Using FlashAlert files in your station or newspaper’s website and/or CGS

Files for automatic placement in your website

FlashAlert can automatically place a file into your server containing all the latest data. Through FTP, the file is replaced every five minutes. Information can be provided in a generic HTML style, tab-delimited form, CSV, JSON, RSS or as an XML file you can parse. Here is what the HTML version of the file looks like on a station website.

Please note that FlashAlert does not allow “hotlinking” to its site. It is acceptable for stations to periodically pull reports from FlashAlert (every 5 to 15 minutes) if FTP is not available; however you need to cache and re-display this information to your site visitors instead of sending them directly to our servers via hot-linking or iframing FlashAlert report pages.

Files that can automatically populate your TV station CGS

FlashAlert has two XML data feeds available. One contains all of the data: emergencies, news releases and participants. The other, designed for use in TV CGS, has only the emergency postings. Here is the complete XML file for the Portland area, select View Source. This is the emergency-only XML file.

The XML files have data fields that will allow you to parse the info for CGS use. Here is a sample XML file and a description of what the tags mean:

<flashnews updated=”2012-08-14 03:12:18″>
<emergency_category name=”Central Co. Schools”>
<emergency_report report_id=”26940″ effective_date=”2012-08-14 15:08:40″ updated=”0″ last_update=”2012-08-14 15:08:50″ testing=”0″ schoolrelated=”1″ orgid=”413″ custom=”0″ operating_code=”5″ transpo_code=”20″>
<detail><![CDATA[2 hrs late, Buses on snow rts]]></detail>
<tomorrow><![CDATA[Effective tomorrow – Wed Aug 15th]]></tomorrow>
<orgname orgid=”413″ tier=”1″ zipcode=”x”><![CDATA[Cityville Schools]]></orgname>

Field/Element/Attributes descriptions:

flashnews updated: Time the information was posted or last changed
emergency: Type of info (emergency, news release, sports)
emergency_category name: The grouping, i.e. schools, police, military
emergency_report report_id: A unique number for this incident, stays constant if the info is updated
effective_date: The time the report was first published
updated: 0 indicates the report has not been updated since first posting; 1 means it has
last_update: The time when the report was last altered
testing: For FlashAlert’s use
schoolrelated: 1 means the report pertains to a district, private school or college. 0 means it is non-school (police, military, city, etc.)
orgid: an org’s unique ID number
custom: 0 means that the message was built using preconfigured messages, and thus does not need human review before going to CGS. 1 indicates that the message was handwritten and needs to be reviewed.
operating_code, transpo_code: for use in the Seattle region only
detail: the message
tomorrow: if message has been marked for the next day, that day will show. This field will go empty at midnight.
orgname orgid: same as orgid above
tier: In Portland and Colorado Springs, gives 1 for premium tier, 2 for basic tier. This function segregates larger orgs, which need to go to CGS, from smaller ones, which go only to the web.
zipcode: Zip of the address associated with the org’s registration.

To FTP files into your website or CGS, FlashAlert needs the server address, any folder you wish to have the file go into, a username and password.


Seattle TV stations: Click here for a doc with Seattle-only status code descriptions and org ID numbers.


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