For most of us, the flashing lights and piercing sound of fire alarms ringing means it’s time to get up from our workstation, make our way to the nearest exit and wait for the “all clear.” For UT Health San Antonio Physical Safety Manager Carl Wellington, those alarms hold the opposite meaning – it’s time to work.
Wellington, who emigrated to the United States from Trinidad, served 22 years in the United States Air Force, including four as a bioenvironmental engineering instructor. After his military service concluded in 2001, he transitioned to his role at UT Health San Antonio where he is tasked with implementing effective fire and life safety compliance programs, which includes testing the organization’s fire alarms. His other responsibilities in the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Department include occupational environment evaluation and control, ergometry, emergency and evacuation preparedness, statuary codes compliance and construction plan review.
“EHS’s strategic objectives are intrinsic to making lives better,” Wellington said. “Our physical safety division’s advanced readiness posture assures student, faculty, and staff well-being through precautionary services coupled with highly effective emergency response programs.”
Though a normal workday runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wellington and the rest of the EHS physical safety division are on call 24/7 and available to provide fire and life safety systems operations support, no matter the time of day.
Wellington said his personal mission is “to get the job done correctly and to the best of my ability so students, faculty and staff can confidently make lives better in safe environments.”
Wellington recounted his favorite story at UT Health San Antonio: an employee started a fire in a microwave while attempting to dry a piece of clothing. “That individual literally lost his pants,” he joked. The incident required the evacuation of an entire multi-story building.
He also praised his coworkers saying they “give full effort every day and I wish I could do more than thank them for their selfless support. My heartfelt advice to them is: feel pride in all you do, even when demand far exceeds what little energy you have left to give.” He went on to sum up his experience at UT Health San Antonio as an “invaluable and unparalleled learning opportunity.”
Next time you see the lights flashing and hear those alarms ringing, remember the man on the other side, and how every part of the organization works together to make lives better, no matter their role.