ARC + ID Assistant Professor Katherine Setser appointed Trustee to IFSS Coalition


setser-headshot.jpgKatherine Setser, Assistant Professor in the Architecture + Interior Design Department, has been appointed Trustee for the International Fire Safety Standards (IFSS) Coalition. The Coalition, launched at the United Nations in July 2018 and supported by the UN and the World Bank, is chartered to establish the first ever inclusive benchmark standards that set a flexible framework for international best practice in fire protection. IFSS, founded “to improve protection for people and buildings from the risk of fire,” seeks to “drive improvements in safety in both developed and developing economies.”

Setser welcomes this opportunity to apply her life safety and forensic design-related research to affect positive change and policy in the global marketplace, especially for the marginalized and underdeveloped parts of the world that often lack adequate regulatory life safety protection.

Among its objectives, the IFSS Coalition seeks to:

  • Establish a “common set of internationally accepted performance-based principles for fire safety aspects of design, engineering and construction, occupation and ongoing management” of the built environment,
  • Provide a framework that is applicable “to all property types and all regions and nations regardless of the differing political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal differences between nations,” and
  • Develop flexibility in the standards to “complement local and regional standards wherever possible.”


The Coalition states the challenges of fire protection “transcend international borders and disciplinary boundaries. Climate change brings one of the greatest threats to our built environment and societies need to become more resilient to change and disruption”, especially in regard to ever increasing catastrophic natural disasters. When added to the significant demographic shift to greater urbanization and high-density populations driven by growth in global population, it becomes increasingly important for nations to share knowledge, standardize reporting, and align fire safety principles with best practice.

 The IFSS Coalition is currently composed of 65 international member organizations, including the U.N. and the World Bank. Each organization is represented by one Trustee that provides commentary and technical input for the development of the standards. Setser, appointed by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) to serve as disciplinary expert, represents the only Interior Design organization serving on the global body. Tracey Fillmore, Chair of the ASID national Policy, Codes and Standards Committee, states: “We selected Katherine Setser to represent the American interior design profession in this important international standards development process because of her specialized disciplinary knowledge, her research expertise in forensic design and fire data analysis, and her extensive experience in applied research. As one of the preeminent scholars investigating public health, safety, and welfare in the built environment, Katherine will be able to share her unique disciplinary research expertise with the IFSS Coalition to improve global life safety standards and to save lives. Katherine is the ideal representative for the interior design profession and Miami University to impact and complement the objectives of the IFSS.”


All IFSS quotations taken from The Standards,