GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- The Fire Department as of January 1, 2017, has implemented some additional changes to the issuing of hurricane and media passes.
Regular hurricane passes are to be controlled and issued by the Ministry of Justice (Police Force) and media passes are to be controlled and issued by the Department of Communication (DCOMM).
The Sint Maarten Fire Department as of January 1st, 2017 will only be issuing disaster team passes to those departments, entities and organizations that are part of the disaster management organization (Emergency Support Function groups and Non-Governmental Organizations) and fall directly under the responsibility of the Fire Department.
As of January 1st, 2017, the Fire Department has transferred the issuing of hurricane passes for critical businesses and essential services to the Police Force of Sint Maarten, and in the case of media passes, to DCOMM.
The aforementioned is to streamline the efficiency and effectiveness of the process which started in 2016 when passes were limited to critical businesses and essential services and no passes were distributed to business owners and hotel staff.
The pass allows the bearer to access the public road to visit the place of business to assess possible damage to the property.
The Hurricane Pass system is a mechanism to maintain public order during emergency situations.
The Fire Department after many discussions with other departments and stakeholders, feels that the new system will be more efficient and effective and would be in place prior to the 2017 hurricane season.