International Fire Safety Consortium launched to address urgent global challenges

Five universities across the globe have joined forces to launch the International Fire Safety Consortium, a new global research initiative that brings together expertise to tackle critical fire safety challenges.

Fire safety researchers from the University of Melbourne, Lund University, University of Edinburgh, University of Maryland and University of Queensland have come together in collaboration with industry, government and non-governmental organizations to help inform policy, protect property and save lives through the consortium.

Director of the Advanced Protective Technologies for Engineering Structures Group Professor Tuan Ngo, Head of Sustainable Buildings Research Group Professor Lu Aye and Fire Behavioural Research Fellow Dr Alex Filkov are the key researchers from the University of Melbourne contributing to the consortium.

Bush in front of clouds tinted orange by bushfires with dead tree in foreground

Research shows that changes in climate lead to warmer and drier conditions and longer fire seasons, resulting in increased area burned and more frequent fire occurrence.

The current Australian bushfires and recent wildland fires in California are prime examples of the increasing scope of fire-related disasters across the world.

“Given the continuing substantial growth of wildland and urban interface it is important to assess the effects of natural and technical hazards on buildings and infrastructure,” Professor Ngo said.

Fires result in hundreds of thousands of deaths each year and significant financial losses according to the Fire Protection Research Foundation. Due to current pivotal trends in global urbanization, climate change, human migration, and social inequality, the need to address fire safety as a humanitarian issue has become urgent.

Firefighter in protective equipment standing in front of bushfire flames

Researchers from the five university partners bring expertise in multiple areas, including: structural fire safety, fire development modeling, wildfires, industrial fire protection systems, fire technology design, risk analysis, fire performance-based design of buildings, fire and sustainability, sociology of technology, combustion science, fire dynamics, suppression, evacuation, intelligent egress and human behavior in fire, fire service intervention, materials and engineered timber, pyrolysis, gasification, ignition and flame spread.

The five universities are all members of Universitas 21, a leading global network of research-intensive universities that empowers its members to collaborate across borders and nurture global knowledge exchange.

The International Fire Safety Consortium held a workshop in February at the University of Maryland inviting partner organisations in the Washington, DC and mid-Atlantic region to engage in discussions on global fire safety initiatives.

For further information, please visit the International Fire Safety Consortium website.

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