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Milke, James A.

Milke, James A.
Professor and Chair, P.E., Ph.D.
3104B J.M. Patterson Building

Research Interests 

  • Analysis of smoke management systems
  • Development of advanced detection systems


A member of the faculty and staff since 1977, Dr. Milke is Professor and Chair of the Department. His principal areas of expertise involve smoke management, fire detection and analyzing the response of materials exposed to fire conditions. Milke is also Director of the distance option for the Master of Engineering Program.

In 1991, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland (UMD) in Aerospace Engineering. He received a Master of Science degree from UMD in Mechanical Engineering, and is a 1976 graduate of the UMD Fire Protection Engineering program. Dr. Milke also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Ursinus College.

Dr. Milke has served as a Research Fire Prevention Engineer at the Center for Fire Research, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), as the Fire Protection Engineer for Fairfax County, Virginia, as a Research Assistant for the University of Maryland and as a consultant to several organizations.

Dr. Milke is a Fellow and a past president of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE). He is a member of the National Fire Protection Association and the International Association for Fire Safety Science. He is a member of the Fire Council of Underwriters Laboratories and the NFPA Technical Committee on Smoke Management Systems.  He is a past member of NFPA Standards Council. He is the past-chair of the NFPA Technical Committee on Smoke Management Systems and the ASCE/SFPE committee, "Structural Design for Fire Conditions." He was a member of the Core Group of the FEMA Building Performance Assessment Team for the World Trade Center incident on September 11, 2001.


  • Ph.D. Aerospace Engineering (UMD, 1991)
  • M.S. Mechanical Engineering (UMD, 1976)
  • B.S. Fire Protection Engineering (UMD)
  • B.S. Physics (Ursinus College)


  • FSPE 101

Honors and Awards 

Dr. Milke has received awards from several organizations, as indicated below:

  • 2018, Fire Industry Leadership Award, The Siemens Building Technology Division
  • 2016, Arthur B. Guise Award, Society of Fire Protection Engineers
  • 2013, Ronald K. Mengel Award for best paper at 2013 Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Symposium, with R. Zevotek and T. Fabian
  • 2012, 2011 Person of the Year, Automatic Fire Alarm Association
  • 2009, John L. Bryan Mentoring Award, Society of Fire Protection Engineers
  • 2007, Founders Award, Chesapeake Chapter of SFPE
  • 2007, Jack Bono Engineering Communications Award, Society of Fire Protection Engineers
  • 2006, Faculty Service Award, A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland
  • 2002, Harry C. Bigglestone Award, for best paper in Volume 37 (2001) of Fire Technology
  • 2002, Harold E. Nelson Award, Society of Fire Protection Engineers
  • 2000, Harry C. Bigglestone Award, for best paper in Volume 35 (1999) of Fire Technology
  • 1999, Best Paper for ICFRE2 conference, with S. Hill and J. Quintiere
  • 1996, Harry C. Bigglestone Award, for best paper in Volume 31 (1995) of Fire Technology
  • 1995, John J. Ahern President’s Award, Society of Fire Protection Engineers
  • 1994, E. Robert Kent Outstanding Teaching Award, A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland
  • 1988, Director's Award, Society of Fire Protection Engineers

Selected Publications 

Smoke Management:

  • Pongratz, C., Milke, J.A., and Trouve, A., A CFD Study to Identify Methods to Increase Maximum Velocity of Makeup Air for Atrium Smoke Control, ST-16-(RP-1600) ASHRAE, Transactions, Volume 122, Part 2, July 2016.
  • Milke, J.A., “Smoke Control by Mechanical Exhaust or Natural Venting,” SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering, 5th edition, M. Hurley, 2016, Springer, New York.
  • Milke, J.A., “Analytical Methods for Determining Fire Resistance of Steel Members,” SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering, 5th edition, M. Hurley, 2016, Springer, New York. J.H. Klote, J.A. Milke, P.G. Turnbull, A. Kashef, and M.J. Ferreira, Handbook of Smoke Control Engineering, 2012, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Atlanta.
  • Milke, J.A., “Smoke Management by Mechanical Exhaust or Natural Venting,” SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering, 4th edition, P.J. DiNenno, 2008, National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA.
  • Milke, J.A., and Klote, J.H., Smoke Movement in Buildings,” Fire Protection Handbook, 20th edition, A. Cote, Ed., 2008, National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA.
  • Kerber, S. and Milke, J.A., Using FDS to Simulate Smoke Layer Interface Height in a Simple Atrium,” Fire Technology, 43, 1, March 2007, 45-75.
  • ​Milke, J.A., “Effectiveness of High-Capacity Smoke Exhaust in Large Spaces,” J. of Fire Protection Engineering, 13, 3, 111-128, 2002.
  • Klote, J.H. and Milke J.A., Principles of Smoke Management, 2002, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Atlanta.

Structural Fire Protection:

  • Milke J.A., “Analytical Methods for Determining Fire Resistance of Steel Members,” SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering, 4th edition, P.J. DiNenno, 2002, National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA
  • Ryder, N.L., Wolin, S. D., and Milke, J.A.*, “An Investigation of the Reduction in Fire Resistance of Steel Columns Caused by Loss of Spray-Applied Fire Protection,” J. of Fire Protection Engineering, 12 (1), 2002, 31-44.


  • Milke, J.A., Hanson, Robert E. and Mizrach, Daniel E., “Comparison of the Life Safety Performance of Smoke Detectors and Sprinklers in Commercial, Industrial and Education Institution Housing,” for National Electrical Manufacturers Association, Department of Fire Protection Engineering, University of Maryland, April 29, 2013.
  • Milke, James A., “History of Smoke Detection: A Profile of How the Technology and Role of Smoke Detection Has Changed,” Siemens Industry, Inc., Building Technologies Division, Florham Park, NJ, September 8, 2010.
  • Milke, James A., Campanella, A.J., Childers, Cathleen T. and Wright, Brittany D., “Performance of Smoke Detectors and Sprinklers in Residential and Health-Care Occupancies,” for National Electrical Manufacturers Association, Department of Fire Protection Engineering, University of Maryland, May 14, 2010.
  • Milke, J.A., Mowrer, F.W., and Gandhi, P., Validation of a Smoke Detection Performance Prediction Methodology, Fire Protection Research Foundation, Quincy, MA, October 2008.
  • Cestari, L.A., Worrell, C., and Milke, J.A., “Advanced Fire Detection Algorithms Using Data from the Home Smoke Detector Project,” Fire Safety J., 40, 2005, 1-28.
  • Milke, J.A., Hulcher, M.E., Worrell, C.L., Gottuk, D.T., Williams, F.W., “Investigation of Multi-Sensor Algorithms for Fire Detection,” Fire Technology, 39, (4), 4th Quarter, October 2003, 363-382.
  • S.D. Wolin, N.L. Ryder, F. Leprince, J.A. Milke, F.W. Mowrer and J.L. Torero, “Measurements of Smoke Characteristics in HVAC Ducts,” Fire Technology, 37, (4), 4th Quarter, October 2001, 363-395.
  • Milke, J.A., "Monitoring Multiple Aspects of Fire Signatures for Discriminating Fire Detection," Fire Technology, 35 (3), 3rd Quarter 1999, 195-209.


  • Milke, J.A., “Fire Protection as the Underpinning of Good Process Safety Programs,” Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries,” Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, Jan. 2016, 329-333.
  • ​Milke, J.A., “Analysis of Observations of People Movement Characteristics during Evacuation of High Rise Office Buildings,” for National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Fire Protection Engineering, University of Maryland, April 2013.  
  • Hoskins, B. and Milke, J.A., “Differences in Measurement Methods for Travel Distance and Area for Estimates of Occupant Speed on Stairs”, Fire Safety Journal, 48, February 2012, 49-57.
  • Gwynne, S.M.V., Kuligowski, E.D., Kratchman, J., and Milke, J.A., “Questioning the Linear Relationship Between Doorway Width and Achievable Flow Rate”, Fire Safety Journal, 44, January 2009, 80-87.

Related News 

FPE MOOC Hits 2K Participant Milestone
Course provides flexible learning and opportunity to network. October 12, 2018

FPE Chair James Milke Recieves Award from Siemens
Milke was honored at the 2018 NFPA Conference in Las Vegas on June 12. June 26, 2018

FPE Chair Receives UL Fire Council Award
James Milke recognized for 30 yrs of service to UL on May 7. May 9, 2018

Julie Bryant First Recipient of Newly Established UL Fellowship
Bryant will also head the FPE High School Program this year. September 12, 2017

Alumna Profile: Amy Murdock
When Murdock first started in the Dept. of Fire Protection Engineering, she moved into a nearby firehouse. June 2, 2017

FPE Leads 3rd Annual Design Challenge
Outreach project geared towards increasing high school student awareness of STEM and more specifically, fire protection engineering. May 17, 2017

FPE and Sponsor Jensen Hughes Offer Holistic ‘Think Tank’ Course
Students are tasked with developing a product, business plan and marketing strategy as a means of advancing the fire protection industry.  May 17, 2017

WUSA9 'Geeks Out' Over Fire Tornado
FPE Chair and undergraduate students interviewed by WUSA9 reporter on the topic of wildland fire phenomenon. April 27, 2017

FPE Department Featured on NSTA Blog
March Career of the Month: Fire Protection Engineer April 5, 2017

FPE Researchers Receive 2017 ASHRAE Award
Jim Milke, Arnaud Trouve and Christine Pongratz received an award for their research on atrium smoke control. March 17, 2017

The Value of International Collaboration: FPE Continues to Put People First
The Department provided a training course to Bangladesh engineers in an effort to extinguish factory fires that have become all too common. February 10, 2017

FPE Remembers Professor Harry Hickey
Dr. Harry E. Hickey passed this morning after battling Alzheimer's. January 30, 2017

Jose Torero Joins the University of Maryland Faculty
Dr. Torero will serve as FPE's Bryan Chair and Director of CEE's Center for Disaster Resilience. January 9, 2017

University of Maryland to Establish Research Center of Excellence with UTC Climate, Controls & Security and Otis
The University of Maryland announces plans to establish new research center of excellence with United Technologies Corporation’s commercial businesses. December 21, 2016

Siemens, Koffel Gifts Help Fire Protection Engineering Reach $2.5M Milestone in Legacy Campaign
A $100,000 gift from Siemens, matched by a gift from Bill Koffel, has helped the department raise $2,500,000 towards its endowed Clinical Professor fund. September 9, 2016

New Fire Protection Engineering MOOC Available
The First FPE MOOC Course Launched by UMD Will Commence August 1, 2016. July 20, 2016

James Milke Awarded 2016 Arthur B. Guise Medal
FPE Professor & Chair James Milke is the 2016 Guise Medal Recipient. July 19, 2016

FPE Professor Emeritus Recognized for Exceptional Commitment to Education
Frederick Mowrer to receive the 2015 John L. Bryan Mentor Award from SFPE. September 23, 2015

Fire Protection Engineering: New Associated Partner in Intl. M.S. Program
FPE joins consortium of the International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering. September 9, 2015

FPE Design Challenge Gets High School Students Excited About Engineering
“Junior fire protection engineers” learn about fire phenomena, core strategies in new student-run program. July 7, 2015

FPE Capstone 2015: National Museum of the American Indian
Seniors challenged to demonstrate how to protect life, property in unusual building. July 7, 2015

2015 Alumni Dinner: Distinguished Alumni Ceremony, Photos
Surprise 11th alumnus included in inaugural group of honorees. June 30, 2015

FPE Announces Inaugural Class of Distinguished Alumni
Ten honored for contributions to the department and the field. April 13, 2015

What We Can Learn–and Teach–from the Annapolis Mansion Fire
Fire Protection Engineering educates students, public to help prevent future tragedies. February 6, 2015

WUSA-9 Consults Milke on Deadly Metro Smoke Incident
Fire Protection Engineering Chair featured in news report. January 14, 2015

FPE Alumnus Among First to Receive Glenn L. Martin Medal
Jack Poole (B.S. ’86) was one of nine honored by the A. James Clark School of Engineering. December 8, 2014

UMD Clark School Highlights Disaster Resilience at Mpact Week
Five-day event focused on role of engineers in disaster prevention, mitigation, and response. November 26, 2014

Three Tributes to John L. Bryan
Family and friends remember the man at the heart of FPE at memorial service. November 21, 2014

FPE Professors Highlight Work on Fire Resilence
Presentations part of Mpact Week's Multi-hazard Resilience session. November 14, 2014

A Tribute to Professor John L. Bryan
Founding Chair and Professor Emeritus, Department of Fire Protection Engineering. October 26, 2014

Rhino Donates $100K to Legacy Campaign
Company pledges to support FPE’s efforts to enhance undergraduate curriculum. October 26, 2014

Professor John L. Bryan, 1926–2014
Fire Protection Engineering mourns passage of founding Chair. October 14, 2014

Lund University FPE Students Visit Maryland
FPE@UMD hosts tours, presentations. August 28, 2014

Fire Protection Engineering Appoints First Clinical Professor
New applied faculty position made possible by Legacy Campaign, Clark School support. June 24, 2014

2013-2014 FPE Undergraduate Awards
Exceptional students recognized at annual ceremony. April 23, 2014

UL Contributes $250K to UMD Fire Protection Engineering Legacy Campaign
Largest single gift in department's history to support new professor of the practice. January 13, 2014

SFPE Awards Presented at Luncheon
The Society of Fire Protection Engineering (SFPE) president presided over the the awards luncheon. October 31, 2013

SFPE Engineering Technology Conference and Annual Meeting
The Dept. of Fire Protection Engineering will be well represented at the Austin, TX conference. September 24, 2013

FPE Research Paper Wins Fire Protection Research Foundation Award
FPE research on cooking fire prevention wins best paper award at conference. June 11, 2013

J. L. Bryan Chair Visiting Scholar
Endowment to support applicants of high standing from around the world at UMD. May 27, 2013

Fire Protection Engineering Graduation, class of 2013
FPE grads smile for the camera. May 27, 2013

Fire Protection Engineering Chair to Speak at NASA Safety Center
Dr. James Milke to discuss field performance of fire protection systems at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. May 16, 2013

Winners Selected for FPE Honors and Awards for 2013
Six Fire Protection Engineering undergraduate students will receive the FPE Department Undergraduate Honors and Awards for 2013. April 3, 2013

Alumni Rally to Support Fire Protection Engineering Legacy Campaign for a Professor of the Practice
Campaign for professor of practice to help ensure students stay current on the latest technologies used in the field. March 9, 2013

Baker to Receive System Staff Award and Campus Recognition
FPE's Pat Baker selected as a USM Board of Regents’ Staff Award recipient September 13, 2012

Clark School Hopes to Attract Fire Protection "Professor of the Practice"
Department alumni spearheading fundraising effort for new position. August 16, 2012

Dr. Michael Gollner to Join FPE Faculty
Dr. Michael Gollner to join faculty of the Department of Fire Protection Engineering at the University of Maryland July 23, 2012

AFAA Honors Milke
Professor and Chair James A. Milke Honored as the AFAA Person of the Year May 18, 2012

Smith Receives Outstanding Sophomore Award
SFPE Presented Award to Sophomore Philip Smith May 11, 2012

Milke Takes Office as President of SFPE
University of Maryland Professor to Lead Fire Protection Engineering Society in 2012. January 18, 2012

Dolan Honored for Commitment to Student Advising
Director of undergrad advising named 2010-2011 Provost's Professional Academic Advisor of the Year. July 20, 2011

Fire Protection Mourns Undergraduate Student
John Sivert “Johnny” Brungot died unexpectedly in a fall at his home July 1, 2011

Milke Recognized as Provost’s Faculty Academic Advisor of the Year
James Milke selected as 2010-2011 Provost’s Faculty Academic Advisor of the Year June 30, 2011

1,000th Undergrad FPE Degree Awarded
Fire protection engineering program is the only one offering accredited undergraduate degrees. June 21, 2011

Clark School ENGAGED Faculty Announced
The first class of Clark School ENGAGED Faculty are announced. May 9, 2011

New Department Chairs Named
Balakumar Balachandran, James Milke picked to lead mechanical engineering, fire protection engineering. May 3, 2011

Milke Elected President-Elect of SFPE
FPE Professor James Milke has been elected president-elect of SFPE for 2011. December 2, 2010

Prof. James A. Milke to Receive the SFPE John L. Bryan Mentoring Award
At its Annual Awards Luncheon, Professor James A. Milke will receive the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) John L. Bryan Mentoring Award. October 15, 2009

James A. Milke promoted to Professor
James A. Milke’s promotion to the rank of professor has been approved by University of Maryland President C. D. “Dan” Mote, and will be effective July 1, 2008. July 10, 2008

Prof. Milke appointed to the NFPA Standards Council
The National Fire Protection Association Board of Directors has appointed Dr. Jim Milke to the association's Standards Council, a 13-member body charged with overseeing the NFPA codes and standards making process. January 19, 2008

Prof. Milke receives SFPE 2007 Founders Award
The 2007 recipient of the Chesapeake Chapter Founders Award is Chesapeake Chapter member Dr. James A. Milke, P.E., FSFPE. June 13, 2007

Dr. James A. Milke Honored as “Top Terp”
Fire protection engineering professor also selected as 2007’s grand prize winner. April 23, 2007

Position Vacancy Announcement
Director of Administrative Services February 1, 2007

Faculty Position Available In Fire Protection Engineering
Applications are invited for a tenure track position at the Assistant or Associate Professor level. November 17, 2006

UM Blazes Trail with Fire Protection Engineering Program
The department celebrated its 50th anniversary on Oct. 14 with a gala event hosting alumni. October 16, 2006

axonX, University of Maryland to Validate Most Advanced Video Fire Detection System September 12, 2006

Prof. Jim Milke receives the 2005-2006 Service Award
FPE Faculty in the News! April 10, 2006