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SJHH / Patients & Visitors/ Support Services/ Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

A hospital emergency, outbreak or an emerging new virus can occur without warning. At any given time hospitals must be prepared to respond to all emergencies that may arise within hospital facilities or the community at large. In order to ensure that St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) has a coordinated effective emergency response, it is imperative that hospital emergency plans and emergency codes are regularly implemented, tested and maintained.

The SJHH Emergency Preparedness Committee provides continuous direction and support for the development, implementation and maintenance of all policies and procedures encompassing emergency and disaster management functions; thereby, ensuring the safety of patients, visitors, employees, physicians, volunteers and the community.

Maintenance of the emergency preparedness structure supports the hospital and the community in times of crisis. The development and maintenance of the emergency preparedness program ensures the fluidity of all emergency and disaster management functions within the organization while ensuring that effective responses at all sites are also fully coordinated and in alignment with regional, provincial and federal emergency response plans.

Emergency Codes

Hospital Emergency Codes are used in hospitals worldwide to denote to staff various types of emergency situations. The use of consistent and uniformed codes is intended to convey essential information quickly with a minimum of misunderstanding to staff, while preventing stress or panic among visitors to the hospital. The code system enables a concise means of ensuring staff receive a common message, signaling the need for an urgent response without unnecessarily alerting or alarming patients, visitors or hospital personnel.

The emergency codes system at SJHH was developed based on the standardized colour code system set by the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) to ensure uniformity amongst hospitals province wide. The SJHH emergency colour code system fully adheres to the standardized hospital colour codes directive established by the OHA. Consistency across hospitals also facilitates the transition of essential information to the responding code teams to ensure optimal response.

Preparing for the Unexpected

Emergencies can strike anywhere and at any time. In the spirit of proactivity we encourage you to have your own emergency preparedness plan. Both federal and provincial government agencies have excellent online resources to help you build your own plan, survival kit, etc. Please explore the links below to ensure that you and your loved ones are emergency prepared.

Government of Canada Get Prepared Guide

Government of Ontario Emergency Management Plan


Stephanie Trowbridge
Manager, Emergency Preparedness
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
Charlton Campus
50 Charlton Ave E.
Hamilton, ON
Tel: 905-522-1155 ext. 35866