Monroe County Florida Residents can receive an early Re-Entry placard to return back into the Florida Keys earlier than non-trained residents, should an evacuation be necessary. MERC has been tasked to use the federal program that is commonly known as CERT training to provide residents with a large overview and some very specific information for them to be able to return to an area that has been affected by an incident/disaster and maintain safety, health and wellness for their families and themselves. The early Re-Entry Placard program is a volunteer program. The resident has made the decision that they would like to have an early re-entry.
Residents are not required to have the early Re-Entry Placard to return to their homes after an incident (after the community is re-opened) - without the placard you just return at later date/time, the same as it has always been. The early Re-Entry Placard is for those residents that wish to have early re-entry prior to the community infrastructure and assets being restored. Individuals who wish to participate in this volunteer program will, upon completion of all required courses, receive the Monroe County early Re-Entry placard to grant early access to return to your Key after the ordered evacuation. All Monroe County Florida residents should have the color coded Re-Entry vehicle windshield sticker regardless whether you have or plan to have an early Re-Entry Placard.
Early Re-Entry Placard holders are NOT required to help their community, volunteer to/with the county, nor to be a MERC-CERT member in anyway. The only responsibility when participating in early re-entry Placard program is that they return with the needed supplies to fend for themselves, their family and anyone else who returns with them and to maintain safety, health and wellness for their families and themselves as learned through their trainings - to be Self-Sustained and Self-Contained.
Only when Monroe County Emergency Management and County Administrator so deems to allow early re-entry will early Re-Entry Placards be used. The county has made no guarantees to when and if they will make that call and will be evaluated after each disaster/incident. The Re-Entry timeline is based upon the location and extent of damage.
Early Re-Entry Placards are issued effective June 1st and expire May 31st and coincide with our Atlantic hurricane season. Existing placard holders will require additional training to renew. The renewal process will be no earlier than April 1st and no later than May 20th each year.
It is recognized that there are Placard holders who wish to not only return early, they also wish volunteer their time and service to help their community recover after such incident/disaster ie…. “practice the spirit of the CERT program” which is where the Monroe Emergency Reserve Corps, Inc becomes the responsible organization. This allows for an organized manner for Monroe County Emergency Management to communicate and maintain consistency, team management and needed advance training and which follows the structured ICS. All CERT teams must have a governmental sponsor and are not recognized without that sponsor. the MCEM has Partnered with the MERC Organization and sponsors the MERC – CERT Teams. If you would like to join MERC please complete the membership application and bring with you to the MERC board meeting or any regional meeting
Renewal is a 2-step process
For those current early Re-Entry Placard holders who are absent, they will be allowed to renew their placard upon their schedule availability by participating in the next available CERT classroom training (based upon availability) that encompasses additional renewal training unit(s) beginning in June.
They would NOT be required to take the full CERT course again.
For those who do not currently hold an early re-entry placard and would like to obtain one: There are 3 Phases to complete and obtain your early re-entry placard. Upon completion of all courses, you will receive the Monroe County re-entry placard to grant early access to return to your Key after the ordered evacuation.
• Phase 1 is an online course
• Phase 2 is a 16 hour (2 day) in classroom course.
• Phase 3 consists of a 4 hour on site hands-on training course in fire safety & basic 1st aid.
Evacuation of Monroe County is not a simple call.
Evacuations are ordered only when officials believe that lives are in danger.
Re-entry after evacuations also is not simple and must be done in an orderly, staged manner when it is safe and there are enough services for people to return.
The timeline is based upon the location and extent of damage, and how quickly conditions can be made safe.