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Facility and security emergency codes change to “plain language”

On May 1, Yale New Haven Health hospitals converted facility and security emergency announcements from color codes to plain language. The change provides clear and consistent messages during emergency events throughout the health system.

The plain-language changes do not apply to each hospital’s medical codes. These codes remain the same, but they’re now announced as medical codes, i.e., “Medical alert: Code blue, South Pavilion, 7-1.” 

The security and facility code plain-language changes are based on national best practice and a Connecticut Hospital Association recommendation. Plain-language codes have been shown to reduce confusion and provide more accurate information that staff, patients and visitors can act on.

Examples of facility and security code changes include:

Previous fire alarm activation: Code red 
New code example: “Facility alert: Fire alarm activation, Verdi 3 South.”

Previous security alert, missing child: Code amber
New code: “Security alert: Missing child, wearing black t-shirt and blue jeans. Last seen, West Pavilion 7th floor.” 

Previous disaster alert: Code D
New code: “Facility alert: Yale New Haven Hospital’s Emergency Operations Plan has been activated due to flooding.”

Other plain-language facility emergency codes cover decontamination, evacuation/relocation, hazardous material release, mass casualty, utility/technology interruption and weather. Security plain-language codes cover active shooter/assailant, bomb threat, combative patient and suspicious package.

Check your department for flyers listing the new codes. Flyers can also be downloaded from the YNHHS Marketing and Communications intranet site.