Welcome to the Lassonde Institute of Fire Engineering (LIFE) fire safety research team’s website! Led by Dr John Gales, our research team focuses on Fire Safety Engineering and Structural Fire Resilience at York University. We are a team of over ten strong with heavy emphasis also on graduate and undergraduate research education in fire safety. This website’s purpose is to make our research and related interests readily available to the public. 

The LIFE fire safety research team has its origins at Carleton University. Following a substantial infrastructure and development commitment at York University to establish a fire safety engineering research group, the team is now predominately based in Toronto. We actively collaborate with the University of Waterloo and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. 

The team is led by Dr. John Gales, formerly of the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom in 2013. Dr. Gales has sat on the editorial board of Fire Technology (Springer-Nature) since 2013 and his Associate Editor of Fire and Materials (John Wiley). He is the chair of the Fire Behaviour and Safety of Structures committee of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. Team members have been recipients of 36 major scholarships and awards.

TorontosOur work is heavily focused on practical research which can be applied in consultancy. The majority of my partners are leading firms based in Toronto and Ottawa.

Our research interests include resilient structural fire design, human behaviour in fire, sustainable construction materials, and re-purposing (or adaptation) of building infrastructure. 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. His primary industry collaborators are the consulting firms Arup (Human behaviour in emergencies) and Entuitive (structural engineering).

To date the team has over 120 scientific contributions. Our team is active on the Fire Protection Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers with three members, including a task group chair, this is the leading structural fire committee in the United States.

Teaching and Education

The following fire engineering graduate courses are provided to our team members either through VOD with our collaborators (Waterloo or WPI) or in class on site (York):

Fire Resilience of Structures

Human Behaviour in Fire (HBIF) 

Fire Dynamics

Fire Modeling

Social Networks

See Dr. Gales’ twitter @GalesFireSafety

Follow us on Instagram @YorkUFire


Media requests for Dr. Gales are best made via email (text interviews in French can also be accommodated). Inquires can be made via email at: jgales@yorku.ca. 

Want to join us? See Prospective Students.