A fire protection design engineer is like a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to engineering disciplines. A well-trained and experienced fire suppression design engineer will have at least a passing knowledge of nearly every kind of engineering and the scientific principles behind them. Here are just three types of engineering a fire suppression expert must know.
Electrical Engineering. Fire protection engineers need to have a solid understanding of electronics, so they can work hand-in-hand with the electrical engineers who help install the sophisticated fire detection devices on the edge of today's technology. It's also important for fire protection design engineers to advise electrical engineers on new and safer methods of preventing electrical fires.
Mechanical Engineering. Fireproofing a building generally requires two separate tasks: Active fire suppression, which includes designing and installing methods of putting out a fire once it starts (like sprinkler systems) and passive fire suppression, which helps prevent fires from starting in the first place, and keeping them confined to as small an area as possible when they do. Fire protection engineers must have a working knowledge of mechanical engineering and materials science in order to implement an effective passive fire suppression system.
Plumbing Engineering. Every fire protection design engineer is part plumbing engineer, since many active fire suppression systems are required by local regulations to feature a sprinkler system or other method of spraying fire-retardant substances. For such systems to be properly implemented, the water (or other fire retardant material) has to be carried from one place to another. In this regard, the fire protection design engineer must have at least a working knowledge of plumbing -- at least enough to be able to communicate with the plumbing engineer he might be sharing office space with.