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UC fire engineers warmly welcome new FENZ facility

UC fire engineers warmly welcome new FENZ educational facility

The University of Canterbury (UC) is lighting up its fire engineering research and looking forward to closer collaboration with the Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) when the new fire station and research facility opens next door to the University’s Ilam campus.

Fire and Emergency has broken ground today on a new facility on Creyke Road, Ilam, Christchurch, beside the University’s Engineering precinct which includes the UC Fire Lab. There are plans to share resources, further strengthen the longstanding relationship, and expand current research initiatives between the two organisations.

UC Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey looks forward to welcoming Fire and Emergency into the UC community.

“The Fire Station and Fire Engineering Educational Training Facility is a welcome addition to the UC community. Our students and engineering staff will benefit from the hands-on practical learning and knowledge sharing, plus the Ilam community will benefit from reduced response times and increased local resource,” she says.

“UC is the only university in New Zealand to offer qualifications in Fire Engineering. This close relationship with Fire and Emergency will further increase the industry relevance of the UC engineering qualification as students will benefit from embedded practical learnings, and the opportunity to ‘ride along’ and connect with industry professionals.”

UC’s Director of Studies for Fire Engineering, Dr Anthony Abu, is the FENZ Senior Lecturer in Structural Fire Engineering. His main area of research is in the analysis and design of steel and concrete structures to the effects of fires.

“Closer collaboration with Fire and Emergency New Zealand will help us share and expand knowledge. We have discussed research collaborations on firefighter safety, including by improving sensor capabilities of firefighter gear to better inform them of the dangers they face as they work, and to provide them with advanced warning systems that tell them exactly where a fire may have occurred in a building as they travel to the incident,” Dr Abu says.

“Their presence on campus will encourage more students to become volunteers. We also believe that in the long-term UC will be able to assist Fire and Emergency with data on their delivery of a fire-safe Aotearoa New Zealand as well as provide management courses for their senior staff.”

UC has enjoyed a close relationship with Fire and Emergency for more than 26 years, which includes funding the academic role of the FENZ Senior Lecturer in Structural Fire Engineering and up to $80,000 annually in UC student scholarships.

UC Master’s student Vivian Ye is specialising in fire engineering. She participated in two summer research projects funded by Fire and Emergency – in 2017 she worked on “understanding and improving fire ventilation tactics in New Zealand” and in 2018 she investigated “existing methodologies for estimating fire flow requirements both domestically and internationally”.

“The two research projects were financially supported by Fire and Emergency, which provided a great opportunity for me to contribute to on-going practical issues,” says Vivian.

“In addition, through visits to Fire and Emergency headquarters in Wellington, I learnt first-hand how the courses and research in the UC Fire Engineering Programme are directly applicable to the challenging, but practical operations of the fire service. So, it was wonderful to have contributed to the mutual learning between UC and Fire and Emergency. I really appreciate that experience.”


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