Ship alerts on Colonial warships are known as action stations and are given to prepare the crews for battle. The alerts are typically by voice as well as by a klaxon in the following format:
- "Action stations, action stations. Set condition one throughout the ship. This is not a drill."
The three states of readiness are:
- Condition One: Attack is present, or imminent. This alert places the ship at its highest state of readiness. All crews go to their combat posts. Bulkhead doors are closed in case of decompression. Additional Viper pilots are scrambled to supplement the Combat Air Patrol and the Alert Fighters, and flight support crews man their stations. The CIC is locked down and the ship's commander is on station.
- Condition Two: Threat probable, but not present. Crew readiness is somewhat more relaxed than full readiness. This is usually ordered directly after the end of a Condition One alert.
- Condition Three: This is the "all clear" alert, returning crews to their normal, day-to-day non-combat duties after Conditions One or Two. This is normal cruising during wartime. Weapons are partially manned, but the ship is at less than full readiness.
- The three known conditions seem to follow the same condition template that the US Navy (USN) does for Conditions One to Three. Ron D. Moore has been known to base much of the terminology in the Colonial Fleet on real-world terminology from the USN. If the Action Station system is the same in both, "Condition Four" would be normal peacetime cruising and "Condition Five" would be normal peacetime condition while in port.
- The term "action stations", a term from the Royal Navy, is equivalent to "general quarters" in the USN. Both replace the outdated "battle stations".
- In various scenes (specifically during "Exodus, Part II"), text referring to each of the known conditions can be observed on the tactical station's displays in the CIC.
- The term "condition escalation" is used in the various comic books based on the series to signify a possible change in alert status, particularly when entering a situation that may be hostile ("Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus", "Battlestar Galactica: Season Zero 0").