The moment Hurricane Irma passed and the all-clear was given, dozens of Floridians who evacuated began working their way back home.
In Florida City, dozens of Florida Keys residents lined up in their cars for days, waiting for roads to clear so they could travel south.
People who had left the state also began driving to Florida.
In total, about a third of the state’s population left during the storm, and according to a new Mason-Dixon poll, if they had to do it again, 28 percent would not evacuate, even if they were ordered to leave.
Firefighter Martin Seneterfitt doesn’t agree with those who decide to ride out a storm after an order is issued.
“In my professional opinion, ignoring evacuation is the height of selfishness,” said Senterfitt, who is also the emergency management director for Monroe County. “There are so many places that, if you would’ve stayed, you would’ve died. It is always easy to come back after the fact and look at your home and say, ‘I would’ve been fine.'”
As a career firefighter, Senterfitt says that many people who refuse to leave forget about the first responders in their communities.
“It pushes the first responders to take incredible risks with their own lives to help save the people who ignored,” he said.
Senterfitt said it’s so imperative for people to listen, even if it means spending an extra couple of days on a family member’s couch.
“Even to this day, the right choice is to move out of the way of a hurricane,” Senterfitt said.