PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — If you live or own a business on one of Pinellas County’s barrier islands, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging you to sign up for an emergency access permit.

With hurricane season just around the corner, the barrier island re-entry program will allow residents to re-enter an evacuated program.

The sheriff’s office said the program was established in an effort to prevent looting and burglary after a large-scale mandatory evacuation and to keep trespassers from easy access to properties.

Residents in the following areas are encouraged to sign up for a permit:

  • Belleair Beach
  • Belleair Shore
  • Clearwater Beach
  • Indian Rocks Beach
  • Indian Shores
  • Madeira Beach
  • North Redington Beach
  • Redington Beach
  • Redington Shores
  • St. Pete Beach
  • Tierra Verde
  • Treasure Island

“Pinellas County is at high risk from hurricanes due to its miles of beaches and barrier islands, low elevation, and dense population. Preparing now can save your loved ones and yourself,” the sheriff’s office said.

The permit is free and available on the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office’s website.