I gave a talk on Fort McMurray to young professionals on June 2nd. The goal was to explain rationally the engineering and science side of the disaster.

I attended the CSCE conference this year in London Ontario with several students from Carleton. We had several presentations to do. I gave a talk to young professionals and students on Fort McMurray and my thoughts pertaining to how it happened and how we will see this again. I think there is a responsibility of young professionals to be proactive in assessing and studying international hazards and how they pertain to Canada – we need to be more proactive. I am concerned though that the learning opportunities from an engineering perspective are slipping away from us for this particular disaster. Subsequently in our research team we are looking into a few of the underlying issues related to the disaster this summer. It was however great to see the energy from the youth in discussing the issues in Canada. I had a great time chatting with student members of my former alumni school UofO.

Student capstone projects

I also took in the capstone competition to see what other groups were doing. Carleton came in first owing to the fantastic performance of the representing students who got through their presentation and Q and A flawlessly (they had two minutes to do so!) They rocked it though. This isnt an easy feat for any of the groups though. I think again you really have to hand it to the students – they did this, and they were fantastic to pull it off. I had conversations with other groups representing the competition. I think we need to do more as professors to push these projects. The students are capable of doing awesome things in their designs and the competition, and means so much to them – they are so dedicated, I remember seeing some preparing in the hotel lobby in the wee hours of the morning coming in. Another example one group missed their convocation because they wanted to push their project and present it at the conference. That is dedication. Another group told me they learnt all the steel design on their own incorporating fire protection measures in a school. I loved that design – why though? – it  was that without any training from FSE those students designed their structural layout perfectly to employ PBFD best practice layout measures (see Flints 2013 FT paper). I was astounded and hopeful for steel design in Canada and its future. Finally I spoke to another group, and the amazing thing there was the confidence in pushing one’s design. You see in practice you will have to sell the design, and many of these students are able to do so.  My favorite presentations in no order were  Carleton’s, Queens, Saskatchewan, and Memorial.  I wish the absolute best for those I had the pleasure to talk to during those conversations.

Other presentations at the conference

It was great chatting with other colleagues, I relished the chats with some senior members in the field whom were both practitioners and academics. It was great to see so many people working towards great goals at promoting and pushing the boundaries of engineering. However, i think certain individuals need a reality check on what heritage and conservation actually is…but we wont go there…..My offer stands 😉

Fire Safety Engineering Measures in Canada from CSCE

csce abstract
On June 2nd we had an afternoon of fire talks. Carleton student Hailey’s paper on DIC for timber was the top Fire Safety Engineering Student paper.

We made huge progress for Fire Safety Engineering in Canada. At the CSCE Structures division section we successfully created a sub division for fire safety engineering which i will lead, currently I have recruited Mark Green, and Matt Smith to join me and will reach out to other volunteers shortly after SIF (feel free to contact me if keen). Ian Burgess gave a fascinating key note on steel connections in fire which i think a number of students were very keen on. We had a whole afternoon on on fire safety engineering presentations from students to industry. A MTO prestressed concrete bridge after fire was discussed, LITs was covered (see Martin Gillies blog), FRPs in fire by Queens as well as my Carleton student colleague Hailey with her student presentation on Timber in fire and DIC which was Brilliant! Two other presentations by Therese McAllister (NIST) on resiliency in structures, and Denis Millette (Golder) on the Lac Magnetic fire and the environmental clean up as key notes are sure to get people interested in the potential to grow the field of Fire Safety Engineering.  I believe we advanced fse a bit this week which is grand. Off to the US next week for SIF!