Honeywell funds new life safety lab at university

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Monday, October 4, 2010

WORCESTER, Mass.—Honeywell Life Safety is a major sponsor of a planned new state-of-the-art fire protection engineering facility at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and a laboratory in the facility will bear the Honeywell name.

“Worcester Polytechnic Institute has been a great contributor to the fire-protection industry and Honeywell certainly wants to help further this mission,” said Mark Levy, president of Honeywell Life Safety, based in Northford, Conn. and a division of Honeywell International.

“We’re going to provide our most advanced fire alarm systems and firefighter protective gear for this new lab to ensure the school continues its groundbreaking work,” Levy said.

WPI on Sept. 29 announced the plan to build the new Fire Protection Engineering Lab.

Groundbreaking will take place later this year, with building completion expected in 2012, said Jeffrey Solomon, executive vice president of WPI.

The facility will house labs performing research related to combustion and explosion, fire and materials, policy and risk, suppression, wildland-urban interface fires, and engineering tools to support the fire service, according to the university.

The Honeywell Life Safety Fundamentals Lab will be one of two main laboratories in the facility, said Kathy Ann Notarianni, WPI professor and head of the university’s Fire Protection Engineering Department.

The new facility will support WPI’s fire protection engineering program, the leading such program in the world and the only one to offer a doctorate in fire protection engineering, according to Notarianni.

“This facility is really going to skyrocket us to world-class status. We just really need more space to do what we want to do and Honeywell really stepped up and has been one of our first major donors and really helped cement the deal and get us excited and believe it could be a reality,” she said.

The university and Honeywell share a commitment to protecting the public, firefighters, and first responders globally by supplying them with the most technologically advanced fire alarm systems and sensors and personal protective equipment available, WPI said.

Notarianni said the research aspect of WPI’s program has “blossomed” in the past six years but needs the additional space for research. She said the new lab “really takes us from just teaching fire protection engineering to really adding to the knowledge base, worldwide.”

Honeywell Life Safety joins Chicago-based Rolf Jensen & Associates and Schirmer Engineering in supporting WPI’s new fire protection engineering lab, according to the university. These sponsors were recognized at an event on Sept. 23 to celebrate the university’s fire protection engineering program.