Birgitte Messerschmidt is Director, Applied Research, National Fire Protection Association. She is responsible for NFPA’s Research Strategy including global research outreach and manages research on fire problems and other safety issues (e.g. electrical deaths and injuries, CO incidents) using statistical data, detailed incident information, and reviews of relevant literature/research. She has a M. Sc. In Civil Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark and has spent her entire career working on fire safety issues with a focus on fire safety in the built environment. She has been involved in testing and research as well as standardization and advocacy. She has published and presented numerous papers on fire safety issues.
Learning from Fire Data and Fire Research
Fire incident data has been collected in the US for the last almost 40 years. This makes it possible to learn not only from specific incidents but also from longer term trends. In a recent study NFPA used data collected since 1980 as well as other research related to the fire problem to analyse what has impacted fire safety in the United States in the last 40 years. Through the lens of the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem, successes as well as new and ongoing issues will be highlighted. Increasing the understanding of what has impacted fire safety will help identify what needs to be done to continue improving all aspects of fire and life safety.