Faculty Directory

Isman, Kenneth E.

Isman, Kenneth E.

Clinical Professor; P.E.
James A. Milke, Ph.D. Endowed Professor of Practice in FPE
Fire Protection Engineering
3104F J.M. Patterson Building


  • B.S., Fire Protection Engineering, University of Maryland, 1986
  • M.S., Management, University of Maryland University College, 2003


From 1987 to 2014, Mr. Isman was an engineer with the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), where he ultimately rose to the position of Vice President of Engineering. He is a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Connecticut and is an elected Fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE). Isman has represented the fire sprinkler industry on over a dozen of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) technical committees, including the Technical Correlating Committee on Automatic Sprinklers, the Committee on Residential Sprinkler Systems (which he currently Chairs), the Committee on Sprinkler System Discharge Criteria, the Committee on Safety to Life in Residential Occupancies, and the Committee on Fire Pumps. From 2000 to 2006 he was a member of the NFPA Standards Council. 

A noted author and lecturer, Mr. Isman has written and edited numerous publications and handbooks for the NFSA, NFPA and SPFE, including the textbook Layout, Detail and Calculation of Fire Sprinkler Systems, the Fire Pump Handbook, and Pumps for Fire Protection Systems, co-authored with Milosh Puchovsky. He wrote a regular technical article for the NFSA’s SQ Magazine and served as the editor of Sprinkler TechNotes, its bimonthly newsletter. He has been a speaker at more than 600 seminars, workshops and conferences on fire protection systems.


  • Elected Fellow, Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE)
  • Inaugural Class of University of Maryland Fire Protection Engineering Distinguished Alumni (2015)
  • NFPA Standards Medal (2017)
  • SFPE Harold E. Nelson Service Award (2018)
  • University of Maryland Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars Faculty Mentor Award (2022)

Ken Isman has taught the following courses in Fire Protection Engineering (he does not teach every course each time it is offered, there is a rotation within the department):

  • ENFP 102 - Engineering and Testing Creative Fire Safe Building Designs (a summer class for high school students who earned 3 college course credits)
  • ENFP 250 - Introduction to Life Safety Analysis
  • ENFP 310 - Water Based Fire Protection Systems Design
  • ENFP 410 - Special Hazard Suppression Systems
  • ENFP 411 - Risk Informed Performance Based Design
  • ENFP 413 - Human Response to Fire
  • ENFP 440 - Smoke Management and Fire Alarm Systems
  • ENFP 461 - Think Tank (Critical Thinking in Engineering and Business)
  • ENFP 601 - Introduction to Fire Protection Engineering
  • ENFP 610 - Advanced Special Hazard Suppression Systems
  • ENFP 613 - Advanced Life Safety Analysis
  • ENFP 627 - Smoke Detection and Management
  • ENFP 653 - Advanced Fire Suppression Systems

Ken has developed Short Courses for the fire protection industry on the following topics:

  • Fire sprinkler system design
  • Fire pumps
  • Standpipe systems
  • Foam fire suppression systems
  • Gaseous fire suppression systems
  • Building egress
  • Life safety analysis
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Building and fire code compliance
  • Performance-based design

Ken has been part of a team producing a Summer Camp for high school students to provide them with awareness of Fire Protection Engineering as a career path and having them work on some of the aspects of safe building design so that they have an understanding of the job task within the field.

  • Puchovsky, M.T. and Isman, K.E. (1998). Fire Pump Handbook. National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA.
  • Isman, K.E. and Puchovsky, M.T. (2002). Pumps for Fire Protection Systems. National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA.
  • Isman, K.E. (2007) Layout, Detail and Calculation of Fire Sprinkler Systems.  National Fire Sprinkler Association, Patterson, NY.
  • Isman, K.E. (2010) Layout, Detail and Calculation of Fire Sprinkler Systems, Second Edition. National Fire Sprinkler Association, Patterson, NY.
  • Isman, K.E. (2017) Standpipe Systems for Fire Protection, Springer International Publishing, Cham, Switzerland.
  • Isman, K.E. (2022) Numerous chapters of Layout, Detail and Calculation of Fire Sprinkler Systems, Third Edition, National Fire Sprinkler Association, Linthicum Heights, MD.

Ken Isman Wins Dean’s Outstanding Performance Award for Professional Track Faculty

Isman becomes the first FPE faculty member to earn the recognition. 

It's Getting Hot in Here

New Maryland Engineering video series asks engineering experts to explore science fact versus fiction in TV and film.

Legacy of Warren Isman Offers New Opportunity for FPE Students 

Endowed Memorial Scholarship provided by the NFPA will be available to incoming undergraduates. 

The Value of International Collaboration: FPE Continues to Put People First

The Department provided a training course to Bangladesh engineers in an effort to extinguish factory fires that have become all too common.

Siemens, Koffel Gifts Help Fire Protection Engineering Reach $2.5M Milestone in Legacy Campaign

A $100,000 gift from Siemens, matched by a gift from Bill Koffel, has helped the department raise $2,500,000 towards its endowed Clinical Professor fund.

AFSA Announces UMD Legacy Campaign Support

Sponsorship helps strengthen Fire Protection Engineering's undergraduate curriculum.

Fire Protection Engineering Appoints First Clinical Professor

New applied faculty position made possible by Legacy Campaign, Clark School support.

Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE)