So you decided to ride out the storm that is coming your way — even after a mandatory hurricane evacuation .
People who stay during the storm are putting themselves in dangerous situations. Often, people will brag about their fearlessness on social media.
Beer stocked. Ready to ride out the storm.
— Paul Spence (@the_mr_spence) September 13, 2018
You’ve seen the videos of firefighters and rescue team members retrieving these people from horrendous situations, only to take them to safety soon after. When are these rescue teams allowed to say they aren’t coming to get you if you decided to stay during a mandatory evacuation?
Where’s the line for first responder safety?
According to South Trail Fire Department Chief Gene Rogers, wind is one of the most significant factors.
“When those wind speeds, for instance, reach 39 miles per hour sustained in our areas," Rogers said, "we will baton down the hatches and wait for that storm to pass."
Depending on the storm, some people could wait for a while, but rescue teams aren’t going to leave you hanging.
The first responders may have to overcome significant challenges. Trees and power-lines make the road inaccessible, as will flooding from heavy downpours. These complications force the first responders to devise an alternative route to reach those in danger.
“The one thing we hear over and over again is, 'we've lived here for X number of years and it’s never happened here,'" Rogers said. "That is the wrong logic to use."
Rogers said the fire department didn’t have that problem with Hurricane Irma last year. But you should take mandatory evacuations seriously.
“It is highly recommended that the general public heed those warnings and find another safe place to go that is not in one of those evacuation areas,” Rogers said.