Bob Donaghue

Bob Donaghue

BWH Bulletin sat down with Bob Donaghue, operations manager for Security and Parking, to learn more about Code Grey. 

What is a Code Grey?

A Code Grey is any type of a security emergency. This could include witnessing threatening or violent behavior, unsafe physical conditions or anything else that causes a reaction of fear. For example, if you see someone hitting another person, that’s a Code Grey. If you see a theft taking place, Code Grey can allow BWH Security to respond quickly. If you see someone who is not clearly identifiable as a police or security officer or guard who has a weapon, Code Grey would allow Security to get to and speak with that person quickly.

How long does it take Security to respond?

Security responds to the code immediately, usually with two to five available officers, depending on the situation.

What happens when a Code Grey is called? 

When the STAT Line announces Code Grey, Security dispatches officers to the location of the code and then calls that area to attempt to get more information about the situation while the responding officers are on their way. If dispatchers receive more information, they will update the responding officers with details about what they will arrive to. This allows responders to better understand the situation before they arrive and to dispatch more units or the Boston Police if needed.

When calling the code location, Security dispatchers will state: “This is Security, and we are on our way to (location). Can you tell us more about the situation?” If the staff member is not able to answer the question for any safety or security reason, they should say, “I’m sorry; I don’t know,” and hang up. This will not affect Security’s response or response time.

What is the difference between Code Grey and the panic buttons?

The panic button is a silent Code Grey. Pressing the panic button activates the Code Grey response without an intercom announcement when an employee can’t safely call a code through the STAT Line. Security responds in exactly the same way when a panic button is pushed.

What if someone is unsure about whether to call Code Grey?

I like to say, “When in doubt, call it out.” If you’re unsure, it is best to call a Code Grey to be safe.

is there Anything else people should know?

Every staff member should know when to call a code, how to call it and what to do when Security responds. If it is safe to do so, staff members in the location should show responding officers where the problem is and help contain the situation by keeping others away from the area and calming patients and staff. Staff are also encouraged to program the BWH Security phone number (617-732-6565) into their cell phones in case they need to request assistance.

To report a Code Grey, call the STAT Line at 617-732-6555.