by SC Associate Publisher/Photographer Chuck Larsen
In an emergency the number is simple, 911. But, where does that call get answered, and who will help with your emergency? That’s more complicated.
If you call from a land line on Sanibel or Captiva, the call is answered by the Sanibel Police Department. They then respond or redirect the call. If you call from a cell phone on Sanibel or Captiva, it also goes to the Sanibel Police Department, with one exception. On the far eastern end of the island, sometimes cell phones connect with the cell tower on Fort Myers Beach. That is then answered by the Lee County Sheriff’s Department who will then redirect the call.
If you’re approaching on Summerlin Road, Lee County Sheriff deputies are responsible. On the causeway, Lee Country Sheriff is again in charge. Once on Sanibel Island, the Sanibel Police Department has jurisdiction. As you cross over blind pass onto Captiva, again the Lee County Sheriff’s department will respond. The Florida Highway Patrol covers the entire state and can assist local departments when needed.
Approaching on Summerlin Road, Iona McGregor Fire Department will cover any emergencies. Once on the causeway, Sanibel Fire Department will be called. On Sanibel again, the Sanibel Fire Department will respond. On Captiva, the Captiva Fire Department will be in charge.
The responding firemen are paramedics trained in Advanced Life Support (ALS). If circumstances require transportation to a hospital, then Lee County Emergency Service ambulances and paramedics take over. Paramedics ambulances are at 36 stations throughout the county, including on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. It gets confusing over jurisdictions, but we do have good coverage and great cooperation between the various entities protecting us.