SC Staff Report | SC photo by Alison Waldbart
Captiva Island Fire Chief Jeff Pawul addressed a growing safety concern over coded gates at island homes during the Captiva Community Panel meeting in August. It can cost valuable response time for emergency personnel to access these properties due to ever-changing gate codes.
“In the past, it was easier for us to maintain a database of gate codes,” said Pawul. “However, the growing number of properties with ever-changing gate codes for renters and others has made it difficult. We may not be able to reach an owner or property manager immediately by phone for the right code, either.”
He recommended property owners consider installing an Emergency Vehicle Access Control or an EVAC system. It allows access to emergency personnel with the push of a button on a remote kept in their vehicles.
“This system gives us immediate access to your property in case of an emergency,” said Pawul.
Homeowners can keep their current gate code system and install an EVAC as a secondary system. It’s designed specifically for and only available to emergency service providers. An EVAC system can be installed out of sight at a cost of about $150 and takes about 20 minutes. In addition to the Captiva Fire Department, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office that serves the island carries an EVAC remote.
Anyone who would like to see or learn more about the EVAC system can stop by the fire department, 14981 Captiva Dr., or call 239-472-9494.