COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Chattahoochee River brings thousands of visitors to Columbus, especially during the summer months. What visitors don’t anticipate is the powerful current that comes with it.
The strong currents of the Chattahoochee River claims lives every year. Both Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama work together to implement safety guidelines for visitors and residents.
The city of Columbus has had a River Safety Committee since 2017, in the most recent city council meeting the committee addressed the council.
“Most of it’s God made, right? So we’re just very fortunate to be living where we live, and because it’s so close, we lose sight of the fact that it is nature, and we’ll never make that river safe. But because of folks like these, they’re making it safer, a little bit safer with everything they do.”Skip Henderson – Columbus Mayor
Following multiple safety rescues this month, the committee is working to implement more signage. Their next step is adding signs in Spanish and adding signage to the Alabama side. The goal is to make people educated of the power behind the currents.
The River Safety Committee Chair, Pam Fair, says at the end of the day it comes down to personal responsibility.
“What do we need to do as far as trying to make an educational message that will help people when they approach our river? We do also believe that it’s personal responsibility as well. I mean, it’s really important that if you’re going to approach the river, you don’t just open up your car door and end up at the river’s edge. You have to make your way to the river’s edge. So we want people to be empowered with the information and knowledge, but also to have personal responsibility.”Pam Fair – Columbus River Safety Committee Chair
In addition to the current three signs, the newest sign coming to the Chattahoochee is a warning about the water level changes from the dam. The outdoor sirens play on both sides of the river to warn folks.
It reads: Siren. Exit water for your safety.