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Announcing Emergency Code Changes

Announcing Emergency Code Changes

Improving the quality and safety of care continues to be a key strategic direction for PHC. To help achieve this strategic direction, Providence Health Care (PHC), is partnering with the Ministry of Health Services and all health organizations across British Columbia, to move toward increased consistency in emergency preparedness planning policies and procedures.

Effective April 1, 2012, all health care facilities in BC are required to be compliant with a new standardized set of emergency colour codes. All PHC sites are expected to use the new code responses starting April 1st.

What has changed to the emergency colour code responses?

Code Grey - The most notable change at PHC will be the elimination of Code Silver. Code Grey has been expanded to include not only air exclusion but also all system failures. This does not change the way we respond to a system failure – only what we call it.

Code Pink now refers to an obstetrical emergency, rather than a pediatric emergency.  Should a medical emergency occur in the future that involves a child under the age of 12 years old, it will simply be called a “Code Blue Pediatric”.

Code Red will continue to be used for fire but the acronym we use to respond is changing from R.E.A.C.T. to R.A.C.E. The response is the same.

  • Remove anyone from immediate danger.
  • Activate alarm pull station. Dial 888.
  • Close doors and windows. Clear corridors and escape routes.
  • Evacuate or extinguish if safe to do so.

Code Orange is expanding to include any disaster, rather than strictly for a mass casualty event. For example, Code Orange may now be used to announce something like a flood or other significant incident that may require additional resources.

Code Lockdown has been deleted. It has been replaced by an operational function called controlled access. Security would initiate a controlled access procedure upon direction from the leader on call/clinical coordinator or emergency operations center incident commander.

What needs to be done: Remove, Replace, Educate

All PHC staff must be compliant with the new code colours by the close of day (11:59pm) on March 31st, 2012. All PHC sites are expected to use the updated code responses starting April 1st 2012.

By end of day March 31, 2012 leaders of patient care areas at PHC need to:

  • Remove and discard all existing emergency colour code posters and wallet cards (ID tags) from work areas by March 31st. The emergency colour code chart printed on the back of your staff ID can be crossed out with a permanent marker.
  • Replace old materials with new, up to date emergency colour code posters and wallet cards (ID tags). Team leaders can pick up the new emergency code materials by contacting EPP.
  • Educate: All leaders of patient care areas at PHC are expected to connect with point of care staff on their teams to ensure staff know when to call, how to recognize, and how to respond appropriately to the new code colours.
PHC Emergency Preparedness Planning (EPP) is available as a support and resource for you during this transition!

 

Questions?

For more information, including electronic previews of the new emergency colour code materials, visit the EPP section on PHC Connect (click the yellow EPP triangle on the PHC Connect homepage to access).

PHC Emergency Preparedness Planning (EPP) is available as a support and resource for you during this transition. To pick up your updated posters and ID tags, or for more information, contact us: epclerk@providencehealth.bc.ca or 604-682-2344, ext. 66196

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