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Meet your Safety Superheroes: Caroline Gebel, Safety Coordinator

Learn more about the Safety Coordinator at the University of Manitoba

August 9, 2019 — 

Similar to superheroes, the safety officers at the University of Manitoba also work to save the day!

Get to know the safety professionals in your Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) office. We’re spilling the “safe-tea” with these safety heroes to earn about their career path and the rewards and challenges of their role. 

C.-Gebel

Caroline Gebel, Safety Coordinator in EHS,

Introducing Caroline Gebel, the Safety Coordinator in Environmental Health and Safety. Caroline is responsible for the fire and life safety programs and works closely with Physical Plant to ensure fire hazards are mitigated and personnel are appropriately trained. You’ll also encounter Caroline during inspections, incident investigations and if you’re planning an event on campus.       

How did you come to this career/position?
I worked in a research lab after completing a degree in the faculty of science and was interested in the safety programs involved in research so I pursued an occupational health and safety certificate through Red River College. I worked in an industrial hygiene company where I was able gain experience working in a variety of workplaces. It was very technical-based position and I was more interested in program development and the risk assessment side of safety so when the opportunity at he University of Manitoba came along, it was a great fit!

Name something rewarding and challenging in your position.
I provide a lot of training for my programs, especially for fire wardens – they are designates in an area to ensure that evacuation procedures are being followed when a building is in alarm. It’s rewarding to see that my training has been effective that everyone knows what they’re supposed to do when an incident does happen.

It’s sometimes challenging getting people to take aspects of fire and life safety seriously. It’s surprising how many people might ignore a fire alarm because “it’s probably nothing” or continue to do something unsafely because “that’s the way we’ve always done it”. It might be fine 99% of the time, but we want to try and make things safe for that 1% when things aren’t fine.

What might others be surprised to know about what you do?
We’re involved in all events for general safety. These events on campus require a lot of research to ensure we’re meeting all the fire codes or provincial guidelines – yes even outdoor events have regulations we have to follow!

Superhero you most identify with and why:
I identify with Jean Grey/Phoenix.  Much like Jean Grey I am sometimes seen as the bad guy possessed by Dark Phoenix/Fire Code and requiring people to move their storage or rearrange their equipment or get rid of their power bars. Also, because Jean Grey is part of the X-men and works as a team much like EHS, so I can always trust my colleagues for their support.

You can reach Caroline at caroline [dot] gebel [at] umanitoba [dot] ca at 204-474-9050

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