Emergency Codes

Emergency Codes at the Hospital

Who to notify: If you see an emergency at any SHN site, please inform the nearest staff member or doctor, or dial 5555 from any internal phone at our Birchmount, Centenary, or General hospitals to report the issue. 

At Scarborough Health Network (SHN), we have put several emergency codes in place to help everyone — from employees, medical staff, and volunteers, to patients, families and other visitors — to be aware of and prepared to react to emergencies that could happen at our hospitals.

Emergency codes notify all necessary people of an event occurring that requires immediate action. SHN uses colours that are standardized across Ontario to identify each code and clearly communicate their urgency and required response.

Code Yellow – Missing Patient (Adult)

SHN is responsible for the safety of all patients, family members, and visitors, and will activate a search procedure upon a person being declared missing. We will assess any risk to the missing patient/resident and develop a search plan accordingly. This plan may be applied to missing employees, medical staff, visitors, volunteers, and contractors.

How to respond

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Stay away from the affected area.
  3. If you are in the affected area, stay with your family or support system.
  4. Wait for instructions from staff.

Dial 5555 from any internal phone to initiate emergency codes, state your location and the type of emergency upon calling.

Code Amber – Missing Patient (Child/Infant)

SHN is responsible for the safety of all patients, family members, and visitors, and will activate a search procedure when an infant/child is declared missing and/or abducted by a non-authorized person.

How to respond

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Stay away from the affected area.
  3. If you are in the affected area, stay with your family or support system.
  4. Wait for instruction from staff.

Dial 5555 from any internal phone to initiate emergency codes, state your location and the type of emergency upon calling.

Code Orange – Mass Casualty/CBRNE Disaster

SHN hospitals remain committed to responding to mass casualties and CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosives) disasters by providing emergency care to those affected by the disaster. Code Orange seeks to:

  • Make SHN hospitals available to receive and treat a sudden number of multiple victims requiring emergency care.
  • Ensure triage and treatment areas are in place to maintain the safety of incoming patients and staff.
  • Alter hospital operations to accommodate a large number of incoming patients with increased staff and bed availability.
  • Activate an Emergency Operations Centre, as needed, to assist the organization with meeting increased demands by acting as a central location to receive important information (internal and external) and ensuring information is shared appropriately.
  • Establish a Family Information Support Centre, as needed, that can support the families of victims.

How to respond

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Stay away from the affected area.
  3. If you are in the affected area, stay with your family or support system.
  4. Wait for instruction from staff.

Dial 5555 from any internal phone to initiate emergency codes, state your location and the type of emergency upon calling.

Code Red – Fire

The Code Red procedure outlines a plan to lower the risk of harm in the case of a fire. Any employees, medical staff, and volunteers should react quickly in the event of a fire, first by removing anyone in danger (if it is possible and safe to do so), and using the nearest pull station to notify others.

How to respond if you discover a fire — REACT:

Remove individuals from immediate danger, if possible and call out “Code Red” and the location for assistance.

Ensure doors are closed to confine fire and smoke.

Activate the fire alarm using the nearest pull station.

Call Switchboard (dial 5555) to report the exact location and nature of the fire both and call 911.

Try to extinguish the fire or continue to evacuate if you are unable to put the fire out

Reminder: do not use elevators.

Code White – Violent Person

SHN seeks to ensure that all patients, employees, medical staff, and volunteers are in a safe and secure environment and are prepared to initiate a plan to manage any violent persons within the hospital that may pose a danger to themselves or others.

How to respond

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Stay away from the affected area.
  3. If you are in the affected area, stay with your family or support system.
  4. Wait for instruction from staff.

Dial 5555 from any internal phone to initiate emergency codes, state your location and the type of emergency upon calling.

Code Blue – Cardiac Arrest

Code Blue outlines procedures for treating an impending or actual cardiac arrest in patients 18 years or older.

Code Pink – Neonatal Cardiac Arrest

Code Pink outlines procedures for treating an impending or actual cardiac arrest in newborn infant patients.

Code Green – Evacuation

Code Green applies to an evacuation situation within the hospital. In a hospital evacuation situation, staff will determine the best course of action, whether that is moving all people to another unit within the hospital or outside the building. All employees, medical staff, and volunteers will assist and follow the Code Green evacuation procedure.

How to respond

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Stay away from affected area.
  3. If you are in affected area, stay with your family or support system.
  4. Wait for instruction from staff.

Dial 5555 from any internal phone to initiate emergency codes, state your location and the type of emergency upon calling.

Code Brown – Hazardous Spill

SHN is committed to protecting the patients, employees, medical staff, volunteers, and visitors who are present for a hazardous chemical/biological spill. Any employees using hazardous chemicals are to be trained to safely handle, store, and dispose of said chemicals in consultation with the Workplace Health and Safety department.

How to respond

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Stay away from the affected area.
  3. If you are in the affected area, stay with your family or support system.
  4. Wait for instruction from staff.

Dial 5555 from any internal phone to initiate emergency codes, state your location and the type of emergency upon calling.

Code Purple – Hostage Incident

Code Purple provides a response procedure for anyone involved in a potential or actual hostage situation. SHN will call the Toronto Police Service promptly, and all employees, medical staff, volunteers, patients, and visitors must cooperate.

How to respond

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Stay away from the affected area.
  3. If you are in the affected area, stay with your family or support system.
  4. Wait for instruction from staff.

Dial 5555 from any internal phone to initiate emergency codes, state your location and the type of emergency upon calling.

Code Silver – Active Attacker

Code Silver is initiated when there is an active attacker with a weapon within the hospital. In this emergency, all people within the hospital are to take shelter to ensure no one is in an area of danger. For individuals who find themselves in an area of danger and unable to evacuate, one must hide from the attacker, or be prepared to defend themselves from the person if they should encounter them. SHN will call Toronto Police Service promptly, and everyone within the hospital must cooperate.

How to respond

  1. Evacuate if safe to do so.
  2. Hide if you are unable to evacuate safely.
  3. Fight if you encounter the person with a weapon.

Dial 5555 from any internal phone to initiate emergency codes, state your location and the type of emergency upon calling.

Code Black – Bomb/Organizational Threat

SHN is committed to protecting the patients, employees, medical staff, volunteers, and visitors who are present for a hazardous chemical/biological spill. Any employees using hazardous chemicals are to be trained to safely handle, store, and dispose of said chemicals in consultation with the Workplace Health and Safety department.

How to respond

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Stay away from the affected area.
  3. If you are in the affected area, stay with your family or support system.
  4. Wait for instruction from staff.

Dial 5555 from any internal phone to initiate emergency codes, state your location and the type of emergency upon calling.

Code Grey – Critical Systems/Infrastructure Loss

Code Grey is initiated following the loss of a critical system (i.e. electricity, water, heating, medical gas, communications, ransomware, information technology etc.) or any intervention measures that may pose a health and safety risk to those in the hospital.

How to respond

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Stay away from the affected area.
  3. If you are in the affected area, stay with your family or support system.
  4. Wait for instruction from staff.

Dial 5555 from any internal phone to initiate emergency codes, state your location and the type of emergency upon calling.