Code Gray Reminder
By Ron Fleischer, Security & Safety Manager
The recent situation that unfolded at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore was a grim reminder that, in our profession, the world as we know if can change at any moment. As the Security and Safety manager for the Banner Gateway Campus, I think it would be helpful for all of us to take a few moments to review our basic Code Gray plan.
The safety of our patients, visitors, and staff is always our top priority, so it is very important to distinguish between the two levels of Code Gray so that we do not inadvertently put others in danger by allowing them to enter an unsafe area.
Code Gray Level 1: Any employee who becomes involved in a situation where there is violence or high potential for violence, but a deadly weapon is not involved, should request a Code Gray Level 1. This is done by calling the CAS operator on the emergency line, 1-6666, giving the location, and requesting a Code Gray Level 1 overhead page. Security and the House Supervisor will respond immediately, along with other nearby staff members who are able to assist. When the incident is under control, a “Code Gray, All Clear” will be announced.
Code Gray Level 2: This is the code that covers a situation like the one at Johns Hopkins. If you witness a situation where someone is brandishing a deadly weapon, call 1-6666 and request a Code Gray Level 2 overhead page. Please tell the operator the type of weapon involved. Sometimes people report a Code Gray Level 2 because an uncooperative patient is swinging a chair or IV pole. Security needs to know what type of weapon is involved so they can respond properly and safely, according to their procedures.
In the event a firearm is involved, the CAS operator will immediately notify the Gilbert Police who will respond to take command. Security will meet with responding police officers and assist them with staging and logistics, as requested.
If you hear a Code Gray Level 2 broadcast overhead, try to remain calm. If a location is given, do not respond there. We must shelter in place by closing and locking doors wherever possible. Restrict your movement as much as possible and avoid standing in front of windows or in other exposed areas. Employees must be prepared to support and guide patients and visitors through proper actions in response to this type of emergency, since they don’t know the significance of a Code Gray Level 2. Remain safely in place until a “Code Gray, All Clear” is announced, or you are rescued by the police.
These types of situations are some of the most difficult and challenging of any we face, and we all hope we never have anything like the Johns Hopkins incident happen here. Of course, the intent is always to resolve these situations in the safest possible way, and thinking about what could happen, and giving some thought to how you would react if it did, might be a life-saving exercise.
If you would like additional information, please e-mail us.