Dr. Guylène Proulx, OC Award

Guylène Proulx, an outstanding researcher in human factors and human behavior related to fire, received her PhD in architectural planning/environmental psychology from the Université de Montréal in 1992, following which she joined the Institute for Research in Construction, National Research Council Canada (NRC) to conduct research in human factors related to fire. For that research, she received international acclaim from all of the diverse interests in the fire safety community.

Her research included investigations in: human response to fire alarms, fire alarm audibility and signal recognition, effectiveness and impact of voice communication messages on evacuation, typical actions taken after fire alert, evacuation movement, timing of escape, time to start evacuating, social interaction during emergency, performance of fire warning systems and photo luminescent marking, evacuation strategies for various occupancies and peoples with disabilities.

She was a great communicator of fire protection engineering and fire safety science and an ambassador for the entire profession by raising public awareness of fire safety issues. She was also an effective teacher; serving as an Adjunct Research Professor at Carleton University and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Fire Protection Engineering at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. As well, she helped develop and teach the SFPE Short Course on Human Behavior in Fire Emergencies.

Dr. Proulx was the recipient of significant awards from NRC and the Government of Canada for efforts in sharing research findings and promoting fire safety, including the 2007 Public Service Award of Excellence from the Government of Canada. Less than a week before her death in 2009, she was informed by the Office of the Governor General of Canada that she had been named an Officer of the Order of Canada, the most prestigious award given to Canadian civilians in recognition of “a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to community and service to the nation.”

She was passionate about giving back to her profession. She was a member of SFPE’s Board of Directors and of the Educational and Scientific Foundation Board of Governors. She was a Past President and Board member of SFPE’s National Capital Region Chapter. As well, she was a key member of SFPE’s Task Group on Human Behavior in Fire.

Guylène Proulx was considered by all who knew her to be one of the preeminent researchers and communicators in the field of human behavior in emergencies. Her enduring legacy, as stated by her international colleagues, is the body of her research work. This scholarship honors her legacy by building on the research in her chosen.

We are now accepting award nominations for Foundation Awards. If you know a fellow SFPE member who demonstrates leadership, commitment and involvement with SFPE, please nominate them for consideration. Nominations are due no later than May 22, 2020. To apply for this Proulx Scholarship Award, use the following application.

2020 Recipient

 Mary Langridge Button

Past Recipients


2020 – More accessible and inclusive evacuation procedures in High-Rise Residential Buildings
Mary Langridge Button, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland

2019 – Virtual Reality (VR) in Studying Human Behavior in Fire Scenarios
Silvia Alejandra Arias Osuna, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

2018 – The Impact of Human Behavior on Wildfire Evacuations
Lauren Folk & John Gales. PhD., Department of Civil Engineering, York University. Toronto, Canada

2017 – Increasing Safety in Aging Societies
Paul Geoerg and Professor Armin Seyfried, University of Wuppertal

2016 – Towards Fire Safe Schools: Investigation of Pedestrian Evacuation Dynamics and the Human Behaviours of Children and the Influence of Training on Evacuation Performance

2015 – Human Performance Data from Planned Trials on Passenger Ships at Sea
Robert Brown and Professor Edwin Galea, University of Greenwich