Whether you're doing some grocery shopping, hitting up Target, or running an errand at any one of the big box stores like Costco around the country, they all share a color-coded emergency announcement system, and we should know what each of the seven colors mean because they could be life-saving. 

According to Common Cents Mom, they're used by employees of these stores to prepare themselves for potentially dangerous situations while not causing panic for us shoppers.


A 'Code Brown' means there is an active shooter in the store.  It could also refer to other violent acts in play that don't necessarily involve a gun, but the key word is 'violent' when it comes to code browns.  I'd get out fast, IF you safely can.  No matter what, instructions will follow.  This is also a usable code if there is someone threatening violence outside the store.


A 'Code Green' is an active hostage situation, so again, use your best judgment, knowing full well that instructions will follow.


'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, and chances are, that's what the instructions will tell all of us shoppers to do, too.


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


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 they will most likely receive instructions not to leave. The store might also close immediately  because of the impending weather, forcing everyone to leave quickly and head home safely.

Meanwhile, just like an Amber Alert is about an abducted child in your area named after Amber Hagerman, according to the All That is Interesting website, after she was abducted back in 1996, according to the National Association of Missing and Exploited Children, a 'Code Adam" heard inside a big box store means a child has gotten lost or gone 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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