Workplace preparedness: Important emergency code words that could save your life
03/01/2020 / By Darnel Fernandez / Comments
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Workplace preparedness: Important emergency code words that could save your life

When most people think about general safety and preparedness, they would assume that SHTF happens in their homes surrounded by all their preps. What they fail to realize, however, is that disaster can happen at any time and at any place — even if you’re at work. On average, people spend around 50 hours a week working away from their homes. Even in the office, you need to be prepared to deal with problems ranging from small emergencies to societal collapse. One way to help you survive through these situations is by understanding the emergency codes used when an emergency situation arises. (H/t to

Emergency codes that could save your life

Emergency codes are a large part of many professions and can differ depending on the occupation. For instance, health care facilities make use of color-coded indicators to alert all the members of their staff of potential issues inside their facility. Each color determines how staff members should respond to certain situations ranging from an active shooter on the loose, to a random cardiac arrest. While these codes are meant for the employees of the facility, knowing them yourself can help you get yourself out of a sticky situation before things get way out of hand. (Related: Your survival guide when SHTF while you’re at work.)

Pilot codes

Most people are already aware of the code “Mayday” which is used internationally as a distress signal during a life-threatening emergency. This particular code is called out three times in a row to prevent misunderstandings from air traffic control (ATC). In some cases, aviators would use the code “declaring emergency” for obvious reasons.

However, there are other codes pilots say that you might not actually know about. For example, if you hear a pilot say the code “7500”, it means your plane has been hijacked or is under the threat of a possible hijacking. It acts as a simple and easy way to alert the ATC without causing panic within the aircraft and informing the hijackers. Other codes include “7600,” referring to lost communications or a radio failure, and “7700,” which is used as a general emergency signal.

Medical facility codes

As previously mentioned, these codes are used to alert all current staff about on-site emergencies. They use simple color codes to convey information quickly without causing major panic among patients in the hospital.

If a child goes missing within the premises of the hospital, the staff members will use “Code Purple” or “Code Pink” to alert the other members to keep an eye out. If someone is in need of assistance or someone accidentally spilled something hazardous, the hospital will immediately call for a “Code Orange.” On the other hand, “Code Silver” and “Code Black” refer to an active shooter and a bomb threat respectively. If you hear these codes, it’s best to observe the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe and wait for a “Code White,” or a hospital evacuation.

However, keep in mind that color designations may differ from hospital to hospital. The codes above apply to Joint Commission-certified health facilities as they tend to maintain industry-wide designations and similarities with their emergency callouts.

Police codes

The United States Police Department often uses a variety of secret codes to pass on messages without informing the general public. This is to prevent civilians from interfering with their investigations. If you come across a police officer who blurts out “10-10” on the radio, it means there is a fight in progress somewhere nearby. The code “10-31” alerts all nearby policemen that there is a crime in progress, but if it’s followed by the code “10-32,” it means someone armed with a gun is involved.

When things get really out of hand, you might hear a few officers yell out the code “10-34,” to signal that a riot is going on. The code “10-35” is used to notify people of a major crime. Finally, the codes “10-89” and “10-98” are definitely codes you don’t want to hear from an officer because the former refers to a potential bomb threat while the latter announces a prison escapee.

Store codes

If you’re out shopping in a random store and the staff suddenly announces a time check, it might be in your best interest to vacate the premises as soon as possible. Employees use the code “time check” to announce a bomb threat to that particular store. Once announced, staff members should immediately scour the area to locate the bomb before things get too hairy.

Understanding what these codes mean can provide insight into what’s happening around you, allowing you to respond appropriately for your own safety. For more tips and tricks on workplace survival, you can visit

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