Homeland Security & Emergency Management

Columbus Consolidated Government

Muscogee County, Georgia

Emergency Guidlines

Severe Thunderstorms

Severe Thunderstorm WATCH

If a Severe Thunderstorm WATCH is issued, that means conditions are favorable for the severe storms in the area.

  • Go indoors
  • Have a plan and know where you will seek shelter should a tornado warning or high winds follow.

Severe Thunderstorm WARNING

If a Severe Thunderstorm WARNING is issued, the National Weather Service has identified severe weather, likely with high winds and other hazards that are dangerous.

  • Go indoors
  • Be ready to seek shelter on the lowest floor/interior portions of the building.


Tornado WATCH

If a Tornado WATCH is issued, that means conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes.

  • Have a plan and know where you will seek shelter should a WARNING be issued.
  • If you are in a structure that you believe is not sufficient to serve as a place to seek shelter, consider moving to a safer place until the severe weather threat is no longer present.


If a Tornado WARNING is issued, that means a tornado has been seen on radar, by a first responder, or other storm spotter.

  • Seek shelter immediately!
  • Once indoors, if a shelter area is not designated, move to the lowest floor and interior portion of the building.
  • DO NOT go outdoors to look at or video the tornado.
  • Stay away from windows and doors to help prevent injury from glass and other flying objects.
  • If you believe damage to the building is imminent, cover you head with any heavy/bulky object to protect yourself.
  • VEHICLE: If you are in a vehicle and the wind is getting bad, seek shelter in a building, ditch, or other safe place. Automobiles and underpasses are very dangerous during high winds.
    You may receive a TORNADO WARNING by several different methods, including:
    • Outdoor Warning Sirens
    • NOAA weather radios
    • Cell phone apps
    • Text, voice, email, etc.


Lightning is the number one cause of death in severe weather incidents.

  • Go indoors or seek shelter.
  • Stay away from telephones, electrical appliances, and plumbing.
  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.
  • If outdoors, a vehicle can be used to shelter form lightning but may not be adequate during a severe thunderstorm warning or tornado warning.


Turn around, Don’t drown – Do not try to walk or drive through flood waters.

  • Even small amount of running water can knock you off of your feet or float a vehicle.
  • Report flooded areas to 311 or 911 if there is an injury or threat of injury.

  • If you see or are alerted to smoke or fire in the building: DIAL 911
  • Request that the 911 dispatcher send assistance from the fire department.
  • Evacuate the building.
  • Pull the fire alarm pull station as you exit.
  • If smoke is present, stay low.
  • Always use stairs to exit upper floors.
  • Do not re-enter until told it is safe to do so by first responders or a building manager.
  • Do not try to put the fire out unless it is small, and you know how to use a fire extinguisher.

  • Remain calm
  • Dial 911 and report the emergency
  • If the person is unconscious, look for an AED and place it next to the person. Follow the instructions on the AED to help save the life.
  • If you know how to perform CPR, consider performing CPR if there is no breathing and no pulse.
  • If there is someone else nearby, send them to flag down the first responders so they do not have to look for you.
  • Remain with the person until help arrives

Shelter in place

  • This means to stay where you are.
  • You may be asked to shelter in place due to severe weather, a lockdown, or the threat of a hazardous material outside.
  • If the threat is a hazardous material release, close all doors and windows. Turn off the HVAC (air conditioner/heater) if possible. Stay indoors until given the all-clear.
  • If ordered to evacuate by first responders, do so as quickly and as safely as possible.

Active Shooter


See something, say something

  • If you believe you see something that is a threat to yourself and/or others, DIAL 911 as soon as possible.
  • If you believe that you see activity that may be conducive to terrorism, DIAL 911 immediately and give the dispatcher as much information as possible.

Bomb Threat

If you receive a call from someone threatening to detonate a bomb or reporting that there is a bomb nearby, consider the following:

  • Try to keep the caller on the phone and ask him/her questions, such as:
    • Where is the device
    • When will it go off
    • What is your name
    • Why are you doing this
    • NOTE: A bomb threat checklist is available under the Training/Publications tab on the website home page.
  • Have someone nearby dial 911 to get law enforcement to respond to you.
  • Only evacuate if you are told to do so by first responders or you see a suspicious device.
  • If you evacuate, do not return inside until told to do so by first responders of the building manager.


Call 311 and report the issue. You can also call the utility provider.


Dial 911

  • Keep away from any dangers such as a gas leak or downed power line.
  • Do not attempt to correct the problem, let the experts handle that.
  • If you evacuated due to the leak, stay outside and do not go in until told to do so by first responders or the building manager.


510 10th Street
Columbus, GA 31901
706 - 225 - 4072