The University of Queensland is brokering exchanges between fire-fighters and engineers to make sure buildings in the future are designed with fire safety as a top priority.

The University has this week announced its School of Civil Engineering and the Queensland Fire and Rescue Services (QFRS) will develop high quality formal academic programs in fire safety and engineering at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Civil Engineering Head Professor José L. Torero said: “If a building is put forward for approval, the final word is always with the fire department, and it is also the fire service who will respond in the event of a fire. So as fire-fighters, engineering and building designers, it is absolutely essential that we jointly engage in the process of creating successful and safe designs.”

UQ will support QFRS's organisational capability and activities, providing them access to its top staff and research laboratories. The fire service will conduct internships and facilitate training exercises for UQ students and staff, exposing them to live fire scenarios.

The mutually beneficial arrangement has been welcomed by Police and Community Safety Minister Jack Dempsey, who said: “Both QFRS and UQ are committed to improving fire safety in the community and have high levels of knowledge and experience doing so.”