In preparation for hurricane season, which began June 1, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) is encouraging residents who live in barrier island locations to register for emergency
access permits in the case of an evacuation. By registering for the program, which is effective immediately, residents of barrier islands can obtain a free permit allowing them to re-enter an evacuated area.
The Barrier Island Re-Entry Program was established to prevent looting and to keep trespassers from easy access to property after a mandatory evacuation. Cities and communities that will require the emergency access permit include: Belleair Beach, Belleair Shores, Clearwater, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Madeira Beach, North Redington Beach, Redington Beach, Redington Shores, St. Pete Beach, Tierra Verde and Treasure Island.
“Living on a barrier island makes us all vulnerable to the effects of violent weather. Evacuation is the best course of action to save lives – both your own and those of first responders who put themselves at risk when asked to rescue those who stayed behind. In order to expedite your return home after an evacuation, the sheriff’s office has implemented a process that allows evacuees a speedy return
and prevents access by those who don’t belong. The key to this process is the emergency access permit. Every resident should register and obtain a permit from the sheriff’s office. Doing so will help the sheriff do his job to protect your home, and will allow you a faster return following the threat of a
natural disaster,” said St. Pete Beach Mayor Alan Johnson.
Residents can obtain their re-entry passes at their municipal offices. Also, in an effort to assist citizens, deputies will be out in the community registering residents at various locations during the next two months. Upcoming scheduled registrations will be held for St. Pete Beach residents on June 17 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the St. Pete Beach Recreation Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Dr. and for the Tierra Verde community on June 24 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 1120 Pinellas Bayway S.
According to the PCSO website, a photo ID and proof of residency are required to obtain the permits, and registration must be done in person. A total of two permits will be issued per household. Businesses may require additional permits and will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the issuing cities. Home and business owners are also encouraged to provide any tenants with the permits for their use in the
event of an emergency evacuation.
“We strongly encourage residents to get their barrier island re-entry permits now before an emergency situation occurs,” advised St. Pete Beach City Manager Wayne Saunders.
For information regarding registration, residents should contact their respective municipalities or visit the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office website at pcsoweb.com/emergency-access-permit.