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Emergency Alerts

This module creates custom emergency announcements that are prominently displayed on the homepage of your website. As it is accessible from both the desktop and mobile versions of OU Campus, alerts can be posted or updated on the go.

The visual appearance of the warning banner is determined as part of the module installation process.

Once activated, Emergency Alerts is accessed via the Add-Ons menu. Alerts are posted on a site-by-site basis and can't be shared across an account. By default, Emergency Alerts are available only to level 9 and 10 users, although this can be modified.

SetupLink to this section

In addition to the Emergency Alerts interface, two pages are added to your website as typical PCF pages in a location of your choice. Each of these pages contains a script, one that displays the active alert (if applicable), and one that lists any archived alerts. These pages must be initially published after Emergency Alerts is implemented, but after that are automatically updated with the alerts.

An ou-alerts folder is also created, to store XML files and allow users who don't have the ability to publish directly to the production server to publish alerts. This folder must be named ou-alerts and be located at the root of the site. In order to post or change alerts, users must be in the group that has access to the ou-alerts folder.

Depending on your module implementation, you may also have a configuration file that can be used to modify the appearance and behavior of the alerts. Reference your developer notes if you have questions about that file.

Creating an AlertLink to this section

To make a new alert:

  1. Open Emergency Alerts.
  2. If an alert isn't currently active, the "New Alert" button is available. There can only be one active alert at a time. Click "New Alert."
  3. Fill out the form fields:
    • Severity*: Choose a severity level (Announcement, Warning, or Emergency). These affect the appearance and behavior of the alert, though specifics depend on your installation.
    • Title*: Type a title for the alert, maximum of 128 characters.
    • Subtitle: Type a subtitle for the alert, maximum of 30,000 characters.
    • Description*: Provide information about the event or emergency, maximum of 30,000 characters.
    • Date and Time*: Select the date and time that the event referred to in the alert occurred. You can use the current date and time, or select "Custom" to choose another.
    • URL: If there is a news article or other page you want to link to, enter the URL here.
    • Social Media: If you have Facebook and/or Twitter accounts configured with your OU Campus account, you can select which ones you want to post to as the alert is published. Selected accounts are automatically enabled for updates on that alert.
      • When publishing an alert to a social media channel, only the title and link are posted.
  4. Click Publish. The alert is now active.

The alert can be edited, deleted, and archived. Editing the alert changes the information in the initial post, and is not the same as posting an update. Deleting it removes it permanently from the system. Archiving an alert takes it down from the website but stores it in the "Archived Alerts" folder, from where it can potentially be restored.

Updating an AlertLink to this section

Once an alert is active, you can post updates to it by selecting the "New Update" button at the bottom of the "Active Alert" screen.

Updates contain the following fields, which are the same as when creating a new alert:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Date and Time
  • URL
  • Social Media

Select Publish to post the update. Updates can be edited and deleted. If the original alert is archived, any attached updates are archived as well. An alert can be updated multiple times.

In the "Active Alert" screen, updates display below the original alert, with the most recent at the top. How updates display on the live website is specific to your installation of Emergency Alerts.

Archiving AlertsLink to this section

To archive an alert, view it in the "Active Alerts" screen and select "ARCHIVE" from the original alert. Updates cannot be archived independently of the root alert.

The "Archived Alerts" view stores any past alerts that have been archived. Select an alert to view it and any updates it might have. An archived alert can be set as active if there is not a current active alert, or permanently deleted.

SettingsLink to this section

The Emergency Alerts settings control who accesses the module and which Facebook and Twitter profiles can have alerts posted to them. It contains the following fields:

  • Group Access: Determines the group of users who can access the module from the Add-Ons menu. The default is (Administrators Only), which includes all level 9 and 10 users. This group must also have access to the ou-alerts folder.
  • Notified Users: Determines the group of users who receive email notifications from OU Campus when an alert is posted or when an update is made to an active alert. The default is (Administrators Only), which includes all level 9 and 10 users.
  • Social Media: Lists all Facebook and Twitter accounts that have been linked with the site. Activating a social media account enables that account as an option to be chosen when creating an alert or update.