What’s a typical day like in your job?
I wear multiple hats, but my main job is inspections and teaching classes on fire safety. On any given day, I may be writing an article for the emergency coordinator newsletter, responding to a call about a hazardous chemical spill with the emergency response team, talking to building occupants about how to keep exits clear or teaching a fire extinguisher class. Our department offers classes twice a year in the Pit for students and the public: one during the Week of Welcome and one during our Fire Safety Fair in September.
How does your work support Carolina’s mission?
In 2009 and 2011, I wrote two FEMA grants that earned the University and the department of housing and residential education about $440,000 for educational materials and stovetop devices to eliminate kitchen fires. Fire department responses and residential fires decreased in the five-year grant period. Overall, it made the University safer.
What do you like most about your work?
I really like being on campus because it’s a very social atmosphere. It allows me to learn about other people and hear their stories. I’m a writer at heart, so I enjoy hearing those stories.
How did you come to work in this position?
I became a firefighter in 1990. I worked on a truck and all of that, then became an inspector and fire marshal, then got the position here as a fire safety professional. James Moeser was chancellor then, and the University had received a really cool grant to start the Employee Part-Time Undergraduate Degree-Completion Program, so I was able to transfer my coursework to Carolina and finish my creative writing minor. I haven’t looked back after that.
What’s something about your job that others might not know?
I write all of the emergency coordinator newsletter articles. We have 250 emergency coordinators on campus who oversee evacuations, and they need to be trained, so the newsletters function as a training tool. There are 20 newsletters on our website that I’ve written. It was so much fun to put them all together. I love to write, so that part of my job allows me to use that skill. I’m also Carolina’s only level three state-certified fire inspector.
(This story originally appeared in the March 28, 2018 edition of the University Gazette.)