"If we are in a position to be able to save lives, let's make sure we are adamantly prepared to do that." -Pat Kerrigan
SERIES: Role of Mass Media
If you are sitting in a broadcasting studio with phones ringing non-stop, what would you do? KSRO News Director, Pat Kerrigan spent 24 days on-air delivering urgent news and serving the community in every way she can during the 2017 wildfire. The tension and surging needs are the most overwhelming during a disaster. Lives are in peril and everybody needs all the help they can get. So how can you serve your community in ways that are needed? In what instances can your community benefit from relationships made way before a disaster? What can the media learn about communication without competition? How can you use your skills to radiate trust and integrity? And finally, how can you make sure you are taking care of yourself as much as you do for others? Listen in as Jennifer and Pat answer these important questions with some helpful suggestions to improve communication systems, be prepared, and find balance as you play various roles. Be the presence in your life. Only then, will your presence in the community create the deepest impact.
- 03:16: It Jumped the Highway!
- 08:29: When Phones Never Stopped
- 14:52: Questions to Ask Before a Disaster Strikes
- 10:00: The Work Begins
- 25:01: Take Care of Yourself
- 32:24: How Successful Relationships Work
- 38:08: Find Yourself Balance
- 44:12: Listen to Smart People
11:40: "In any relationship, you develop a degree of trust with the person that you're speaking to… That trust becomes a real, living part of the equation." -Pat Kerrigan
13:04: "People who needed a place to make sure the message would get out there and would be trusted and well-received is based upon the concept of integrity." -Jennifer Thompson
16:01: "If we are in a position to be able to save lives, let's make sure we are adamantly prepared to do that." -Pat Kerrigan
16:08: "The best way through [a disaster] is always going to be together." -Jennifer Thompson
16:15: "It's not about being the hero. It's about acting heroically whenever possible because that's what the moment calls for." -Jennifer Thompson
21:18: "You don't just hope. You have to take part in the planning and the progress that we make as a community so that when something happens next, you are better prepared, you're better informed, you are more self-reliant." -Pat Kerrigan
40:46: "Listen to people who are smarter than you about you." -Pat Kerrigan
42:01: "Listen to smart people who... do care and are impressed by the human that you are." -Pat Kerrigan
Pat Kerrigan is a third-generation San Franciscan, who came to Sonoma County with her eye (and ear) on radio. When the wildfires hit the North Bay in October, Pat was in the studio by midnight and spent the next 24 days on the air. She was the voice of Sonoma County when most other modes of communication were unavailable. Pat provided accurate information, comfort, and compassion to the hundreds of thousands who ached to know what was going on. Since then, Pat has expanded her morning show by an hour to accommodate the many issues involved as Sonoma County recovers from this unparalleled disaster. She has become an advocate and a leader in the county, holding leadership accountable to the benefit of her beloved community.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: Hi, welcome to another edition of How To Disaster, a podcast to help recover, rebuild and reimagine. I am so excited today to have a friend and colleague with us, an immediate professional, Pat Kerrigan. I asked Pat Kerrigan to come on today because one of the questions is always going to be, how do you serve your community in the ways that you're most talented? How do you show up in the ways that are needed? And some people have more visible ways, some people have more quiet ways. Pat Kerrigan hasn't had a very visible presence in our community as a long time radio broadcaster. Certainly, she'd always had a large presence in the community of Sonoma County, but never more so than in October of 2017 when our wildfires hit. She didn't know at the time that it wouldn't be her last disaster. And she didn't know that she would spend 24 days on the air straight trying to help this community sort of even begin to find a way through it with a comforting voice. Pat is well loved, even beloved in this community. And it's my honor and pleasure to welcome her to How To Disaster. Welcome, Pat.
Pat Kerrigan: Hello Jen, it's a pleasure to be with you. Thank you for having me. Unfortunately, this is a conversation that we're going to have to continue to have, TFN. And fortunately, there are people like you to continue the conversation so that we all can be better prepared so thanks for that.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: Oh, I find this work to be an honor. And in part, because I feel like I am surrounded by so much talent. And one of the goals of this podcast is to actually bring that talent forth, and to help other communities sort of make it through, you can be in the middle of the Midwest, and you can be a media broadcaster, and you can be wondering, how do I help? What are the challenges? What are the experiences with this podcast? First and foremost, is human forward. So what I would like, I would love it if you could talk to us about your fire story. Bring us back to the night of October 8, 2017. You also lived in the middle of an evacuation zone, we both are Sonoma Valley residents. And yeah, it kind of starts with the personal side and how that intersected with the professional side.
Pat Kerrigan: Well, that night, I remember being very, very disturbed earlier that afternoon because there was a tremendous amount of wind and I had just covered a lawn area of mine in the front yards to get ready to redo kind of a drought thing. So the cardboards flying all over and I thought that that was disturbing. About 11:00 o'clock that night in Kenwood where I live, I was asleep and my wife woke me up and said: "You gotta get up, there's a fire, there's a fire." And so I got up, and at that point, the fire was across the street from my house and was quite striking. So grabbed the dog, made sure the neighbors knew and got out, and ended up driving just about two blocks. Kenwood is not a very large town. So two blocks away, got out of the car, looked back and thought to myself, not only is our house going to be gone, but the whole community is going to be gone. I got to go to work. So we drove from Kenwood down Bennett Valley, and saw the explosions. And in the air at that time, I didn't know what it was.
So a lot of originalline fires and things like that, and I thought that this is not a Kenwood issue. Got to the radio station about midnight. And Mike DeWald, the producer for the afternoon show on KSRO was already there, and had been there about 15 minutes, thank God. And so he and I just looked at each other in the eye and said: "You ready?" And we sat down and opened up the mic. And it was the beginning of a, I don't have to tell anybody who lives around here, remarkable heartbreaking, and really survivor, bravery that I have seen even since then, but pretty remarkable at the time. So we just started calling people, a news talk station so already had a pretty good black book of phone numbers. So about 1:00 o'clock in the morning, we started getting the officials on air, and we realized that the scope of it was becoming unbelievable. I remember being on the phone with Paul Lowenthal who was standing at that point at the corner of Mendocino Avenue and Fountain Grove Parkway. And I remember the exact moment that he said: "Oh, my God, it jumped the highway."
Jennifer Gray Thompson: Yes. And can you orient listeners to him, Paul Lowenthal, a remarkable human being--
Pat Kerrigan: Yes. Assistant Fire Marshal of Santa Rosa. So it was a plethora of local leadership of our colleagues at the press democrat, of Fire officials, certainly of our Emergency Management Department who had been kicked into action. At that time, we were talking to our congressional representatives about 3:00 in the morning and we all were trying to get a handle on the expanse of this fire. The evacuations were happening in chaos. All I knew what I was hearing, certainly, and I could get a sense even in the timbre of someone's voice of how serious this was, and how frankly scared they all were as they were trying to figure out how best to figure out how to save people. And it was a grab you by the heart, gut wrenching, heartbreaking effort knowing full well that we were not gonna understand the entire scope of it until at least the light of day.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: And even then, looking at it, for people who have seen the photos, it looks like a bomb was actually dropped because we lost 6,000 housing units in the first night alone, and the fire moved a football field every three seconds.
Pat Kerrigan: Yeah.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: So even when I talk to people who do wind and rain, they consistently say to me, oh, I'll take a hurricane or tornado, I'll take anything over the mega fires that you all are experiencing really on the West Coast in the American West these days. Talk about your decision, though, to actually stay, so you went to work, you knew to go to work, you're listening, it's unfolding. It is the night in the land of thousand heroes, I want to call that out. We had a lot of our first responders, they were doing life and limb. So they would go up into the areas and they would bring people down, and it was like person, by person, by person. We, at that time, did not have the systems in place that we do now that are still evolving.
Pat Kerrigan: Very true. It never occurred to me to get up from the chair, how could you? To say that it was an unfolding situation is a real understatement. There was life in peril throughout, and most strenuously, about a 48 hour period consistently from the beginning until we started to be able to be sure that those people who could get out did get out. And so it was this constantly evolving situation, which for the first 48 hours and then beyond that, or the first 48 hours certainly, the life threatening nature of it was stunning. I mean, I hear that the phones never stopped at the radio station. People started trickling into the radio station because they were evacuated and didn't quite know where else to go. And it was a constant, during that time, if I got a name scribbled down and thrown to me across the board about who I was going to talk to next, that was lucky. And so it didn't occur to anybody to give up for a minute. We weren't in the line of fire, we were doing our best at that time to inform as many people about where they needed to go, where the fire was coming from and heading toward. All of that non stop information, emotion and so much else. So much newness, newness. It's hard to imagine now being new, but it sure was then.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: I think one of the most important things in any community, when they experience a disaster is to draw upon the pre existing relationships. Pat Kerrigan, you had a lot of pre existing relationships. If people want to talk about politics, or if they want to know about a breaking news story, they would already have come to you, and they were looking for those interviews and for that sort of honest, tough and important dialogue. Can you talk about how your relationships actually informed your ability to serve, especially for 24 days.
"In any relationship, you develop a degree of trust with the person that you're speaking to… That trust becomes a real, living part of the equation." -Pat Kerrigan
Pat Kerrigan: It was essential. I can't imagine not having those relationships and trying to deal from that position. I think that the other radio stations in the area did their best to inform, and did their best to keep up with it. And we were definitely at an advantage. Those relationships are not only I hope that the people that I was talking to knew that I would be fair and knew that I would be thorough. I think in any relationship, you develop a degree of trust with the person that you're speaking to. And to me, that's what all of this is about. It's about that trusted bond between me and people that I was speaking to, I think encouraged the powers that be to answer their phone or get right back to us the minute they could. And I think that that trusted bond also existed with our listeners prior to October 8. And I think based on reactions to the ones that came that night, and the many days that followed. So relationships are absolutely essential. And that trust became a real living part of this equation. That's how I feel.
"People who needed a place to make sure the message would get out there and would be trusted and well-received is based upon the concept of integrity." -Jennifer Thompson
Jennifer Gray Thompson: I feel like there's never a more important moment to keep integrity at the center of everything you do when you serve disaster because people are depending on you for their lives, for their decisions, for their comfort. And I think that because you have had and continue to have such a strong relationship with integrity, that people who needed a place to make sure they could go, that the message would get out there and would be trusted and well received is based upon the concept of integrity. And so I want to just shout out to you for that, I always like reviewing with you because you're like, we may have a nice personal relationship, but you've never let me off the hook. And I'm like, yay, bring it on. I love it.
Pat Kerrigan: It's interesting because what people remember, I have yet to listen to any of that broadcast, I will listen to it because I'm gonna write a book about that experience. One of the things people have told me after that, after the emergency was over was, thank God you took Comcast to task. You're talking to their power that be in the days that followed, when communications we're still down and they're saying, we're doing everything we can. And I'm saying, the hell you are. You're a billion dollar company, and you're telling me you can't create hotspots, you can't create places around our community where people can go and communicate with their loved ones, that they're okay. No, that's malarkey.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: What's malarkey? You actually commissioned and have a study on our website about communication failures, and disaster, and why it is so critical that these big companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon that they have a way to bring in Wi Fi and that should be a part of every community's resiliency plan. So these people can call their radio, people can even hear it. I mean, citizens do need to have their own crank up radios, they can hear what they need to know.
"If we are in a position to be able to save lives, let's make sure we are adamantly prepared to do that." -Pat Kerrigan
Pat Kerrigan: Absolutely. Yes. And for members of the media, whether their radio, or their print, or whatever, it's important to gather all of those folks together in times of non emergency so that we can teach each other how to be best effective and reach the most amount of people. When I was at the Broadcasters Association a year later, one of the things that I told these broadcasters from all over the country was, how many people can we get to listen every 15 minutes? How many people can we get to show up at our events? Why aren't we asking the question? How many lives can we save if we find ourselves in the middle of this kind of disaster? And that's the question that media entities of every kind, ham radio operators, podcasters, everybody should be talking about prior to a disaster happening so that competition, the hell with that. If we are in a position to be able to save lives, let's make sure we are absolutely adamantly prepared to do that.
"The best way through [a disaster] is always going to be together." -Jennifer Thompson
Jennifer Gray Thompson: Because the best way through it is always going to be together. Like in a disaster, you don't get in front of anybody else's competency because you're afraid of credit. It's not about being the hero, it's about acting heroically whenever possible because that's what the moment calls for. So I hope that many broadcasters hear this because we worry a lot about communities across the American West, in particular, who are highly vulnerable to these mega fire disasters and have not the bandwidth, and which is totally normal, but literally need to find the bandwidth and the resiliency in their own communication systems, to make sure that they can be there to save lives. Like there's no opportunity there.
"It's not about being the hero. It's about acting heroically whenever possible because that's what the moment calls for." -Jennifer Thompson
Pat Kerrigan: I was just thinking that, I had heard from people who came into the radio station, they said, have you seen the signs? Have you seen the banners over the highway? Have you seen, thank you to the police, and thank you to the fire department, and thank you to KSRO and stuff. I hadn't seen anything except the inside of the radio station. I know that a couple of hours into the broadcast, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that people needed a steady, reasonably calm presence to try to be the thread behind that, that connects all of the information that was coming in, that became very clear, very fast. I was asked to go up in the Sheriff's helicopter and take a look at the devastation a day or two later. I declined because I was not convinced that I could see what I had been talking about and be able to go right back to the microphone. I didn't trust myself to do that so I didn't see any of the most fire stricken areas, including my own town until the 25th day. When I took a drive around and saw what I had been talking about, I did what every other human did. I pulled over to this side of the road and I wept, and I wept, and I wept. Personally, that's when I let myself fall apart. That 25th day was really the first time, and then it became clear that, okay, we are over the lives in peril part. Now, the work starts as, that's when you started ReBuild North Bay and became an integral part of the next chapter. As it turns out, it just open ended. It hasn't, there is no start or finish to this. Not in that circumstance in 2017, nor any that has followed it, nor in the foreseeable future.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: And for the listeners who don't know, we have experienced mega fires since then. Really scary. The most recent one was the glass fire that also came right into Sonoma Valley and burned over, that too had to be traumatizing.
"You don't just hope. You have to take part in the planning and the progress that we make as a community so that when something happens next, you are better prepared, you're better informed, you are more self-reliant." -Pat Kerrigan
Pat Kerrigan: From a broadcasting standpoint, and I have developed, it's a good thing that you can only marry once. I suppose in this country, because otherwise, I would have so many first responders and a few political types that I would want to be married to as well right now. So you get to a point where you get the heads up, and that this is a situation, and then you go to work. The glass fire, this past year was really representative in some really good ways of how far we've come since 2017. Certainly in communications, and communications between the Department of Emergency Services and the public, remarkably. Again, there was during the Kincade Fire, this mass exodus of people trying to be evacuated. And during a pandemic, where there are no places to, in other circumstances, parking lots became new communities. And certainly, the shelters and things like that, and only that wasn't available to us. So yeah, it's a never ending story that you don't just have to hope. You have to take part in the planning and the progress that we make as a community so that when something happens next, you are better prepared, you're better informed, you are more self reliant. I think that's a huge, huge step forward that we've made.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: Yes. We did a whole two part podcast on how to be a citizen prepper, be able to take care of yourself. And for Christmas this year, I got a full face gas mask for my husband because I don't know how bad it's gonna be. But I want to be out there and be prepared to actually help a community. I think it is imperative for each of us to have some of the tools that we need in order to get through, especially the first 72 hours. It's sort of funny that I would want a full face gas mask. But I was also very serious because I know that in the events, when it happens, have some sort of evacuation, you will be called upon to deploy a skill set that we have a very specialized one that we have acquired and honed over the years. I'd still like to take you back to 2017, and I want you to talk about, you're on the air for 24 hours, but how do you manage sleep? Like how do you manage eating? How do you manage that sort of like, you have to stay alive physically and emotionally. So how do you manage that?
Pat Kerrigan: Well, first of all, I had to find a hotel room because my family was at the radio station with me and my six month old pup. Was a six month old pup and yet somehow managed to sit at my feet the first night of the fires for 12 hours without moving. So that was thing one, that late Monday when I went out and found a room. I would try to get over there and try to get some sleep. And every time I was there, really, I felt ridiculous for being there and not being at the station so I didn't spend a lot of time there. T Tuesday after that, I was talking to a firefighter who was in the Kenwood area. And at the end of the interview he said: "By the way Pat, I'm standing in front of your house, and you're okay." And that's how I found out that my house had not burned down. And so that was a moment, I was luckier than most in many communities. I was not successful at it, not successful. People poured food into the radio stations, but it just wasn't in the mindset.
After a couple of weeks, I was able to get back home and ended up starting to get some decent rest. But I think I had to, along with some help from some really good, my village people, so to speak. People who are saying, you have to back off, you have to let go of this. We're at the point where, yes, there's a lot of work to be done, and you don't have to be there, 15 hours a day to do it. I paid attention to that some, and I paid attention to that, not mostly. And I suffered the ramifications of that.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: And we can get to that in just a second. But I want to be clear that there's, if you've never experienced a disaster, I don't know for you if you've experienced the beauty of humanity, and for sometimes, for some of us, it was the most amazing human experience we'd ever had, like people were magical. They were like Hallmark movies for the most part that everybody argued. It's not that there weren't leaders, it's not that. But if you focus on the preponderance of people, their humanity was so forward to slow down felt in a way to stop honoring that humanity, or participating in it, or making sure that we're supporting it and upholding it. I think that that's where helpers can get into trouble is because--
Pat Kerrigan: Absolutely. I mean, when I started to go out, I started to go out to eat, or even to the store, or something like that. Four months after that experience, people would stop me, and people would grab on to me and not let go, tell their stories which was so important for them. And most people felt like I was there with them during that,because they were listening to some transistor radio on the hood of a car or something. I knew that all of those stories needed to be held in a sacred way by me and the people who were willing to be that human and be that expressive of something so difficult and dark, needed to be seen and heard. So it wasn't really until much later than that that I realized the toll of being consistently available for that took on me personally.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: Susan Farren who I really love and respect--
Pat Kerrigan: Me too.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: We both do. We're both big Susan Farren. She has an organization called First Responders Resiliency. When I met her right after the fire, I don't know, maybe six months post disaster. She really helped me understand that, not to make heroes out of firefighters that it actually isolates them in a way that doesn't allow them access to their own grief, trauma and experience. And until then, it was hard for me to look at a firefighter. I remember this happened to me in Starbucks about a week after the fires ended. I saw a firefighter that I know, and everyone was very quiet in line. I looked at him and it's actually hard to talk about even now without crying. I just started silently crying, and I couldn't stop. It was embarrassing, but he knew me. He understood why. And everybody's sort of understood why. And then I get all the way up to the counter and the woman's like, how did you do during the fires? I just looked at her like, no, I just didn't know. I looked down because I just couldn't, but I didn't have, I wasn't normally willing to access my grief because I felt like I wasn't entitled to it because I hadn't lost my house. Because I had been of service and done the very best that I could. I think that I learned a lot from Susan telling me, don't make heroes out of them. And also don't be isolated in your own position of leadership. I felt guilty for sleeping for about a year, and then not--
Pat Kerrigan: Not very healthy. Yeah.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: It's not. You subsequently served in other disasters, and you were on the air, and a trusted voice, and you really didn't stop because of this kind of politics, it never fails to amaze. And sometimes, we're a small town in that way, like any place else, that you then had a very profound reckoning. Can you talk to us about that?
Pat Kerrigan: Yeah. Well, when I finally hit the wall, you know, it's the typical story about pebble drops on your head. And if you don't pay attention, then it's a brick, and then it's a house, whatever it is that gets your attention enough to attend to it. And for me, it was an already sort of inbred natural inclination towards alcohol. It's an issue that has been with me for many years, and I didn't drink during the fires. And in 2018, I don't know, I think I did about a, I don't know, 150 maybe appearances that year related to the fire, disasters and things. And then I started to pick it up again, and it became as it has a tendency to do for people like me to become a presence in your life. And I found it harder and harder to go, get up at 2:00 AM in the morning and be on the air by 6:00. People ask me all the time, were you drinking on the job? I said, no, no. But every other opportunity I had, pretty much, yes. And so I went into rehab. And while I was there, I decided that when I came out, I would talk about it on the air.
And part of the major reason for that is because I felt that this community had put so much trust in me. In order to communicate honestly, deeply and meaningfully that I owed it to them to respond in kind. I really didn't think it'd be a big deal. I got on my show after I got out of rehab and told them where I had been, why had been there, what worked for me and what didn't, and I was shocked by the response. That was a little over a year ago, and then the paper did a story about it, and it was all the thing. People ask me, whenever I come across people that I haven't seen in a long time, how are you? I always know it's sort of that question. Yes, they are often in choir, it's not the general, how are you? Co'z I haven't seen you for a while. It's like, how are you about that drinking thing? And people mean, well, I am so fortunate if I could have spread around the kind of love and support that I got after talking about this on the air, to all of the alcoholics who are in dire straits and need that kind of support, oh, I so gladly would have. So gladly would.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: But there had to be like a certain amount of, I know because I actually talked to you about this before, let the veil down of competency and--
Pat Kerrigan: Yes. Yeah, yeah. And if I ask that of the people that I interact with publicly, I must provide that. It's only fair because that's how relationships work. successful ones. I noticed right away, I would be in an event or something, like late 2018 or early 2019, people would watch me. If I was emceeing an event or something like that, people would watch. Like, is she gonna have a drink? is she's gonna, kind of seeing what I'm doing. And when I'm all of that stuff, it was kind of comical to me. There was one guy amidst all of that overwhelming support who sent me a new recipe for a new cocktail everyday via email. And some people were like, why would he? I thought that that was hilarious. I just thought it was hilarious.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: What a weird thing to do.
Pat Kerrigan: Yeah. And the number of people who contacted me, some that I knew, some that I didn't know, some that were in very high positions of power, not just here, but across the country who said, Thank you for doing that. I wish I had the courage to do it too. And even now, I just got an email the other day from a guy who said that he heard me on the air then, and just celebrated a year sober. So that's all well and good for me, personally. I have a small but voracious group of people who watch out for me who are the kind of people and family in my life that say, Oh, no, you don't. No, no, no, you don't. I mostly pay attention to them. I focus as entirely as I can on every sweet, wonderful, meaningful, important thing that is available to me when I'm on this side of drinking. That is not available to me on the other side. So I live a lucky enough life that those things are plentiful and magical. Those are the arrows that go into my quiver, in the fight against this thing. I am very lucky, very fortunate, and really have never been happier.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: Love to hear that because when I say that you are much beloved, I don't know that I've ever seen as much positivity on social media as I did when your statement was released. And it was from people who didn't know you, people who did, and a lot of pride. When I go into newly fire affected communities, and they don't name names because that's not necessary. I saw people who I considered community heroes, and I still do, they had to take care of themselves. And I had to listen to that too, you have to find some balance. I found myself like a year and a half, or I think it was around the same time that you went in to get treatment for alcoholism. I realized that I was having a lot of anxiety, my blood pressure was raised and I had gained weight. And I just kept moving along and doing the next thing. And Susan Farren stopped me in my tracks and said, because I got a migraine at lunch, and we were talking about another media outlet and all their issues, lack of morals, and I was crushed by that. She was like, you're paying attention to all the wrong things when you should be paying attention to you, and meditate, and she flipped over her handout. I still have it, and then she sketched out like a mental health care plan for me. She's not training in mental health care professional.
Pat Kerrigan: Yeah.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: I mean, she depends on them. So I don't want to miss to identify her, but she'd had enough experience with this dynamic to fully recognize it and be like, oh, girl, we're not going to keep away. She goes, this is the end of the business meeting. We're gonna talk about you. And because of her nature, I wasn't even embarrassed. I was sort of relieved. There are simple things you can do. But in the midst of the disaster, and then after too, you do have to sleep, and you do have those into your spouse. I don't know about your spouse, but my spouse feels like a war has been some times.
Pat Kerrigan: Yeah, I've gotten a lot of fights. Like, just don't do it. As I'm putting on my shoes, getting ready to go saying, don't do it. Just don't do it. I'm not good at listening to that. I am much better at listening and realizing that I could put my shoes on and go to work. I just can't stay there.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: Totally.
"Listen to people who are smarter than you about you." -Pat Kerrigan
Pat Kerrigan: Listen to people who are smarter than you. Smarter than you about you, I think is the operative term.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: All the time. For the most part, I'll just work harder. And it's not the right way to go and I'm really trying to take the message. But also be honest about how hard it is to listen to like, I skipped working out this morning because I wanted my hair to look better for this because it's about work. But I know that that means that I'd have to go home and do it because you do have to offload the adrenaline.
Pat Kerrigan: Yes.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: In your position, especially not as much mine, I would say. For those 24 days, you're constantly absorbing the trauma, and then you're turning it into something digestible for other people. And it is that being calm actually is what's needed? And it's not that you should do anything differently, but it does mean that when you come off of that deployment, as it were, that you put aside time for yourself to be calm, and to honor, how traumatic it can be that moment when you finally pulled over on the side of the road and wept.
"Listen to smart people who... do care and are impressed by the human that you are." -Pat Kerrigan
Pat Kerrigan: And also listen to some of those very smart people who don't give a damn about what you do could care less and not be impressed in the very least, but they do care and they are impressed by the human that you are. So be sure to be around those people who demand that kind of attention.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: Yeah, I really love that.
Pat Kerrigan: I'll keep you on board if you keep me on board.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: Girl, you can always call, you can always text, I'll go to your podcast and spoon with you. It's fine.
Pat Kerrigan: That's right. By the way, can I just say that, I am not in retirement. I did hit the pause button for a bit in December. And very soon, it should be within about six weeks or so, you will be hopefully hearing Pat Kerrigan Unleashed, the podcast.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: Yes. And I am going to subscribe to that because I like Pat Kerrigan just leashed, so I'm very excited about Unleashed.
Pat Kerrigan: It's gonna be fun. Thank you for your participation, and it's ongoing. And it's open ended for all of the members of this expanding community that we live in, people at risk and of people who are learning with help from people like you Jen, about how to do it better and how to stay afloat. Good on you.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: Thank you, I feel very lucky to be in this position. I fully realized that lots of people have put me here and supported me over a number of years. And I count you in that club, for sure. And thank you for ways that you've held me accountable, and I like that. I like that a lot about you. I admire you and I'm so grateful to have you on today. I just want to sort of close out if you had any immediate advice for that broadcaster, it's a medium sized market and they were all undergoing some sort of climate crisis, but they're in the midst of it. And they're thinking about, if I'm in the midst of a disaster, what's the best advice you can give for that person?
Pat Kerrigan: I think to make sure that your information is accurate. Make sure that information is from a trusted source, or somebody with whom the disaster is right in front of their very eyes, do not add to the massive discomfort of your community by forsaking the things that are adamant and mandatory as a broadcaster and that is seeking the truth. And the truth will be those facts, those figures, that acreage, that number of houses, and it will also be the well being of your community. And I think having both of those things in your front pocket at all times is the only way to assist your community.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: And to remember to be fully human in the experience to yourself and with your family to go ahead and sleep.
Pat Kerrigan: Yes. Do a little of that, take good care of yourself indeed.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: Yes. So that we can keep you forever.
Pat Kerrigan: That's right.
Jennifer Gray Thompson: Okay. Well, thank you so much Pat. I think we can call this a wrap. I'm looking forward to Pat Kerrigan Unleashed. And this has been another episode that I've fully loved called How To Disaster.