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 in Toronto Canada. We are a team of over ten 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. 

The LIFE fire safety research team has its origins from the University of Edinburgh, UK. Following a substantial infrastructure and development commitment at York University to establish a fire safety engineering research group, our team is predominately based in Toronto. Branches of our team are also based at University of Waterloo and Worcester Polytechnic Institute where we maintain active teaching and research collaborations. 

The team lead is Dr. John Gales. Dr. Gales is 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. He is a registered professional engineer in Ontario, Canada. To date he has approximately 140 scientific contributions. He is 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 46 major scholarships and awards in the last 4 years.

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 team’s 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. 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 with our collaborators (Waterloo or WPI) or in class on site (York), students may be eligible upon successful completion of four courses for a Certificate in Fire Safety Engineering:

Fire Resilience of Structures (offered Winter term)

Human Behaviour in Fire (HBIF) (offered Summer and Fall terms 

Fire Dynamics (offered Winter term) 

Fire Modeling (offered Fall term)

Social Networks

See Dr. Gales’ twitter @GalesFireSafety

Follow us on Instagram @YorkUFire


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

Want to join us? See Prospective Students.