SureFire: Smart Urban Resilience and Firefighting

                     Funding: Theme-based Research Scheme (9th Round) Approved Budget (HK$ 33.33 million)


The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay area has an urban environment of the high-density population that is inherently more sustainable and ideally suits smart city technologies. Increasing numbers of fires in tall buildings around the world have shown that the evolution of the built environment has changed the nature of the threat from fire. Urban environments are exposed to greater risk as prescriptive fire safety strategies are no longer fit for purpose. Firefighters are left facing an unpredictable hazard, that they are neither trained nor equipped to deal with, as the London Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 tragically demonstrated. On top of the human cost, costs due to losses from fire are estimated at approximately 1 per cent of global GDP per year.

As part of the smart city blueprint, the SureFire System adopts the complex data generating networks that enable real-time monitoring of the evolution of urban environments and hazards. Proper analysis of this data based on artificial intelligence can deliver information that continuously determines the state and evolution of systems and diagnoses emergent pathologies and support the decision making.  Here, we gathered a multi-disciplinary team with leading local and international researchers and research laboratories, a government agency (FSD), and multiple high-tech companies to find answers to the fundamental research questions required to develop the foundational technology for a smart firefighting system that takes advantage of the rapidly evolving technology landscape of cyber-physical systems. Implementation of such a system for smart firefighting will help Hong Kong achieve the status of the world's leading smart city.


Research Team

Project Coordinator (PC)


                   Prof. Asif Sohail Usmani

Head, Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE)





      Dr. Xiao Fu             Dr. Huang Xinyan        Dr. Qixin Wang           Prof. Heng Li          Prof. Wenzhong Shi

          BSE                                 BSE                       Computing                       BRE                             LSGI



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Prof. George Huang                   Dr. Stephen Welch                 Prof. Jose Torero                Prof. Xinzheng Lu

Industrial Engineering             Fire Safety Engineering           Civil Engineering                 Civil Engineering

Univ. of Hong Kong              Univ. of Edinburgh              Univ. College London             Tsinghua Univ.


Image result for Hong Kong Fire Services Department logo                   Image result for epcc uk           Image result for NIST logo


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Research Positions Open for Application:

We are looking for Research Assistant (RA), Master, PhD students and Postdoc Fellows who have passion to do cutting edge research in SureFire. Positions are open in the following areas

·                     Fire dynamics and Modelling (contact Dr Xinyan Huang,

·                     Artificial intelligence and big data (contact Dr Fu Xiao,

·                     Communication and edge computing (contact Dr Qixin Wang,


o        There is a requirement of IELTS or TOEFL score for non-native English speakers

o        Scholarships are available for good candidates, and top candidates can also apply for the (1) Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (annual stipend of US$ 38K); and (2) PolyU PhD Research Studentship

o        Postdoc Fellowship from PolyU (2 year) and RGC (3 years) are available for top candidates (annual stipend of US$ 50K)

o        Exchange students from other institutions who are interested in my research are very welcome, and partial financial support can be provided to exchange PhD student.