The MUHC has an emergency response code system. The codes are announced on the PA system and each one requires a different course of action. Here is an overview.
The most common codes you will hear are: blue, red, yellow, white.
Reminder: refer to your supervisor before taking immediate action.
Code Blue: This is an emergency alert which is initiated when someone is experiencing breathing difficulties and/or cardiac arrest requiring intervention. The purpose of this protocol is to rapidly engage a specialized team.
Code Red: This is called in the case of a fire or a suspected fire (smoke or odor). It can be called by smoke/heat detector, manual pull station or call to the emergency line (55555).
Code Yellow - Missing patient: To alert staff to search for a patient who is missing from the ward and may be at risk.
Code Yellow STAT - Abducted Patient: This is a response protocol that has been prepared to provide a general guideline as to the intervention and recovery process in the event of an abducted patient, as well as the roles and responsibilities of respondents involved in this type of emergency situation.
Code White - Agitated or Violent Patient (Unarmed): An emergency alert procedure initiated for a specially trained team to subdue a patient who is expressing extreme agitation and/or violent behavior when the situation escalates into verbal or physical aggression and therefore the safety of the patient in question, the safety of others and the safety of the environment is threatened.
Code White STAT - Armed Person : An emergency alert which is initiated in any situation where a person’s life is in danger, or is being threatened with a weapon or dangerous object. In this instance, Security personnel contact the police for immediate intervention. Not applicable for a firearm.
Code Orange : This is an intervention protocol to offset and better handle the impacts of internal or external disasters that can seriously disrupt user services which may in turn endanger their lives and health. Each department has a protocol which can be put in place when needed.
Code Green : Certain types of events, such as internal or external disasters can disrupt user services which may in turn endanger the occupant’s lives and health. Certain situations may require evacuation of dangerous sectors to more secure sectors. Code green is an intervention protocol to offset and better handle these effects in a situation that requires evacuation.
Code Pink : This code is to ensure immediate resuscitation assistance to an unconscious baby or adolescent. This code is generally used for persons less than 18 years old.
Code Black - Bomb Threat : The purpose of this protocol is to outline the processes, roles and responsibilities related to a bomb threat or suspicious package situation and to communicate a plan delivering a timely and coordinated intervention.
Code Brown - Dangerous Material Spill (Internal) : Accidental spills of hazardous materials can occur in the workplace. These need to be responded to immediately and appropriately to limit any negative outcomes such as adverse health effects to health care workers, patients and visitors. Hazardous materials in the MUHC are, for example, chemicals, cytotoxic or other hazardous drugs, gases, bio-hazardous substances, mercury and radioactive substances.
Code Grey - External Toxic Gas : A response to an external toxic event implying an external gas leak or external hazardous chemical/biological/radioisotope spill/leak released in the air, on land or over water following an incident, explosion or criminal act. It also serves to outline the responsibilities of the various respondents involved. In order to properly be prepared for an event of this type, all health services, departments and units are responsible for preparing departmental plans.
Information Systems : The purpose of this protocol is to describe the processes and responsibilities for responding to the failure of an information system or telecommunications system or network or any component thereof.
Power Failure : Certain types of events, such as an interruption of electrical power, can seriously hinder user services, which may in turn endanger their lives and health. Therefore the MUHC has created an intervention protocol to offset and better manage these effects. This code constitutes the activation of a protocol to be applied in the case of events linked to a power failure. It represents the alert, intervention and recovery process, as well as the main roles and responsibilities of the various respondents involved.
Elevator Failure : The protocol to be applied in the case of events linked to an elevator malfunction or failure. It represents the alert process, intervention and re-establishment of services, as well as the main responsibilities of the various respondents involved in an elevator failure code.
Drinking Water Shortage : Continuous supply of domestic and drinking water is essential to the proper functioning of a hospital facility. A protocol is in place to be applied in the case of events linked to a drinking water shortage. It represents the alert, intervention and recovery processes, as well as the main roles and responsibilities of the various respondents involved in ensuring the safety of users.
Heat Wave : An intervention protocol to offset and better handle the effects created by a heat wave.
Flood : A protocol that has been developed and is presented in order to provide general instructions concerning the intervention and recovery process in response to an emergency flood situation. Thorough plans detailing the functional intervention activities will need to be developed by all services potentially involved in responding to this type of situation.
Internal Gas Leak : The Internal gas leak protocol is a response to an event that may imply an internal gas leak inside one of the McGill University Health Centre’s (MUHC) buildings.
Heating System Failure : A breakdown affecting a health care facility’s heating system can seriously disrupt user services, which may in turn endanger the occupants’ lives and health. It is therefore necessary for the MUHC to create an intervention protocol to offset and better handle these effects.
Medical Gas Pipeline Failure : A medical gas pipeline failure can happen at any time in any location within the MUHC. This situation needs to be dealt with immediately to limit any untoward effects to patients. The purpose of this protocol is to communicate the intervention plan in case of a medical gas pipeline failure to allow a coordinated response to the emergency situation.
Major Event - Active shooter :The MUHC could, as any other organization could, be the object of an active shooter threat at any moment. This type of threat must be dealt with immediately and efficiently in order to mitigate its impact on the MUHC community. There is a protocol in place.
If you are face to face with the shooter:
- Look down and take a submissive attitude;
- Clear the path;
- Avoid speaking or intervening;
- Stay calm and avoid yelling;
- Alert respondents by dialing 55555 when possible.
Pneumatic Tube System Failure : Given the size of the Glen site, a pneumatic tube system failure could occur and hinder the efficiency of items needing transport. Intervention protocol is put in place to offset and better manage these effects.