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Emergencies can happen anywhere at anytime. By being prepared, you can reduce their impact and the time it takes to recover. Wherever you work in VCH, you are responsible for mitigating risks, and being familiar with emergency response plans and procedures in your workplace. This module is intended to provide you with an overview of your role in emergency management.


Based on the following video, what do you think is the biggest emergency event risk in your community — and how can the health system respond to and help recover from it?


The most important information I need to know.

My Responsibilities

Emergency Response

Fire Safety

Your Role


  • Familiarize yourself with the emergency response procedures for your facility and unit/department. Understand what is expected of all staff members as well as any responsibilities specific to your position.
  • You may build your knowledge by participating in online courses and in-person training (in-services, drills, and exercises).
  • When an event occurs, follow your procedures and take action!

Know your role!

Personal Safety


Some emergencies may involve hazardous situations. Take a moment to assess, and then make an informed decision before you take action. Whenever possible make the area safe before proceeding.

Regardless of the type of emergency, always remember your personal safety!

Personal Preparedness


Emergencies can happen at work and at home. Taking steps to be prepared at home will minimize the impacts to you and your family. In a disaster, you should be ready to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 72 hours, so take the time to get prepared.

Get prepared at work and at home!

The response to an emergency may be isolated and relatively routine (fire alarm, medical emergency) or wide-spread and complex (windstorm, earthquake). To address the range of challenges that emergencies can present, VCH has adopted response tools and processes to support every level of the organization:


Emergency Response Procedures and Unit/Department Response Plans provide staff members guidance for the most common types of emergencies in health care.

All responses share these elements:

  • Making yourself and others safe
  • Notifying the appropriate people


When an event significantly impacts a site, or multiple sites with a shared leadership, coordination of response is managed through the use of an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

The EOC is staffed by appropriate representatives to address the situation and provides support and direction to the site.

Health Authority

If an event impacts multiple regions, or a more complex response is required, the VCH Corporate EOC may be utilized to coordinate activity across the entire organization.


Fire is a universal hazard wherever you live, work or play. Fortunately most fires can be prevented. By following fire safety practices you can reduce the likelihood of fire.

If a fire should occur, remember the response procedure RACE (see video). 


Tips to help me take care and stay safe.

Know your role in case of any of the colour codes below.

For more information about the meaning of each code and your expected response, consult the Emergency Codes: Colour Guide PDF.

Review the description of the infant/child and search your area. Report any sightings to your manager. If directed, report to the Emergency Operations Centre to provide assistance.
Report to your department and search your work area for suspicious objects. Follow direction from the manager.
Call out for help, press a Code Blue button, or call the site’s emergency number (stat line or 911). A designated response team will attend and assume responsibility of the affected person.
The department lead is responsible for determining whether a response is required, and initiating a response to ensure the Contracted Chemical Spill Response Team is engaged.
Acute/Residential: Listen to directions from overhead announcements and be prepared to assist with the evacuation and/or to receive patients/residents. Community: Evacuate as directed to an external meeting area.
The Administrator-in-Charge authorizes this code; the response varies by the type of system failure. In all cases, identify any impacts to your unit/department and report them to your manager.
The Administrator-in-Charge authorizes this code. Follow the direction of your manager. If off-duty, report to work as per normal schedule and wear your employee identification.
Where applicable, a designated response team will attend the obstetrical/neonatal emergency and assume responsibility for the patient.
If you find smoke/fire, follow RACE. If you hear an alarm, follow site procedures. Acute / Residential: Check area for signs of smoke/fire, heed announcements. Community: Evacuate building, meet at designated assembly area.
Call for assistance or activate a panic/personal protection alarm (if available), and contact your site’s emergency number (stat line). Trained individuals respond as per the Code White Response Procedures.
Code Yellow Stage 1 announcement: Review person’s description, search your area, report any findings to manager. Stage 2: If available, report to the Emergency Operations Centre when directed to assist further.
Review your proximity and determine whether it is best to follow RUN-HIDE-FIGHT procedures, or alternatively follow your supervisors’ instructions for continuation of care/services until an all clear is announced. Police will assume control of the Active Attacker response upon arrival.


What do you think your expected role is for each procedure at your worksite? Plan to locate your Emergency Response Manual and emergency number on your first day on site.

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