Kevin Guthrie addresses the media at the event with state and county officials at his sides. He stressed the importance of evacuations. KRISTEN LIVENGOOD/Monroe County

Five years after Hurricane Irma, Monroe County Mayor David Rice, Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi and Monroe County Emergency Management Director Shannon Weiner joined the Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie and other state and local officials at a press conference on Sept. 9 at Marathon airport. Mayor Pro Tem Craig Cates and commissioners Michelle Coldiron, Holly Merrill Raschein and Jim Scholl were also in attendance.

Hurricane Irma ravaged the Florida Keys chain on Sept. 10, 2017 as a category 4 storm. The press conference focused on the importance of preparedness and heeding official warnings for evacuation.

Other speakers included Florida Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Colonel Gene Spaulding, Florida FWC’s Colonel Alfredo Escanio and Captain David Dipre, state Rep. Jim Mooney, Sheriff Rick Ramsay, Marathon Mayor John Bartus, National Hurricane Center Acting Director Jamie Rhome and National Weather Service Key West Meteorologist Chip Kasper.

In addition to the official speakers, 12-year-old Sugarloaf School student David Criado told his Hurricane Irma evacuation story and suggested all children make a go bag for an evacuation. In his go bag, he has flashlights, a portable charger and Uno, among other things. He is the son of Monroe County building department customer service representative Erika Nodal.To learn more preparedness and evacuation tips, visit and