When the winds kicked up as Hurricane Irma made its way up Florida's west coast, rescue workers watched helplessly as the 911 calls piled up on a computer screen.
They weren't allowed to respond. Winds were so high that emergency services in many areas were suspended to protect the rescuers.
"It just stinks. You're sitting here not be able to do your job," said Billy Johnston, a firefighter paramedic with St. Petersburg Fire Rescue. "And we got into this job to help people."
"It's a helpless feeling, but we have to look out for our safety. If we go out, we potentially create another emergency, and people have to come and help us," added his colleague David Owens, a firefighter EMT.