Hospital Emergency Codes are used in hospitals worldwide to alert staff to various emergency situations. The use of codes is intended to convey essential information quickly and with a minimum of misunderstanding to staff, while preventing stress or panic among visitors to the hospital. These codes may be posted on placards throughout the hospital, or printed on employee/staff identification badges for ready reference. The back of a hospital ID badge shows disaster codes. Hospital emergency codes are frequently coded by color, and the color codes denote different events at different hospitals and are not universal.
- In US Military hospitals and some civilian hospitals, Code Black indicates mass casualty or other public health threat. In this case, all doctors are ordered to return to the hospitals.
- Generally is used to indicate a patient requiring immediate resuscitation, most often as the result of a cardiac arrest. May also be used as a radio call to indicate that a patient en route to the hospital requires resuscitation. "Code Blue - Adult" or " - Pediatric" are sometimes used to provide additional information about the patient.
- Normally, indicates an infant or child abduction.
- All Clear - resume normal duties.
- A fire disaster is occurring or underway.