:45 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET
    • Douglas Fisher, Society of Fire Protection Engineers and LEED® Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction, Fisher Engineering

      Finding qualified fire protection engineers has challenged employers for some time. Determining the challenges attendees see in finding, training, and recognizing fire protection engineers will assist the Society in dedicating resources to improve fire protection engineering awareness and recognition programs such as educational offerings or credentials. Help move fire protection engineering forward by bringing your thoughts to this engaging session!

Educating new and emerging professionals in developing nations and around the world to create a strong foundational base of qualified people in the fire protection engineering community is a core staple of the SFPE Conference & Expo.

By registering for the conference, individuals gain access to all technical sessions (earn up to 12 PDH credits), access to all three receptions, complimentary breakfast and lunch during conference days, and access to Expo Hall.

Ready to join us? To learn more and register for the event, visit: https://sfpe.users.membersuite.com/events/6787e542-0078-cd03-d948-e14995a8013c/details

About SFPE

The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) was established in 1950 and incorporated as a not-for-profit membership organization in 1971. It is the world's leading professional society representing those practicing in the field of fire protection and fire safety engineering. The Society has over 4,800 members and over 110 chapters worldwide, including more than 20 student chapters. SFPE serves its members and the profession through the development of the Fire Protection Engineering Handbook, engineering standards and guidelines, research, technical seminars, conferences, webinars, publications, and outreach and advocacy. The Society also plays a critical role in supporting the development of the Professional Engineer (PE) licensing exam in fire protection and the grading of those exams under the auspices of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).


Mike Atkinson

Release Summary

SFPE is hosting its 2021 Annual Conference & Expo in-person at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, in Baltimore, Maryland on October 17-19, 2021.


Mike Atkinson