Faculty Directory

Spivak, Steven M.

Spivak, Steven M.

Professor Emeritus
Fire Protection Engineering
6301 Beachway Drive, Falls Church, VA 22044-1510


Dr. Steven Spivak is Professor Emeritus and served as Chair of the Department of Fire Protection Engineering from 1993 until 2001.  On the faculty from 1970, his main affiliation with Fire Protection Engineering was from 1992.  He worked in textiles & apparel flammability, test methods development, related fire research, fiber science and polymer/chemical engineering.  He maintains a part-time consultancy in textile flammability and fire safety engineering with expertise and specialization in textile fire standards and regulations: including flammability and testing of fabrics, clothing & wearing apparel, its fire risk and burn injury prevention.   Several published legal case histories are available.  Additionally he advises on textiles and furnishings cleaning and restoration, emphasis on high performance cleaning and disaster restoration of textiles and furnishings.  The latter activities include advisor and chair for technology and research with the Cleaning Industry Research Institute [CIRIscience.org], a unique not-for-profit, educational and research entity in the multi-billion dollars "jansan," cleaning and restoration industries.  He continues with CIRI a decade of service as science advisory council chairperson, and leader of its Editorial Advisory Board for the Cleaning Science Quarterly research journal [CSQ for CIRIscience.org].  He also served as a fabric, wearing apparel and and textile materials science advisor to the National Assn. of State Fire Marshals and to industry.  He remains active and publishing in fire protection engineering, especially textiles and clothing flammability, fire safety and burn injury potential.  A full publications listing is available.   

Contributions have been as: (a) author and professor of national and international standards principles, practices, information and education, (b) in consumer, clothing and textiles fire safety standards and promotion of safety with consumer product standards, c) contributions to private and public sector standards and regulatory systems, including ANSI, ISO, ASTM Intl, NFPA Intl, NASFM and several Federal agencies (GSA, CPSC, DoC, FTC, Treasury), and (d) as a research scholar in fiber and textile science including textiles, clothing and furnishings flammability, fire safety and fire, smoke with disaster restoration science. 

He received the Leo B Moore Medal from the Standards Engineering Society (SES) for "...the highest achievement, extraordinary contribution and distinguished service in the field of standardization." He also received the George S. Wham Leadership Medal from ANSI for contributions to national and international standardization. In 2001 he was honored with the Wm. T. Cavanaugh Memorial Award from ASTM International — its highest accolade with the status of Honorary Member. In 2003 he received ASTM International’s Margaret Dana Award for contributions to voluntary standards for the safety of consumer products. Dr. Spivak is a professional member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSE ASSP), Fiber Society, a senior member of AATCC, He holds the rank of Fellow with The Textile Institute (FTI), Society of Fire Protection Engineers (FSFPE), and FSES from the Society for Standards Professionals (SES/SSP). 

He is the author of many scientific or technical publications and papers, over fifty peer reviewed scientific and research publications, plus another 300+ trade press articles on textile science, consumer product standards, care and maintenance of textiles and furnishings, fabrics, clothing and furnishings flammability, also cleaning science, infection control and high performance cleaning and restoration.  He is also coauthor/editor of two seminal books on national and international standardization policy and practices [ASTM Int'l., ANSI, ISO/IEC et al]. The latter tome by Drs. Spivak and Brenner is Standardization Essentials: Principles and Practices - published by CRC Press, a divn. of Taylor and Francis worldwide. This book is undergoing Chinese translation with a 2021 estimated availability. An earlier, extensive standards book with K. Winsell was A Sourcebook on Standards Information: Education, Access and Development published by G.K. Hall divn. of Macmillan & Co. 

Dr. Spivak is an Honorary Member of ASTM Int'l. and continues to serve its D-13 Textiles and E-5 Fire Standards committees.  He served four terms as Director with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and chaired (1982-1991) the ANSI-CPSC coordinating committee and voluntary standards forum for consumer product safety.  From 1991 through 1995 he was Chairman of the International Organization for Standardization's Committee on Consumer Policy (ISO/COPOLCO) and served five years as chair of ISO COPLCO plenary meetings. In prior years he headed USA / ANSI delegations to COPOLCO. In 2019 he co-chaired the CIRI Cleaning and Restoration Sciences research symposium. He continues over a decade as lead science and research chair for the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (www.CIRIscience.org).  He is also editorial advisor to CIRI's new (2019-2021) Cleaning Science Quarterly, a peer reviewed journal for the cleaning and disaster restoration sciences; this CSQ journal is available both print and on-line.  

While at the Univ. of Maryland, he completed three annual sabbatical leaves: (a) serving the US General Services Administration (GSA) headquarters in standards and quality management; and (b) two year-long sabbaticals in product standards policy with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST/DoC).  Professor Emeritus Spivak holds B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in textile engineering, and in polymer and fiber science, the latter from the University of Manchester (GB/UK) and prior from the Georgia Inst. of Technology.  While at the Univ. of Maryland, he held faculty appointments in departments of textile science, chemical engineering, and most prominently as dept. chair in fire protection engineering (1992-2001).  A full c.v. or legal case listing is available from Dr. Spivak - kindly request via his university email: <ss60@umd.edu>.

Please refer to Dr. Steven M. Spivak's ongoing research, publishing, public service and professional activities in his Faculty Profile.  


1,000th Undergrad FPE Degree Awarded

Fire protection engineering program is the only one offering accredited undergraduate degrees.

Other professional society fellows

  • American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSE/ASSP), Standards Engineering Society (SES)

Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE)