Whether you're doing some grocery shopping, hitting up Target, or running an errand at any one of the big box stores like Costco, they all share the same color-coded intercom emergency announcement system. .

According to Common Cents Mom, employees of these stores use these colors to prepare themselves and store employees for potentially dangerous situations while not causing panic for us shoppers. After the initial message, instructions follow for the rest of us.


A 'Code Brown' means there is a dangerous situation underway whether inside the store or outside that could involve an active shooter or other violent acts.


A 'Code Green' is an active hostage situation inside or outside the store.


'Code Blue' means someone has called in a bomb threat. I don't know about you, but I don't care if they're usually fake, I'm leaving immediately.


'Code Red' means there's a fire, and whether it's spreading rapidly or not, it's time to leave the store.


A 'Code Orange' is a chemical spill. This is different if you're in a hospital, according to The Province. There, it means mass casualties and unforeseen disasters outside the hospital.


'Code White' is an accident of some kind in the store that isn't a direct danger to shoppers.


If you hear 'Code Black', that means we have super severe weather outside, and leaving may not be a smart option. The store could also force everyone to leave quickly and head home safely if there's time.

On an important side note, a 'Code Adam' means a child is lost or missing from that store. It's named after Adam Walsh, the six-year-old son of the America's Most Wanted host, John Walsh, who was abducted at a Sears store in Florida back in 1981 and never seen again.

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