ISO 22324 a new standard for colour coded alerts

ISO has published an International Standard providing guidelines for the use of colour codes to inform people at risk as well as first response personnel about danger and to express the severity of a situation. ISO 22324:2015 Societal security — Emergency management — Guidelines for colour coded alerts, is applicable to all types of hazard in any location.

People may be faced in their daily lives with various kinds of risks. People at risk should be able to take appropriate safety actions when faced with hazards even though they may not have a full understanding of them. Public warnings, through a combination of prior notifications and alerts, enable people at risk to take appropriate and timely actions to protect their safety.

Haruo Hayashi, the project leader responsible for writing ISO 22324, explains:

"Colour coded alerts are used to notify people at risk of status changes on a safety or danger continuum in allowing them to take appropriate actions. This International Standard will lead to better understanding of colour-coded alerts by reducing the confusion and prompting more appropriate responses in an emergency situation."

ISO 22324 describes various colours and how they should be used, for example:

  • Red is associated with danger and should be used to notify people at risk to take appropriate safety actions immediately.
  • Yellow is associated with caution and should be used to notify people at risk to prepare to take appropriate safety actions
  • Green is associated with a safe status and should be used to notify people at risk that no action is required.

Stefan Tangen, Convenor of the Communication Group of the ISO technical committee that developed the new standard, states:

"ISO 22324 is part of a series of standards developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 292.  Important to note is that we recently published ISO 22322 which provides guidelines for public warning and can be used in combination with ISO 22324. Other standards are also under development on topics such as Business continuity management, Organisational resilience, Security management and Fraud countermeasures and control."

ISO 22322:2015 Societal security — Emergency management — Guidelines for colour coded alerts, is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 58 Swiss francs respectively through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department.

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8th ISO/TC 292 plenary meeting
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