Columbus Fire & EMS

Community Risk Reduction (Fire Marshal's Office)

The division is responsible for identifying and prioritizing local risks to general public safety. The division utilizes this information to develop, implement, and evaluate the Community Risk Reduction Plan. This division works closely with local community stakeholders as well as other public service agencies to obtain a comprehensive evaluation of all community risks. The division is also responsible to the following program areas:

  • Fire Inspections
  • Public Education
  • Fire Investigations

Fire Inspections

The inspectors are responsible for the enforcement of state laws and local ordinances pertaining to fire prevention and fire safety by conducting inspections on new and existing buildings. Additionally, the division manages plan reviews for fire hydrant placement and apparatus access for new construction projects, fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems, and the acceptance testing of new fire protection systems.

Youth firesetter program

Program Overview

The Youth Firesetter program is designed to educated and evaluate children and adolescents under the age of 18 who have accidentally or purposely started fires. The intent of the program is to teach children the dangers associated with lighters and matches. Children are naturally curious but when a child exhibits an unusual degree of interest about fire, an intervention process can serve to suppress potential fire play.

Fires started by play accounted for an average of 49,300 fires with associated losses of 80 civilian deaths, 860 civilian injuries and $235 million in direct property damage per year between 2007 and 2011. These included:

  • 21,100 outside or unclassified fires
  • 16,300 outside trash or rubbish fires
  • 11,100 structure fires 
  • 800 vehicle fires

Public Education

The department is committed to educating the community about the importance of fire safety. Fire inspectors from the Community Risk Reduction Division and the members assigned to fire stations visit schools in order to constantly educate our young students. Fire Prevention Month is October. This is the time of the year that department makes a determined effort to raise fire safety awareness. Fire trucks can be requested (see How Do I tab) for the purpose of engaging the community and offering fire safety lessons. The department’s Fire Marshal is responsible for fulfilling the duties of the Public Information Officer (PIO). The PIO communicates to the public using media coverage and social media outlets to inform or warn the community about incidents occurring that involve the department. The PIO also uses media, radio, and social media to send messages to educate or remind the public to utilize fire safety practices.

School Fire Safety

Education facilities (K-12) are inspected annually by certified fire inspectors. Inspections are conducted to ensure fire safety standards are in place to protect our children. Throughout the year we strongly encourage educators to maintain a good a safe environment and foster fire safety awareness. All personnel should be familiar with the school’s evacuation plan and ensure that all exits, stairways, and alarm systems are clear at every time of the day. Fire prevention policies need to be reviewed and updated regularly and any changes should be communicated to all personnel. The Columbus Department of Fire and EMS is always willing to answer any questions and offer guidance to schools that need our assistance.

Fire Investigations

The division maintains a Georgia certified law enforcement agency. The fire investigators conduct fire investigations to determine origin and cause. The investigations section collects and analyzes evidence and can appear in court to provide testimony in cases of incendiary intent.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless, and poisonous gas that can accumulate in structures when carbons from fuels burn incompletely. Carbon monoxide is often referred to as the invisible killer because it is difficult to detect. Heating and cooking equipment in homes can be a source of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide alarms can save lives! Please follow the safety tips below:

  • Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed outside of every sleep area and on every level of the home.
  • Test CO alarms once a month
  • If the CO alarm sounds, leave your home or the building and call 911
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it
  • Choose an alarm that is listed by a qualified testing laboratory

Carbon Monoxide Symptoms

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain

If you experience these symptoms or suspect that your home or any occupied building has a carbon monoxide build-up, do not hesitate to leave the structure and call 911