Superhighway gets hot

New web interface to serve as an educational source for fire and life safety professionals
Tuesday, March 1, 2005

WORCESTER, Mass. - With the aid of funds from the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, professors at Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s fire safety studies department are in the midst of developing a digital library of information for the fire and life safety industry.

The portal, called the Fire and Building Educational Resource Collection, or FABERC, consists of an online collection of resources relevant to the fire science and building industries. Users will be able to find information on proper installation of various systems, history on a fire topic or fire codes, among others.

“In the very beginning, the kind of things we would like to see exhibited is equipment in place, such as a smoke detector or a pull station,” said John Woycheese, assistant professor of fire protection engineering at WPI. “Also, interesting video clips of an actual test of an SM200 system to see that kind of suppression system working.”

The idea for the search engine came about as WPI expanded its fire protection engineering graduate program to an online format and needed to provide certain pieces of information to distance learning students. But Woycheese said the project is designed for people seeking information at the professional level as much as at the secondary education level.

“I think that a large part of people using this will be on the professional end,” he said.

FABERC will not store the information or objects on its web site, but rather it will redirect users to the original providers of it.

“Kind of a nice part is that it allows for cost recovery,” Woycheese said. “The SFPE published reports for a fee. Through the site, people can find that these reports exist and forward them to the SFPE for a purchase or download.”

Woycheese is expecting the portal to be up and running by May. Until then, WPI is looking for input to find out exactly what individuals would like to see included on the site. That survey, available at, can be accessed online until this month.