From intelligence operatives to sex workers to healthcare professionals, many organizations require the use of codes to help keep order. In particular, hospitals all around the world use emergency room codes to quickly communicate any problems that need immediate attention without causing panic among patients and visitors.
For example, if you hear “Code Red, South,” it most likely means that a fire has broken out in the south wing of the hospital you’re in. Likewise, if you hear “Code Silver” over the PA, it means that someone in the hospital is armed with a weapon, and might even be holding someone hostage.
Interestingly, while a handful of codes are fairly universal, most of them can differ greatly from country to country, state to state, and even hospital to hospital. A Code Green in Florida could signify an impending storm, while that same code in California means that a patient has fled. Some hospitals have even implemented unique codes specific to their operational procedures, such as the Sunnybrook hospitals in Canada - they use the ominous-sounding Code Omega to signify catastrophic blood loss.
No matter where you are, knowing what emergency codes mean could be the difference between life and death.
Code Red: Fire
Code Blue: Cardiac Or Respiratory Arrest
Code Orange: Hazardous Spills
Code Silver: Weapon Or Hostage Situation
Code Black: Bomb Threat
Code Omega: Life-Threatening Blood Loss