If you have recently purchased a home for sale in the Florida Keys, or even if you are a more long-term resident you may be unaware of important hurricane protocols in the Keys. No matter what, if you are living in the Keys for any length of time you will be impacted in some way by hurricane season.
An element of the season that is unique to Monroe County is the need for re-entry stickers. In the event of an evacuation due to a major hurricane, your vehicle will need to have a color-coded re-entry sticker in order for you to return home to Monroe County once the storm has passed. Following a storm, emergency officials will inspect the islands for damage and safety. Only once your area is deemed safe and with enough services operational will you be permitted to return home. Depending on how severe the damage, where it is located, and whether your area is unobstructed some areas may be cleared well before others. Locations cleared for re-entry will be announced based on the color of your re-entry sticker, which is based on where you own property in the Keys, with four zones as follows:
Zone 1: Lower Keys. This includes residents living from Mile Marker 4 - Mile Marker 40. This sticker is dark pink.
Zone 2: Middle Keys. This includes those living from Mile Marker 47 - Mile Marker 64. This sticker is aqua.
Zone 3: Upper Keys. This zone includes residents living from Mile Marker 64 - Mile Marker 113. This sticker is purple.
Zone 4: Key West. All residents of Key West will be issued a white decal.
It is important to get your decals before a storm is on the way! In fact, once a state of emergency is declared for Monroe County they will not be available, so please stop by one of the locations now to pick up your sticker. They are available at Monroe County Tax Collector’s Offices Monday-Friday from 8:00 am through 4:45 pm. Residents of Key West can pick them up at Key West City Hall or the Key West Police Department Monday-Friday 8:00 am though 5:00 pm. Additionally, residents of Ocean Reef homes can grab their decal from the Ocean Reef Public Safety Office.
Having your re-entry stickers well ahead of a storm approaching will ensure that you are able to both evacuate and return home to the Keys safely and efficiently in the event of a major hurricane.