Emergency responders across South Florida urged residents to stay off the roads as Category 4 Hurricane Irma reached the Florida Keys on Sunday morning.
“Powerlines are down and roads are flooded,” warned Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue. “It is extremely dangerous outside with flying debris. Stay inside and bunker down.”
Reports of power lines down and trees obstructing roads will continue to make driving conditions unsafe on Sunday. At high wind speeds, police officers and fire-rescue personnel will not be able to respond to emergencies.
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Even after the storm passes, power lines down are dangerous and can kill you.
Miami police said conditions are too dangerous for the police and fire departments to respond if someone is hurt.
Miami Beach rescue teams also said they are no longer able to respond, but will start once Hurricane Irma has passed and it is safe again.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office decided to keep deputies off the roads, and they will be deployed again when conditions permit.
Typically, once wind speeds reach 39 miles per hour, first responders may not be able to respond to you.
The Miami Fire Rescue received 41 calls after midnight, but was only able to respond to two by about 8:30 a.m., according to spokesman Capt. Ignatius Carroll. Another 82 calls for fire services came in, but firefighters were only able to respond to one: a house fire in Flagami caused by a downed power line.
Fort Lauderdale police did respond to reports of smoke on the 28th floor of a building Sunday morning.
In Miami on Sunday morning, paramedics could not respond to a pregnant woman and she ended up delivering her own baby.
Trees were blocking several different roads in Pembroke Pines, according to the Pembroke Pines Police Department.
Tropical storm winds are expected to extend through Sunday night. The storm is expected to pass South Florida by Monday, but even after the storm, downed power lines, trees blocking roads, and unknown depths of flooding in the streets can be dangerous.
Causeways into Miami Beach and Biscayne Bay will stay closed after the storm passes until the city deems the streets are safe.
Saturday in the Florida Keys, a woman called 911— to no avail —after finding a man dead inside a truck wrapped around a tree in Marathon. Later, when the Monroe County’s Sheriff’s Office was patrolling between storm bands, they found and recovered the body.