Welcome to the York University fire safety engineering research group’s website! Our team’s research interests include resilient structural fire design, human behaviour in fire, sustainable construction materials, and re-purposing (or adaptation) of building infrastructure. The team is located at York University in Toronto Canada.

We are a team of fifteen strong of graduate and undergraduate research education in fire safety with emphasis on applied research. This website’s purpose is to make our research and related engineering interests readily available to the public. 

– YorkU Fire Team

Our research group has its origins from the University of Edinburgh, UK. Following a substantial infrastructure and development commitment at York University by the federal and provincial governments to establish a fire safety engineering research group, our team is predominately based in Toronto. Our research team actively maintains student exchanges with University of Waterloo and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. 

The team is led by professional engineer, Dr. John Gales. Dr. Gales is also Associate Editor of Fire and Materials (John Wiley) one of the world’s leading fire engineering journals, He is also an Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering (CJCE) a leading engineering journal in Canada. To date he has approximately 170 scientific contributions.

A voting member of Canada’s national building code (fire protection), he is was also one of four Task Group Chairs in the Fire Protection Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the leading structural fire committee in the United States. As task group chair in 2018 he was responsible for significant portions of the ASCE Manual on Engineering Practice for Structural Fire Engineering. This document represents community consensus on performing fire engineering in the United States. He is also Chair of the committee on Fire Behaviour and Safety of Structures of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers and was recent chair of ASTM’s 100 years of fire testing workshop which represents developments for international standardization. With emphasis on scholarly training for future fire engineers he leads a team that has been recipients of 60 major scholarships and awards in the last 5 years.


Our work is heavily focused on practical research which can be applied in consultancy. The majority of our partners are leading firms based in Toronto.

Our team is active in various international collaborations and student exchanges related to fire safety engineering research with the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, CERIB in France, and NIST in the USA. Our principle industry collaborators are the consulting firms Arup (Human behaviour in emergencies such as fire) and Entuitive (structural fire engineering).

Teaching and Education

For our team’s graduate degrees principally offered through York University’s Civil Engineering program, we emphasize the following fire engineering graduate courses either through VOD or in class on site (York):

  • Fire Resilience of Structures
  • Human Behavior in Fire
  • Fire Dynamics
  • Fire Modelling


Media requests for team lead Dr. John Gales are best made via email for a rapid answer (text interviews in French can be accommodated if requested). Inquiries can be made via email at jgales@yorku.ca. 

Want to join us? See Prospective Students.