Emergency Color Codes Information App Health Care Hospital

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Hospital Emergency Color Code Label ID badge

Successful Emergency Response Plans rely on staff being properly trained and having ALL the information needed to respond to emergency events.

It doesnt get any easier than them having the information at their finger tips that they can access quickly when needed.

Hospital emergency codes are coded messages often announced over a public address system of a hospital to alert staff to various classes of on-site emergencies. The use of codes is intended to convey essential information quickly and with minimal misunderstanding to staff while preventing stress and panic among visitors to the hospital. Such codes are sometimes posted on placards throughout the hospital or are printed on employee identification badges for ready reference.

Quick Information

Quick information at your finger tips. Not sure what a code means? Quickly get the information and instructions on what steps you should be taking.

Easy to Read Information

Each section expands and closes when clicked so you can easily see only the information you need at the time.

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Once the PWA app is installed all the information is accessible offline without internet or data charges

Easy Visual Selections

Color coded to match for quick easy no thinking selections

Customized Messaging

Customized with the information required for your emergency response plan

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Hospital emergency codes have varied widely by location, even between hospitals in the same community. Confusion over these codes has led to the proposal for and sometimes adoption of standardized codes. In many American, Canadian, New Zealand and Australian hospitals, for example “code blue” indicates a patient has entered cardiac arrest, while “code red” indicates that a fire has broken out somewhere in the hospital facility.

In order for a code call to be useful in activating the response of specific hospital personnel to a given situation, it is usually accompanied by a specific location description (e.g., “Code red, second floor, corridor three, room two-twelve”). Other codes, however, only signal hospital staff generally to prepare for the consequences of some external event such as a natural disaster.

Ontario Emergency Color Codes

In Ontario, a standard emergency response code set by the Ontario Hospital Association is used, with minor variations for some hospitals.

Code amber (code yellow): missing child/child abduction
Code aqua: flood
Code black: bomb threat/suspicious object
Code blue: cardiac arrest/medical emergency – adult
Code brown: in-facility hazardous spill
Code green: evacuation (precautionary)
Code green stat: evacuation (crisis)
Code grey: infrastructure loss or failure
Code grey button-down: external air exclusion
Code orange: disaster
Code orange CBRN: CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) disaster
Code pink: cardiac arrest/medical emergency – infant/child
Code purple: hostage taking/gang activity
Code red: fire
Code silver: gun threat/shooter
Code white: violent/behavioural situation
Code yellow: missing person

British Columbia Emergency Color Codes

Codes used in British Columbia, prescribed by the British Columbia Ministry of Health.[2]

Code amber: missing or abducted infant or child
Code black: bomb threat
Code blue: cardiac and/or respiratory arrest
Code brown: hazardous spill
Code green: evacuation
Code grey: system failure
Code orange: disaster or mass casualties
Code pink: pediatric emergency and/or obstetrical emergency
Code red: fire
Code white: aggression
Code yellow: missing patient

Alberta Emergency Color Codes

Codes in Alberta are prescribed by Alberta Health Services.[3]

Code black: bomb threat/suspicious package
Code blue: cardiac arrest/medical emergency
Code brown: chemical spill/hazardous material
Code green: evacuation
Code grey: shelter in place/air exclusion
Code orange: mass casualty incident
Code purple: hostage situation
Code red: fire
Code white: violence/aggression
Code yellow: missing patient
Code 66: rapid response

Quebec Emergency Color Codes

Code blue: adult cardiac or respiratory arrest, loss of consciousness
Code pink: pediatric cardiac or respiratory arrest, loss of consciousness
Code purple: infant/neonatal cardiac or respiratory arrest
Code yellow: missing or lost patient
Code white: violent patient
Code brown: in-facility hazardous spill
Code orange: external disaster
Code green: evacuation
Code red: fire
Code black: bomb threat/suspicious object

Nova Scotia Emergency Color Codes

Code blue: cardiac arrest/medical emergency – adult
Code red: fire
Code green: evacuation (precautionary)
Code green stat: evacuation (crisis)
Code orange: external disaster
Code yellow: missing person
Code white: violent person
Code black: bomb threat
Code brown: hazardous substance
Code grey: external air exclusion
Code pink: pediatric emergency and/or obstetrical emergency

United States Emergency Color Codes

United States
In 2000, the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC) determined that a uniform code system was needed after three people were killed in a shooting incident at a hospital after the wrong emergency code was called. While codes for fire (red) and medical emergency (blue) were similar in 90% of California hospitals queried, 47 different codes were used for infant abduction and 61 for combative person. In light of this, the HASC published a handbook titled “Healthcare Facility Emergency Codes: A Guide for Code Standardization” listing various codes and has strongly urged hospitals to voluntarily implement the revised codes.

In 2003, Maryland mandated that all acute hospitals in the state have uniform codes.

In 2008, the Oregon Association of Hospitals & Health Systems, Oregon Patient Safety Commission, and Washington State Hospital Association formed a taskforce to standardize emergency code calls. After both states had conducted a survey of all hospital members, the taskforce found many hospitals used the same code for fire (code red); however, there were tremendous variations for codes representing respiratory and cardiac arrest, infant and child abduction, and combative persons. After deliberations and decisions, the taskforce suggested the following as the Hospital Emergency Code:

In 2015, the South Carolina Hospital Association formed a work group to develop plain language standardization code recommendations. Abolishing all color codes was suggested.

Amber alert/Code Adam: infant/child abduction
Code blue: heart or respiration stops (an adult or child’s heart has stopped or they are not breathing)
Code brown: used to indicate severe weather
Code clear: announced when emergency is over
Code grey: combative person (combative or abusive behavior by patients, families, visitors, staff or physicians); if a weapon is involved code silver should be called
Code orange: hazardous spills (a hazardous material spill or release; unsafe exposure to spill)
Code pink: infant abduction, pediatric emergency and/or obstetrical emergency
Code red: fire (also someone smoking in facility) (alternative: massive postpartum hemorrhage)
Code silver: weapon or hostage situation
Code white: neonatal emergency or, in other hospitals, aggressive person[citation needed]
External triage: external disaster (external emergencies impacting hospital including: mass casualties; severe weather; massive power outages; and nuclear, biological, and chemical incidents)
Internal triage: internal emergency (internal emergency in multiple departments including: bomb or bomb threat; computer network down; major plumbing problems; and power or telephone outage.)
Rapid response team: medical team needed at bedside (a patient’s medical condition is declining and needs an emergency medical team at the bedside) prior to heart or respiration stopping

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