BY MARCY SHORTUSE – With the announcement of a new and potentially interesting tropical system headed in our direction you must ask yourself, “Am I ready for the storm?”
Remember, the fire department administrative offices will be closed the day prior to the day when a hurricane is expected to make landfall on the island.
According to the fire department, only about half of island residents and business owners have the proper tags.
The Boca Grande Fire Department issued new hurricane hangtags in 2012 to officials, residents, property owners, and business owners for their essential personnel.
In order to make re-entry easier after an event, rearview mirror hangtags are issued to officials, residents, property owners and business owners in the community of Boca Grande. A driver’s license with a Boca Grande address may still be used; however, a hurricane hangtag will expedite your return. If you did not update your tag in 2012, 2013 or 2014, bring the old tag and your drivers’ license to the fire department to obtain a new tag.
Hurricane hangtags will only be issued to business or residential owners. It is the owner’s choice and the owner’s discretion as to how the hangtags are used after that, and who they are given to. This is for the owner’s protection and security. A computerized database has been established to track the hang tags as to whom they were issued and if they are reported lost or stolen.
In the event of an island evacuation, when phased re-entry is opened you will go to the bridge checkpoint with your hangtag hanging on the rear view mirror. An official at the bridge checkpoint does not need to stop your car if the hang tag is visible and the hangtag is the correct color, number and zone (as determined by the Boca Grande Fire Department). Hangtags shall act as a security system for the patrols after re-entry. Vehicles should display tags belonging to addresses in the specific area designated by the zone number.
Valid residential hangtags for 2015 are blue, while the orange tags are for commercial use. If you don’t have yours yet or need to update, hurricane hangtags are available at the Boca Grande Fire Department, 360 East Railroad Ave, between the hours of 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
If you are not on an island and need a new tag, send an email to email@example.com, or download an application from our website bocagrandefire.com. You can also call to request an application, 964-2908. Send your completed application with a self addressed, stamped envelope to the Boca Grande Fire Department, POB 532, Boca Grande, Florida, 33921. Include a copy of your drivers’ license, proof of residency or ownership, i.e. copy of tax bill, deed, rental agreement, utility bill, business license if a business, etc.
Boca Grande property owners and those with commercial interests should obtain hurricane hangtags prior to a hurricane warning being issued. Commercial businesses must have a valid occupational license with a physical address on the island prior to application for hurricane hangtags. The hurricane hangtag program includes a system of four zones. Your zone will be printed on your hurricane hangtag to allow for phased re-entry, if warranted.
Yellow tags are for official use only. Orange tags are for commercial property and business owners. Blue tags are for residents.
The zone that each tag can be used in will be marked by the fire department on the tag. Zones include:
Zone 1: from Swing Bridge to 18th Street
Zone 2: Boca Grande Isles
Zone 3: 17th Street to 1st Street
Zone 4: 1st Street to south end of island
Blue residential and orange commercial tags issued in 2012, 2013 and 2014 are valid for 2015.
Green residential and pink commercial tags are NOT VALID.
For questions regarding hurricane hangtags, emergency preparedness and evacuation contact the Boca Grande Fire Department at 964-2908.