Fire Safety Public Service Announcements Developed for College Students

Through a new initiative, sponsored by commercial and industrial property insurer FM Global, University of Maryland’s Fire Protection Engineering Department is reaching out to an important but often overlooked population—college students—about the importance of fire safety on campus.
As part of their department’s mission and in service to the campus community, students from the FPE Department worked with FM Global to produce a series of public service announcement (PSA) videos to educate students about fire safety in the residential living environment. These videos provide the fire safety message through student interviews and narratives, and the format is designed to engage students in thinking about the problem and educate them about common misconceptions in fire safety.
Three separate PSAs were created covering fire prevention, fire response, and fire technology.  The fire prevention video ( focuses on what students can do and be aware of to prevent fires from starting. The fire response video ( explains how to react in the event of a fire emergency. The fire technology video (, which is geared to the higher education risk management community, presents the benefits of sprinklers using engineering-oriented demonstrations at the University of Maryland and at the FM Global Research Campus.
These important PSAs are available for use on your campus free of charge. If you have questions about University of Maryland’s Fire Protection Engineering Department or its fire protection public service campaign, please visit or contact Dr. Andre Marshall at

Wood Stove Decathlon Student Team Featured by National Geographic!

November 14, 2013—The Wood Stove Decathlon starting Thursday in Washington, D.C., DSC_2430 (1)seeks to spur ideas for a new generation of high-tech efficient wood stoves. Among the 14 international finalists, only one team is from a university. The University of Maryland Mulciber team considers itself the underdog, but the students hope their innovative wood stove’s air flow technology will catch fire with the judges.

Watch the video here:

Maryland Counts Day: Flame Station

On Friday, May 3 the Department of Fire Protection Engineering hosted fourth grade students from five local elementary schools as part of their trip to College Park for Maryland Counts Day. Through series of presentations and live fire demonstrations, students were introduced to the basics of fire dynamics and fire safety, learning how different fires behave and the answer to the question- ‘What is a flame?’

Isaac Leventon teaches kids "what is a flame?

Isaac Leventon teaches kids “what is a flame?


Maryland Counts Day
The America Counts program places University of Maryland students in 8 Prince George’s County elementary schools to work with fourth graders on sharpening math and problem-solving skills. On Maryland Counts Day, all the children that participate in the program come to campus for the day to celebrate their accomplishments, engage in a variety of math activities, interact with college students, and experience a college campus.

Maryland Day Fire Tornado

Maryland day was a great success, with many visitors touring the laboratory to see what Fire Protection Engineering is all about. The main feature was our fire tornado, created in a room with 4 specially-located openings which induced a “whirl” when the hood was turned on. See below for photos of our students fully “testing” the fire tornado with their marshmallows and some high-speed video of the fire tornado in action.


UMD Participates in Wood Stove Challenge


A team from The University of Maryland, Team Mulciber, has been named a finalist in The Alliance for Green Heat’s Next Generation Wood Stove Design Challenge. The Challenge seeks to promote next generation stove designs, build a community of innovators and showcase stove innovation to the public.

The team worked quickly to design, construct, and test a prototype of a stove featuring several innovations that allow for simple operation and clean burning. The Mulciber stove incorporates a forced air flow system, a fixed wood configuration, coaxial heat recovery, and a smart control system, which regulates the stove to optimize temperature and oxygen concentration. These features create a user friendly stove that will far exceed current EPA standards for emissions.

The team will next design, test, optimize, and construct a prototype. In Nov., 2013, Team Mulciber will compete against 13 other finalists from around the world on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

WAMU 88.5 Features UMD FPE Lab

Feeling the Heat!

WAMU 88.5 featured the University of Maryland Fire Protection Engineering Laboratories in their annual ‘Feeling the Heat’ Metro Connection Program. The ‘Feeling the Heat’ series runs the first week of every August as metaphor and hyperbole for the hot Washington weather!

Hear students and faculty share their perspectives on the Hot Topic of Fire with WAMU’s Raphaella Bennin:

Fire Pots

Fire Pots are Dangerous!

At the request of the Maryland State Fire Marshal, FireTEC conducted a study to explore fire and burn hazards associated with fire pots (small ceramic burners used for ambiance lighting). Numerous accidents have been reported in association with these devices.

Our student engineers developed a remote testing device to explore these fire pot accidents. We found that even a small flame can travel up the ‘pour stream’ into the fuel gel container when refilling, creating an explosive fire event splattering burning fuel gel everywhere.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled the fuel used for fire pots and there is a movement to ban these devices. The video shows it all.

Candles are a Much Safer Option!

FireTEC Makes Promotional Video

Sometimes it can be hard to concisely describe the wide variety of work and research that go on in FireTEC lab. In light of this, some of the FireTEC staff have created a promotional video highlighting the many capabilities of the lab and show some footage of activities going on in the lab on a day to day basis. Check out this first hand look of FireTEC work below!

FireTEC Launches New Website

FireTEC has launched a brand new website design! The new website features explanations of standardized tests with content that will be continually updated. FireTEC is committed to supporting the educational aspect of its lab and will eventually include video demonstrations and explanations of each standard test.

Here at the blog, we will continue to post lab activities and events. Look forward to our summer updates once a week!


What is flashover anyway?

The students in Prof. Stoliarov’s ENFP620 Fire Dynamics Laboratory class performed an impressive flashover experiment to find out for themselves.

The students designed a small room (1.8 m X 1.5 m X 1.5 m) along with state-of-the-art fire instrumentation, which included a load cell (for burning rate), velocity probes (for ventilation rate), heat flux gauges, thermocouples, a computer-based data acquisition system, and lots of cameras! They placed steel pans (0.3 m – 0.5 m dia) in the center of the room filled with heptane (0.6 L – 1.8 L).

We saw clear indications of flashover where the fire behavior transitioned from the ‘fire-in-room condition’ to the ‘room-on-fire condition’. Take a look at the photos and video below. The students measured a steep increase in the fuel burning rate when the room temperatures rose in excess of 600 deg. C corresponding to flashover transition.

Now we know!