This is a crazy world we live in these days.

I was always taught to be aware of my surroundings.  Expect the unexpected.  No matter where I go.  A concert, a movie theater, a shopping mall, a sporting event, you name it.  Hopefully, I have impressed that same sentiment to my son growing up.  You just never know.

Did you know that most retail stores have a color code system to make announcements of great importance to their employees?

They use color codes because they're short, easy to understand the meaning and work well for employees that don't speak English all that well.

I recently sat down with a Bismarck Police officer to discuss these codes and they were verified by a retail friend of mine who has worked in retail stores all across North Dakota.

The color codes are typically pretty universal among stores but there may be slight differences among them.  A couple of these colors you should take action immediately, protect your family, and GET OUT.

The most dangerous color codes you can hear over the intercom at a retail store include:

BROWN: This means acts of violence are occurring in the store.  You could even have an active shooter situation.  Again, GET OUT.

GREEN:  This typically means a hostage situation.  Once again, GET OUT.

RED:  Another GET OUT.  Although you have time to assess the situation.  It means there is a fire in the store.

BLUE:  Another BIG GET OUT.  A bomb threat has been called into the store.

Less dangerous color codes but you should still be aware of include:

WHITE: ⬜ This means there is an injury in the store.

BLACK: ⬛ This means severe weather in the area.  The store is likely the best place to be.

ORANGE:  This means a chemical hazard of some sort.  You likely want to leave ASAP.

ADAM:  This means a lost child.  I've been that child in a store before.  Not fun.

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