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Patient and family resources
Patient and family resources

Emergency codes

What are emergency codes?

An emergency code is a notification of an event that requires immediate action. Different codes are designated by different colours. The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) uses the colour codes set by the Ontario Hospital Association to represent specific emergencies. The use of standardized and uniform codes facilitates the translation of essential information to the responding code teams to ensure optimal response.

SickKids aims to provide a safe and secure environment for all patients, visitors, staff and volunteers. It is possible that while you are visiting SickKids you will hear a code called over the public address system.

Code Red

The purpose of the Code Red policy and procedures is to define the process for all to respond appropriately in case of a fire, a fire alarm or smell of smoke.

Here at SickKids, staff will use the REACT model:

Remove endangered persons
Ensure all windows & doors are closed
A
ctivate the fire alarm
Call 5555
Try to fight the fire

In the event of a Code Red, the fire alarm will sound overhead and announcements will be made. If you are in the affected area, remain calm and follow the instructions given to you by staff or any other first responders.

If you discover a fire, please dial 5555 on the nearest internal phone to report your location and the emergency.

Code Blue

Code Blue is the emergency colour code designation and term used to alert staff of a medical emergency. A Code Blue triggers a response from the hospital-wide Code Blue Team.

In the case of a Code Blue, suspected Code Blue or medical emergency, please notify the closest staff member, remain calm and wait for instruction.

Code Brown

Code Brown is the emergency colour code designation and term used in the event of a hazardous spill or leak, which could include but is not limited to a chemical spill or gas leak.

In the event of a Code Brown, remember to:

  • Remain calm
  • Remove yourself from the affected area/Do not enter the affected area
  • Listen to the instruction of staff

Code Green

Code Green refers to an evacuation. In the event of an emergency where the hospital or a portion of the hospital is/or may become unsafe, SickKids may be required to facilitate an expedient and safe evacuation.

During a Code Green, the fire alarm evacuation signal will be activated (120 beats per minute overhead). It will sound for five minutes, with overhead announcements being made to provide you with more detailed instructions.

In the event of a Code Green, remember to:

  • Remain calm
  • If in immediate danger remove yourself from the affected area
  • Do not enter the affected area
  • If within the affected area, stay with your family
  • Follow the directions and guidance of staff

Code Yellow

Code Yellow refers to a missing patient. When a patient is missing, a systematic search process will be initiated to locate the person. Staff are trained to respond to a Code Yellow search but will involve the police as appropriate.

Code Orange

The purpose of the Code Orange policy and procedures is to coordinate a safe and effective response to an external disaster for example a plane or bus crash or natural disaster.

In the case of a Code Orange, remember to:

  • Remain calm
  • Follow guidance from staff and responding emergency officials
  • Emergency patients will be triaged and may be redirected to other areas of the hospital, another facility or home

Code Black

The purpose of the Code Black policy and procedures is to coordinate a safe and effective response to a bomb threat.

In the event of a Code Black, remember to:

  • Remain calm
  • Do not touch any suspicious objects
  • Report any suspicious objects or activity to staff
  • Listen to the instruction of staff
  • Discontinue any unnecessary cell phone or radio use until told that it is safe to do so

Code Purple

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) aims to provide a safe and secure environment for all patients, visitors, staff and volunteers. In the event of an actual or potential armed individual on-site, staff and emergency responders will respond to mitigate the risk of harm.

There will be an overhead announcement notifying the affected area. If you are in the affected area, please hide in place and take direction from staff.

If you are near the affected area:

  • Remain calm
  • Listen to the directions of staff
  • Put cell phones on silent
  • Remain out of public view until Code Purple All Clear announcement is called
  • Do not attempt to remove any injured person from area
  • Do not respond or open doors
  • Even if police can be seen or heard, remain in place until the announcement has been made. Follow the directions of overhead announcements and police.

When police arrive:

  • Put down any items and immediately raise hands and spread fingers
  • Keep hands visible at all times and avoid quick movements towards officers

Code Grey

Code Grey is the Emergency Colour Code designation used to alert staff of a system or infrastructure failure. Code Grey response will be dependent on the nature, location and suspected duration of the problem. Infrastructure failure could include but is not limited to: water, steam, power or network failures.

In the event of a Code Grey, remember:

  • Remain calm
  • Do not enter the affected area
  • Listen to the instruction of staff

How are emergency codes called?

In the case of an emergency, dial 5555 from any internal hospital phone. State your location and describe the emergency.

If you have any questions about any of the information listed above, or have any additional questions, please feel free to ask any staff member.