U of A Alerts FAQs

These questions and answers address common concerns about U of A Alerts.

Do the messages come in any other languages? No, the messages come only in English. If you have an idea about how we can improve this, we'd love to hear from you.

How will the system notify me personally? The system is capable of sending a variety of messages to community members. Email messages will be sent to your university-supplied address (you@ualberta.ca). Ualberta App notifications will go to any iOS or Android device with the app installed, if notifications have been turn on on the device. Some lab and office computers are also equipped with a desktop interrupt that will take over your screen and show you an emergency message.

What kinds of emergencies is U of A Alerts used for?  

Only for large-scale events that have implications for many people. This could include severe and imminent weather events such as tornadoes, “man-made” disasters such as fires or chemical releases or acts of violence.

How quickly can you actually send out a warning? 

Messages can usually be issued within minutes. Information must be verified by University of Alberta Protective Services then input into the notification system for immediate delivery. Different delivery methods have different expected delivery times.

How will I recognize an emergency communication? 

Email messages will show the following return address:emerg@ualberta.ca

What would an emergency message contain? 

In a very few words, a typical message would indicate what is happening, where it is happening, and what you should do for your own safety and the safety of others.

Is the mobile application available only for iPhone? 

No, the mobile application is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and Android devices. 

I only check my U of A email address occasionally. Is that useful in a critical emergency? 

The email component of the notification is only one of several methods. You will be notified using one of the other methods.

Will the system be available to all University of Alberta campuses? 

All our campuses have systems for emergency notification.  E-mail, building alarms, the mobile app, twitter, and the U of A website are all tools that are available to all our campuses. Students in the Faculty of Extension do not receive U of A e-mail addresses, so they are not included in the e-mail delivery.

There are things that could go wrong – the phone and computer lines could go down;  people could ignore their phones etc. Are you putting all your faith in this email and text message system? 

No. The university will continue to use all existing alarm and warning systems. These include fire alarms, radio messaging to field staff, the university website, in person announcements, notice boards, and, when appropriate, public service announcements through the local media.

How else will I know an emergency is happening? 

Building fire alarm systems remain the principal communication device for emergencies on our campuses. Before the alarm is activated, you may see, smell, or hear an emergency underway. Further, your colleagues, classmates, professors, teaching assistants, support staff and others may tell you about it. You may also see or hear First Responders attending the emergency or travelling to it.

If you have any other questions or need assistance, please contact OEM or 780-498-2663.