I was disappointed to read Monroe County Emergency Management Director Martin Senterfitt’s comment regarding county actions after Hurricane Irma: “We spent a lot of time making it up as we went along.” That was most unfortunate and, in many respects, unnecessary.
When Mr. Senterfitt assumed his position, I spoke to him about hurricane planning. I told him that his predecessor focused her time and energy on pre-hurricane activity, evacuation, at the expense of post-hurricane response. Perhaps her efforts regarding evacuation were driven by building requirements. In any event, there did not seem to be great interest in what the county would do after a hurricane and I advised Mr. Senterfitt that it would be wise to correct that deficiency.
No one can fully plan for the aftermath of a hurricane of the magnitude of Irma. However, Monroe County has experienced hurricanes in the past and will experience more in the future. Advanced planning is imperative, not “making it up as we went along.” I suspect that Mr. Senterfitt has learned a bitter lesson at the expense of our community.
As your editorial notes, “It appears that there was a lot of confusion in the process.” A lot of that confusion could have been avoided had Mr. Senterfitt and his staff reversed earlier procedures and put more time and energy into how to react to a hurricane. Hopefully, that will change and when the next hurricane comes, we will be much better prepared for both the storm and its aftermath.
Larry Murray, Big Pine Key