Catch Kathleen Fairweather on the #PirateBroadcast
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Russ Johns 0:01
Welcome to the #piratebroadcast, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let's get this party started.
It's a beautiful day for the #piratebroadcast and the pirate community. We are talking to #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings and I just wanted to thank you all appreciation and gratitude in the world for being here. If you're watching the replay, thank you just leave some comments. Share it out, let people know that we're doing this. It's a wonderful community, a lot of wonderful amazing people to be introduced to and learn from. Today is no different.
We have Kathleen in the room, we're going to be talking about disaster recovery, and some of the processes that people have to go through that we might be out of work. Air as a individual, about some of these things that go on and if you've ever lived through a disaster, if you ever survived the catastrophe of either a weather anomaly or earthquake or any any of these types of events, you can understand and appreciate what Kathleen is gonna bring. Also, we're going through a process right now with a little bit of a pandemic. I want to touch base on that and check in. Kathleen, how are you today?
Kathleen Fairweather 1:29
I'm doing well. Thank you for inviting me.
Russ Johns 1:31
Well, we met online and, I was a volunteer firefighter and EMT at one point in my life. First responder, as someone that goes out and most of my events were around brush fires or car accidents or slip and falls and things like that. It's not the bread and scope of what you have had experience with. I just think everybody has to appreciate that. There are people out there doing what you do. In the first responders, hats off the medical community, that's taking care of people right now. Thank you so much. I really appreciate all the things that you do and and I just want to give a, shout out to everybody that's doing that work. Thank you. That's all I can say. Let's talk about some of your history. How did you arrive at this thing? You don't wake up one day and say, I think I'm going to work on disasters.
Kathleen Fairweather 2:40
Well, kinda actually. I've been handling disasters, including injuries and things like that since I was a child. Because, I could keep a cool head in a situation. Whenever my brother and sisters got hurt or if we had taken to the hospital or Something I was the one that was doing that or helping my parents to do that. So
Russ Johns 3:07
You were the calm one in the family?
Kathleen Fairweather 3:08
Pretty much. Yeah. Then as I got older, I got into community service. I was doing a lot of disaster work, work for Red Cross. And of course, they handle disasters and service to military, which is where the like the confirmation, Bureau for military emergency leave and things like that. After I was doing that for a while, our emergency manager said, Well, if you like this so much, why don't you get a degree? I said, there's a degree. I went got my degree, and now I have a degree in emergency administration and disaster planning, and I've been working for FEMA for 22 years, I think. So that's it.
Russ Johns 3:59
I want to talk about Little bit about natural disasters, and then we'll work into some other disasters. I survived Harvey. When I've been, being in Houston and having a little bit of rainfall. It was really kind of a unique experience. However, I've also been in earthquake zones before and I was in the northwest, prior to Houston. One of the things I noticed that everybody would say, especially in Houston, like doesn't rain all the time in Seattle, it's like, Houston gets a lot more rain in Seattle. It just comes out in buckets.
Kathleen Fairweather 4:35
Yes, it's semi tropical.
Russ Johns 4:37
Yeah. That was an experience seeing so much water so quickly, and so many people being displaced in a very short period of time. When a disaster like that happens, or any kind of a natural disaster, what's the mechanism that we have in place what's been designed and built out, so people Understand that what steps are in place that people would not necessarily understand. I mean, there's the activation of people organization. There's a lot of logistics that go into it, I would imagine.
Kathleen Fairweather 5:14
Yeah, he way the structure set up is that the local community is LEED they handle the emergent incident, if it gets bad enough, the state steps in to assist. Then if it gets really bad, the federal government comes in, they activate the National Response Plan, which includes FEMA, but also like the Corps of Engineers and food programs and disaster unemployment and things like that. There's, it's a hierarchy and and when we get there, we actually literally are from the government and they're to help we aren't there to tell them what to do. So we're support basically.
Russ Johns 5:53
So guidance, if you will,
Kathleen Fairweather 5:57
as far as the?
Russ Johns 5:59
Well I mean, I would imagine that a lot of states have certain pieces of infrastructure in place, and like, certain plans. However, there has to be some oversight. I'm trying to understand the organizational level of like, say, let's take Harvey, for instance. The city is probably the first line of defense, helping people close roads, make sure that people are not going into areas that are exposed in dangerous
Kathleen Fairweather 6:33
city and county.
Russ Johns 6:34
Yeah, then it would be the state level kicking in. Now, I know that a lot of funding is attached to that. So how does funding when they say, a declarative disaster, what does that mean?
Kathleen Fairweather 6:54
Well, generally once there's a federal disaster declaration, there's a lot of programs and assistance that FEMA give 75%. And the state gives 25% matching. That's one of the ways that FEMA comes in and helps. We also have resources and materials, that it's that we can, that we can muster, and get people in there to help with the recovery. For example, when I go into a disaster, my job is generally to assist people who have survived the disaster getting their assistance from the government and the state and non governmental agencies in the area. I try to help them coordinate that.
Usually by the time they get in there, they're they're a little shocked and stressed and traumatized. It takes, sometimes it takes a while to get everything together. Also, everything that we do is documented. We have to help them replace their documents. We have to coordinate that for them. Then when once we do determine what assistance they're eligible for, we can help them with rent with repairs replacement of the house course that usually is, the amount that FEMA has for the replacement is usually anywhere between 30 and $45,000, which is not going to really replace your house. Then we have a public assistance program to assist like for roads and bridges that the cities and counties have to do. It's a pretty broad spectrum of assistance that we can give. And Excuse me. assistance. Yeah, and like I said, and then we coordinate other things to help.
Russ Johns 8:45
Well, I would imagine FEMA has a role and then also the Red Cross has a role. I would imagine that they're separate roles. They're different, unique, responsibilities is that the case?
Kathleen Fairweather 8:57
Actually the American Red Cross is the only nongovernmental organization that's included in the federal response plan.
Russ Johns 9:04
Kathleen Fairweather 9:05
Yeah, they and they generally provide mass care, housing and feeding. They also can they also have medical assistance that they do, like helping to replace medications that are lost in a disaster medical equipment, which and FEMA can also do some of that. Then they have psychological counseling, and they have caseworkers to help people through their program to
Russ Johns 9:32
Wow, so there's a lot of moving parts here. Is there one hierarchy that it rolls up to in a coordinated effort or is it just all? I'm just trying to imagine this? Kathleen is like, Okay, is there like a conference call where everybody says, okay, you take a, you take B, you take C?
Kathleen Fairweather 9:54
Yeah, generally what happens is that because we go into support the government or the Fed, we go We're under the governor, the governor of the state. Generally it rolls from the governor's office, all the coordination and, and they, we have an emergency operation center. That way all the agencies are represented in the same place. They can make decisions for their agencies or get information from their agencies and share it. We try to stay coordinated.
Russ Johns 10:27
Well, in coordination is key because it in any disaster you need to make decisions quickly you need to make, you need to have a little bit of intelligence and understanding of the situation,
Kathleen Fairweather 10:38
Russ Johns 10:39
It's really an opportunity to actually say, okay the person or group of individuals that have the decision making process, have to be made aware of everything that's going on and what the cause and effect is going to be in the situation.
Kathleen Fairweather 10:57
Right. That's from experience and someone is from education and training.
Russ Johns 11:02
Kathleen Fairweather 11:03
Yeah, well, I think that actually in most instances with a couple of exceptions, we generally do fairly well. We've had a problem with our leadership in this administration. I don't think that they were appointed because of their skills with emergency management. We had a major failure in Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit.
Yeah. We've had some other, not the best responses. This Coronavirus is another one that FEMA could easily be responding to and be an excellent conduit to get resources out to people. I'm not seeing that happening.
Russ Johns 11:47
Well, I want to go back to your point that the governor is responsible at the state level and, a lot of a lot of the things that we're dealing with right now or each state seems to be doing their own thing. When you're dealing with the international epidemic or pandemic like this, I would anticipate that there would be more coordination at the next level up. I don't necessarily want to get into the politics of it. However, the operational episode of having some, not necessarily jurisdiction, but leadership is that.
Kathleen Fairweather 12:30
Russ Johns 12:31
It seems like that that's been kind of the the area that seems to be lacking.
Kathleen Fairweather 12:37
It is because if you go and and what's happened here is, especially in Texas, the President has said, well, we're going to let the governor's be responsible for it. Our governor has said we're going to let the mayor's be responsible for it. We've got hundreds of mayors who were elected, never even dreaming, they'd have to face that. Something like this and handle it on their own. We get all different levels of competency and and so we get all different levels of inability basically,
Russ Johns 13:14
Have you been tracking the actual the openings and the the mask wearing and the ICU bed levels and things like that. Is that involved in or at least following as a personal interest?
Kathleen Fairweather 13:35
Yeah I have right now Texas is blooming again because we we reopened and the governor has has told all of the mayors and sheriffs and judges and anybody else who makes decisions that you cannot force people to wear a mask. For example in Austin And the mayor said that they did have a mask ordinance. Then the governor came in and said, No, you can't do that and rescinded it. We've got a lot of people who should be wearing masks that aren't.
Russ Johns 14:13
Yeah. Then the argument goes back to Well, my mask is it collects everything for me, so I can take it home. There's a lot of misinformation out there.
Kathleen Fairweather 14:31
Russ Johns 14:31
In my opinion, and I go on the news, and it's like, okay doctors are saying this is a crisis, and then other doctors are saying everything is being reported as COVID. If they don't know what it is. it's like, I don't know what the real answer is. I think that's part of the the anxiety that people have in the communities is not having a clear consistent message over and over again. I mean, it's really frustrating to hear, like, okay, they stopped they blocked everything down. All these mom and pop shops and all these small businesses or, a lot of these restaurants are not gonna open again.
Kathleen Fairweather 15:18
Russ Johns 15:19
That's just fact. Then some businesses that were considered essential, were allowed to continue to run and others were not.
Kathleen Fairweather 15:28
In some cases, those were out like liquor stores and bars and things like that.
Russ Johns 15:39
Last said, I don't believe it, and I'm just gonna continue to do what I'm doing.
Kathleen Fairweather 15:43
Exactly. Here's what the issue is this and I have a son, that's a doctor and he's dealing with this down in Dallas. This is a big deal. This is a pandemic. That's worldwide and The only way that you can find it is to like you do with Ebola, stamp it out, and then wait until it pops up again. Then you go and address that bubble. Because you're only dealing with one bubble then, right now we're working. We're like in a boiling pot trying to fix the bubble by bubble.
Russ Johns 16:18
It's like whack a mole.
Kathleen Fairweather 16:19
It is whack a mole
Russ Johns 16:20
Kathleen Fairweather 16:21
That's one of the things that in New York state that they're concerned about, because they've got their numbers coming down. When people come in from say, Florida, where they're not doing the masks and everything, and the social justice thing or Texas, then then it starts up again. You have an outbreak here and it goes down but then you have another outbreak over somewhere, some other state and it and it goes down and then it goes back up in the first state again, what you're seeing in California. To me the shutdown that we had in April
Russ Johns 16:59
Kathleen Fairweather 17:00
Was a terrible mistake because they didn't do it equally over the entire nation. So it was people have lost money, lost their jobs and lost their lives because we didn't coordinate this effort. Because this is like, you have to stamp out a disease like this in the entire nation. So that all so that after that all you're dealing with is emergent events, like Ebola in Africa. Correct. So they had a big problem with Ebola, they finally knocked it down. Now when it comes up, they go when they deal with it.
Russ Johns 17:41
it's related event, and rather than a universal event. Let's talk about the rest of the world. What are you noticing that that is working for other countries in other areas of the world?
Kathleen Fairweather 17:54
Well, they are. They're doing shutdowns. That's what Italy did. That's what China did. China's Got a re emergence of it now. Spain, we have the same coordination problem in Brazil. They are having really high numbers like we are. Our numbers, the last I heard we were losing about 1000 people a day. We have protests going on when we're losing two black men in a month. The majority of these people that are dying, according to the statistics are people of color. While we've had two people, and we're trying to address that nationwide, we've had 1000 people, we will have had 1000 people today die from this. No, it's not getting. I don't want to say the attention. It's not getting the response that it needs to knock these numbers down because that's an unacceptable number.
Russ Johns 18:53
I see thousands of people protesting like side by side and it's like, that's not social distancing. Now and I guess let's talk about that because social distancing, what is that been proven to be effective?
Kathleen Fairweather 19:09
Russ Johns 19:08
Because I'm thinking grocery stores and things like that sometimes you do everything you can to produce results, and I can't care for my parents and they're exposed and so our best interest is in to make sure that we do everything we can to avoid crowds, avoid contact or anything riskier, high risk areas, to bring back to mom and dad. It's a scary place.
Kathleen Fairweather 19:11
It is but this isn't a magical thing. This is a physical disease. It's not quite as contagious as measles but measles is the most contagious disease that there is that that they're comparing it to.
Russ Johns 19:55
Kathleen Fairweather 19:57
We have A number that they call an AR not, which is the number of people, any person will in fact, in a day, and it's over one person. That means that if you have one person sick and then they will take another person sick. Then if you have, as you multiply that out, it's more than one person per patient that gets sick. The masking and the social distancing course, the personal protective equipment, the PPE that they talk about, they're doing it in the hospitals and although there are some of those people getting sick, it's very effective and keeping
Russ Johns 20:39
It's nowhere near
Kathleen Fairweather 20:41
Russ Johns 20:41
They were not wearing
Kathleen Fairweather 20:44
Yeah, and masks masks keep your droplets from going out. So when you're wearing masks, you're actually protecting other people. It also helps to protect you, but it's not as effective. But if other people are wearing masks and you're wearing a mask, then the Chances are even lower of you getting the disease. And then if you're more than six feet apart and social distancing, they say at six feet, it really needs to be about eight or 10. Because the droplets travel if you cough or yell or sing. If the droplets aren't getting to somebody else, then they're not going to infect them. So social distancing is a physical way to lower that incidence of disease because you're not getting exposed to the virus.
Russ Johns 21:31
It's just a really, I think, for a lot of people. More than the concern about getting sick is not knowing how long this is going to last and what the outcome is going to be. If you talk to people about the duration and it, are there any expectations, are there any known kind of results were this thing where it becomes, an enough people like the
Kathleen Fairweather 22:00
Russ Johns 22:03
You're herd immunity takes place. I mean, is there any kind of math equation that they they've been able to calculate that would allow us to see the end of the tunnel and not have it be a train?
Kathleen Fairweather 22:16
It's well what we're gonna have to wait for a coordinated response and I don't see us getting that anytime soon. which is unfortunate because that means another hundred thousand people are going to die before we even start getting this under control. Okay, I was going somewhere with that. Sometimes my brain just quits for a while.
Russ Johns 22:39
Yeah, mine too.
Kathleen Fairweather 22:42
Yeah, the virus having a vaccine. The Corona viruses there aren't vaccines for Corona viruses there's not a vaccine for hers. There's not a vaccine for Ebola. There's not and this. Make no mistake. This disease is A sister of Ebola.
Russ Johns 23:01
Kathleen Fairweather 23:01
Okay. I'm not looking to us having a vaccine, the only way that we're going to get out of this is to manage it at a at a national level. That means that all the states have to close down at the same time incubation period for it is 14 days. If we had gone that month in in April, and while that was happening, everybody was doing the testing and everybody was finding out where the disease is broken out, so that they can isolate that then a lot of people would still have jobs and would still have would have money and they wouldn't be struggling to put food on the table. They wouldn't be having to drop their insurance to buy their medication, things like that.
To me, that was such an incredible waste and a hardship on the people to do that. Do it that way. We need a we need a national response were on this day, everything is going to close down and everyone needs to stay home. Then 30 days later, we're going to look at it and see how much we have and then start reopening based on where the outbreaks are. Because by then we should have been able to if we do a robust testing, we should be able to find out where the disease is. When you do that, you have to find those people, you have to isolate them, you have to find everybody they've been in contact with and test them. Then if they have it, you have to isolate them and it's like a big chain. You have to like be a detective to track down this path that the disease has taken through people.
Russ Johns 24:39
Yeah. Are we are very confident that the testing is adequate, or, I mean, because that was a big controversy early is like we don't have adequate testing to begin with. So how will we know where people are getting exposure from
Kathleen Fairweather 25:00
Yeah, well as I understand it, for some reason we, we wanted to develop our own test, even though there was effective testing from other countries that we could have purchased.
Russ Johns 25:10
Kathleen Fairweather 25:12
That gave us a slow start and gave it a chance to spread. If you could imagine, like, going up a tree, you have the trunk, and then you have a branch that goes out. Then it has branches and it has branches, and then you got millions of leaves. Yeah, if we'd have been able to stop it when there was only a couple of branches, then we could have dealt with it much, much, much easier. But we have to the testing is vital to finding out where it is so that we can go and deal with it.
Russ Johns 25:42
Yeah. Hey, before we get off, I want to I want to touch base a little bit. Okay, on because I know for a fact that you are doing disaster tales, talk a little bit about disaster tales, and what that encompasses
Kathleen Fairweather 25:59
Diaster tales is our podcasts and I have co hosts Barb blonsky. And another one on John And we talk about disasters. Like the history of the disaster, the causes the effects, the kind of lesson learned from it. covers things like there's a steamboat explosion that happened on the Mississippi. We talked about the four hurricanes that hit Florida in 2005, Hurricane Sandy, the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. We go in and we get first hand accounts push to go higher. That's interesting one. Also, I've had some guests that talk about substantive, substantive issues that have to do with disaster like trauma and the kind of trauma that people have when they're through it. There's also a vicarious trauma that people have by dealing with people who have been through the disaster.
Russ Johns 26:56
Kathleen Fairweather 26:57
I talked to Richard Goldberger about that And so there's some really interesting ones out there. We've been doing it for about a year and a half.
Russ Johns 27:05
Oh, very cool. Very cool.
That's the thing that I love to highlight with the pirate broadcast is #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Right. There's somebody out there that has an interest in a passion for bringing awareness to the world on some of these topics. I was fascinated by the fact that and I had as a first responder myself I just wanted to make sure that it's like, people may not truly appreciate what is required to deal with in a disaster and I can't say that it's there's a lot of trauma involved. A lot of people have lost everything. A lot of people go through and they really are lost. They don't even know where to start.
Kathleen Fairweather 27:59
Russ Johns 28:00
Where do I even find housing? Where can I go to get help? Who's here to help me,
Kathleen Fairweather 28:09
We just did our my last episode that went up on the 15th was about immediate emergency housing, because we were working in California and the fires, and in Chico and there's already a massive housing shortage in California. Every time there's a disaster, there's less housing, and they're not rebuilding at a good rate because they have certain compliance issues that they have to deal with. Not only is there a low amount of housing, but once the disaster comes and what I like to say is that when there's a disaster like that, owners become renters and renters become homeless.
Russ Johns 28:47
That's not a good, it's not a good direction for the country to take. I don't believe in some of the things that are going on Seattle right now. The protesters in the city being taken over. It's like, I don't understand. I just do not understand. I mean, that's a catastrophe, in my opinion. That's for another show.
Kathleen Fairweather 29:16
Yeah. I predicted back in January when I started getting ready for this was that it would happen that it would spread, that we'd have to shut down. We'd have to do distance learning and distance work. But also then in the summer, there would be violence. I was prepared for violence by making sure I have curtains people can see through at night and things like that. But and I didn't know what form it would take, but I knew it was going to happen. Then as we mentioned before, after disasters, to be say that on here, after disasters, because there's fewer people there's more inheritance of goods and property.
Russ Johns 29:55
Kathleen Fairweather 29:56
People become wealthier, the survivors become wealthier. The labor pool becomes smaller and employers have to end up and pay people more.
Russ Johns 30:10
Kathleen Fairweather 30:11
If you want me to go out there and pick your tomatoes before they rot, then you're going to need to be paying me more and I need to have medical insurance for my family. You can see that starting to happen. I know target just raised their base minimum wage. They get people off the unemployment. What's really a crying shame is that people aren't coming off of unemployment because they're getting more money than they are when they're working for people
Russ Johns 30:36
Especially minimum wages, like why would I want to get off unemployment when I can make more on unemployment than minimum wage,
Kathleen Fairweather 30:43
Right. The thing is that owners say, well, we pay them they should be satisfied with that, but these are the people that are making you, your business run. If you didn't pay if you didn't have those people there, your business wouldn't run and so they deserve Whatever it is that their work provides for you as well.
Russ Johns 31:06
Well, I think the bigger the bigger itemthat we need to consider also is the markets are going to change the markets are changing. that's why I have it's like, let's look at now let's see what we're doing now and work to improve now, or the future in the future is going to be different and everything else. So before we wrap up here, okay, what are we going to do? Um, I mean, is there anything that you can leave with us that would give us hope and inspiration today is I don't want to leave on a down note. Leave us with some inspiration here.
Kathleen Fairweather 31:59
The best thing You can do is to prepare. Because if you're prepared, you can take care of yourself, and then you can help other people as well. And the other thing that I find is as I go over the country, I hear about people are bad and selfish and it's dangerous. I find that people all over the country are generally good people, they want to do the right thing, and they're willing to do whatever it takes to get it done. So that's a good thing.
Russ Johns 32:25
That is a good thing. And you see, it's like Mr. Rogers used to say look for the helpers in all disasters, you know, yeah, there's helpers everywhere. I thank you so much for being here and sharing this information. If you want to go disaster tails is there and you can actually check out the podcast, a disaster tales calm.
Kathleen Fairweather 32:51
Russ Johns 32:52
I love the fact that you can actually connect with Kathleen, do you go by Kathleen, did you go by Kate?
Kathleen Fairweather 32:58
It just depends. They call me all kinds of things. But yeah, you do. kate@Disastertails.com So that's me. drop me a line.
Russ Johns 33:11
Awesome. Well appreciate you and thank you so much for being here. I look forward to hearing more about and seeing how this whole thing unfolds. It's fascinating in a cautious sort of way.
Kathleen Fairweather 33:27
It is. Well, thank you for inviting me. I really appreciate it. Does that mean now I can say ARR after
Russ Johns 33:33
ARRR Yes, you can say ARR.
Kathleen Fairweather 33:37
Beacuse I'm a pirate now.
Russ Johns 33:38
You're a pirate now.
Kathleen Fairweather 33:39
Russ Johns 33:40
As you know, #kindnessiscool #smilesarefree and you #enjoytheday.
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