The most active part of hurricane season is coming up fast, and for those of us on Sanibel Island, it’s important to know exactly what to do in case one of the storms comes towards us. In many cases you can ride out the storm in your home, but other times it’s best to evacuate to a safer place. In either scenario, advance planning is extremely important to keep yourself and your family as safe as possible.

1. Evacuate Sanibel Island or Stay Put?

The decision about whether to evacuate Sanibel isn’t always straightforward. Sometimes an evacuation order is issued, which takes the choice out of your hands! Other times it’s left up to you and your family.

If you do choose to evacuate, make your plans as far in advance as you can. Book a hotel room – pet-friendly if necessary – in a safe location, or talk to family and friends about sheltering with them. While you’re traveling, always remember that safety is of paramount importance. Never drive around barriers, and make sure to follow any evacuation instructions that have been issued.

2. Prepare Your Property

Whether you stay or go, you should take these steps to secure your house during the hurricane.

• Trim the shrubbery and cut down any weak tree branches
• Bring in any lawn furniture or other loose items from outside
• Stock up on emergency supplies including food, batteries, a first aid kit, medications, and a battery-powered radio
• Install storm shutters if you don’t already have them, or cover the windows with plywood
• Seal any exterior wall openings such as electrical outlets and vents to prevent water from coming in
• Anchor your boat trailer to the ground or house

3. Get Your Re-Entry Pass

sanibel reentry pass

Photo courtesy of the Santiva Chronicle.

In order to get everyone back home safely, quickly, and efficiently, Sanibel Island requires residents to obtain a re-entry pass in order to access the island after a hurricane. Even if you aren’t planning to evacuate, there is a lot that can change last minute and you may need to leave in a hurry, so it is best to get your pass now. Applications for residential and commercial passes are available online or at the police department. This is extremely important, so don’t procrastinate!

4. Review Your Insurance Policy

Make sure you know exactly what is covered under your insurance policy before the storm hits. The damage to your home may be covered by either a standard homeowners’ insurance policy or by a supplemental wind or flood damage policy. Review the process for filing a claim, and find out what your deductible is as well. It’s always easier to learn these things in advance rather than try to figure it all out while in the middle of dealing with any damage to your property.

Additionally, it never hurts to document your belongings before you evacuate. Take photos of important documents, pieces of furniture, valuables, etc. before you leave. These will help you when filing claims after the storm.

Don’t Let Hurricanes Keep You Away From Sanibel!

Hurricanes may seem intimidating, but Sanibel Island has weathered many storms and come through just fine. If you want to know more about life here on beautiful Sanibel, just call John Gee Realty! We can be reached at (239) 850-0979 or through our website. We’ve lived on Sanibel since 1981 and love to help our clients find their dream homes here.