Accreditation Quick Tip: Emergency Preparedness

By Stacey Callender

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Women’s College Hospital (WCH) is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all staff, physicians, volunteers, patients, and visitors. Developing and implementing plans for preventing, mitigating, and responding to potential disasters and emergencies is also an important Accreditation Canada requirement.

As part of our comprehensive emergency preparedness plans, WCH has established a set of emergency response codes announced over the hospital’s intercom system, to alert WCH staff, physicians, and volunteers to various types of on-site emergencies. Twelve standardized emergency “colour codes” have been established by the Ontario Hospital Association and are listed on the back of your photo ID badge, along with two very important telephone extensions – ext. 5555 for emergency codes and ext. 6090 for Security. The first and most vital step of all emergency codes is to call for help by dialing extension 5555 from any phone on the hospital main campus at 76 Grenville St. or at 77 Grenville St.

BAdge with lits of codes

Knowing what do to during an emergency helps keep you as well as patients, visitors, volunteers, and your colleagues safe. Here are some things that you can do to be prepared:

  1. Complete your annual e-learning training for emergency preparedness.
  2. Participate in emergency code drills where possible.
  3. Review “code of the month” posters disseminated each month and review the policies on an annual basis.
  4. Participate in emergency code debriefs.
  5. Take part in additional training offered by your department and update your number on the fan-out list

In March, we are focusing on Code Purple – Hostage Taking. Managers are asked to review the poster with their teams and ensure everyone is aware of the steps they should follow should a hostage taking occur in their area. As a preview, in April we will review Code White – Violent/Behavioral Situation.

Members of the Emergency Preparedness Committee continue to perform Code Red – Fire tabletop drills monthly during the pandemic and have added regular Code White drills for higher risk areas. To request a Code White drill please contact B&M Security Manager Fayez Bilal at For all other emergency code drills contact Stacey Callender at

For more information, please access the Emergency Preparedness section on the intranet.