In 2014, AcuTech facilitated a partnership between University of Maryland Fire Protection Engineering Program (UM FPE) and the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center (MKOPSC). Prior to this the two institutions were not directly involved with one another on the topic of PSM.
President and CEO of AcuTech, David Moore graduated from UM with a degree in Fire Protection Engineering and is a Professional Engineer in FPE. AcuTech provides Process Safety Management and Fire Protection Engineering Services to companies globally and recognizes the need for improvement in PSM performance.
“Fire and explosions are the leading cause of accidental deaths and damage in the process industries”, Moore said. “The nexus between fire protection engineering and process safety management provides many opportunities for collaboration between the two universities for improving our understanding of fire and explosion behavior and dynamics, fire prevention, and mitigation.”
To build this partnership, Texas A&M University’s MKOPSC and University of Maryland FPE have held a series of meetings towards the goal of enhancing the knowledge of fire protection and integrating Fire Protection Engineering into Process Safety Management through sharing courses, providing opportunities for alumni to network and planning for future research opportunities. To kick off this collaboration, University of Maryland Fire Protection Engineering Department, AcuTech and MKOPSC presented at a special session at the MKOPSC 2014 International Symposium in College Station on October 30, 2014.
Presentation by David Moore – AcuTech – Fire Protection Engineering Practices and PSM – MKOPSC 2014
Key conclusions were that there are industry needs additional efforts and guidance to assist in reducing fire and explosion incidents. Some ideas that emerged included:
– Additional guidance on how to integrate PSM and fire protection engineering
– Practical tools for fire and explosion hazards analysis and consequence estimation during PHAs
– Guidance on fire and explosion prevention in design
– Training on loss prevention and fire protection principles
– Research on key issues of common interest
– Seminars on the topics
Mr. Moore also wanted to give back to his alma mater and provide opportunities for young fire protection engineers and chemical engineers. AcuTech has hired UM FPEs at the Washington, DC, Business Unit office and has donated $50,000 to the UMD FPE Legacy Program to fund a new professor at UM (http://www.enfp.umd.edu/legacy-campaign).
“Understanding how to prevent and manage fire hazards is fundamental to understanding how to improve PSM performance”, according to Moore. “I am thrilled to bring the two leading institutions on the topic together for a long term collaboration on the problem. Many graduates of both programs have made a difference in saving lives from fire and explosions and are active in PSM today. It was natural that we leveraged the knowledge and power of both universities for the benefit of PSM”.