Island residents should make sure they have the most recent city-issued Hurricane Reentry Pass to get back on the island after a major storm.
The Hurricane Reentry Pass program allows residents, business owners, and workers to quickly get back on the island while also securing the community. Passes are color-coded, numbered, and have a special "zone" watermark in the middle, fitting easily in a vehicle's glove box.
Sanibel Emergency Management Technician Lance Henninger said that an independent decision is made each year on whether to issue a new series of hurricane passes, but for this upcoming season the 2012 series are still valid.
"They will be good until the decision is made that we will issue a new series," he said.
New arrivals to the island or residents who may not have a pass should visit the Hurricane/Emergency Management quick link (on the right side of the page) at mysanibel.com for information on passes and downloadable applications. Passes can also be obtained at City Hall, Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Other motorists will be allowed back on the island with valid identification, but the hurricane pass guarantees expediency.
Islanders should be fully prepared with a disaster supply kit, full of items ranging from a can opener to flashlights with extra batteries, and in the case of a mandatory evacuation they should be familiar with routes and shelter locations.
Being prepared for a storm or other major disaster also means having access to important communications from the City of Sanibel, Lee County, State of Florida, and other participating agencies. The City of Sanibel is part of CodeRED, the county's emergency public notification system, which alerts residents about health or safety issues, mandatory evacuations, or law enforcement lockdowns.
CodeRED covers all of Lee County and is shared by Lee County Emergency Management, Lee County Sheriff's Office, the Lee County Port Authority, City of Fort Myers, and The City of Sanibel. Officials recently tested the island's CodeRED system on May 9.
Emergency management officials are asking islanders and Lee County residents to enter their phone numbers and addresses in CodeRED's database so they can be reached in an emergency. Residents with unlisted numbers, changed numbers, changed home addresses, or those using a cellular phone or VoIP are encouraged to register.
Registrations for CodeRED can be done online at www.leeeoc.com or by calling the Lee County Sheriff's Office system administrator, Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 472-1228.