Aug 5, 2009

Secret Codes and what they Mean

here shows some weird Secret Codes that we seldom encounter. thanks to UPHAA for uncovering the codes to give us understanding of what are these codes for.

  • Code Oscar: On a ship, a code oscar means someone has gone overboard. If the ship has to maneuver erratically to handle the situation, it must also send out blasts on the signal so that other ships nearby are aware of the fact that it is about to change its course. It should be noted that ships don’t have an internationally standardized set of PA signals and they can differ from place to place, but this is a fairly commonly used one.
  • Code delta: can mean that there is a biological hazard - though who knows what that might be on a passenger ship.
  • Code Alpha: often means “medical emergency”.
  • Code Adam: was invented by Walmart but it is now an internationally recognized alert. It means “missing child”. The code was first coined in 1994 in memory of Adam Walsh, a six-year old, who went missing in a Florida in 1981. Adam was later found murdered. The person making the announcement will state “we have a code Adam,” followed by a description of the missing child. As soon as the alert is heard, security staff will begin to monitor the doors and other exits. If the child is not found within 10 minutes, the police are alerted and a store search begins. Also, if the child is found in the first 10 minutes in the company of an unknown adult, the police must be called and the person detained if it is safe to do so.

  • PEBKAC: Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair
  • PICNIC: Problem in chair - not in computer
  • ID 10 T Error: ID 10 T is, of course, IDIOT


"Doctor" codes are often used in hospital settings for announcements over a general loudspeaker or paging system that might cause panic or endanger a patient's privacy. Most often, "Doctor" codes take the form of "Paging Dr. _____", where the doctor's "name" is a codeword for a dangerous situation or a patient in crisis.
  • Doctor Brown: is a code word often used in hospitals to alert security staff to a threat to personnel. If a nurse or doctor is in danger from a violent patient or non-staff member, they can page Doctor Brown to their location and the security staff will rush to their aid. In some hospitals
  • Dr. Allcome: Serious emergency. "Doctor Allcome to Ward 5." would indicate that all medical staff not presently occupied are needed. (The Med, Memphis Tennessee)
  • Dr. Firestone: Fire in the hospital. If a fire's location can be isolated, the location of the fire is included in the page, e.g. "Paging Dr. Firestone to 3 West" indicates "Fire in or near west stairwell/wing on third floor" (William Beaumont Hospitals, Royal Oak and Troy, MI).
  • Dr. Pyro: Fire in the hospital/healthcare facility. "Paging Dr. Pyro on ____" indicates a fire and its origin or current location, e.g. "Paging Dr. Pyro on 3" means "Fire on third floor" (Kaiser Permanente, system-wide).
  • Dr. Strong: Patient needing either physical assistance or physical restraint. "Paging Dr. Strong ..." indicates that any physically capable personnel (orderlies, police or security officers, EMTs or firemen, etc.) in the proximity should report and be prepared either to move a patient who "fell down" and cannot get back up or to "capture and restrain" an uncooperative patient.


  • Code Black:
- In Australia code black is a personal threat. This incorporates a diverse range of situations including assaults, confrontations, hostage situations and threats of personal injury or attack

- Bomb Threat (Ontario, Manitoba)

- In the military code black is bomb threat or discovery of suspicious package.

  • Code Gray/Grey
- A combative person with no weapon under HASC suggestions.

- Severe Weather (Cook Children's Medical Center, Fort Worth, TX)

  • Code Green

-A combative person using physical force, especially weapons. (some American hospitals)

-Used to indicate an evacuation situation, and can refer to the evacuation of a ward/floor/wing or the entire hospital (Code Green - Stat) depending on the call (Ontario Hospital Emergency Codes, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority)

  • Code Pink

- Biohazardous contamination of a patient or staff. (Heartland Regional Medical Center)

- Patient is under influence of illegal substances (UK First Aid organizations)

  • Code Purple
- Australian Standard for Bomb or Substance alert

- Hostage situation or patient abduction (Ontario Hospital Association)

- Emergency department can no longer accept patients; divert incoming cases to other hospitals if at all possible (Canada, also Wellstar Health Group)

  • Code Silver
- Combative person with a Lethal Weapon (HASC recommendations).

- Violent Situation - Lockdown (Cook Children's Medical Center, Fort Worth, TX)

  • Code Yellow
- Missing patient (Ontario Hospital Emergency Codes).

  • Code Orange

- Used in Ontario hospitals to indicate an external disaster with mass casualties. Lockdown or controlled facility access is often used as part of the response. Volunteers, Families and Students were denied access during SARS Outbreak of 2003.

  • Code Brown
- Missing Adult (University of Toledo Medical Center) (University of Toledo Medical Center)

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