OnPage incident management

Massachusetts Natural Gas Explosions – A Lesson in The Importance of Alert Automation

The pressure in the natural gas pipelines under three Massachusetts communities spiked to 12 times their normal level last week, just before the explosions and fires that destroyed dozens of homes and killed an 18-year-old man. Columbia Gas went under fire for their mismanagement of the incident. The NTSB says a Columbia Gas control room in Columbus, Ohio, registered pressures of 6 pounds per square inch last Thursday in pipelines that are intended to carry just 0.5 PSI. Why wasn’t the incident reported to state and local authorities? Why did the utility company waited until 9 p.m. – more than four hours after the first blasts – to publicly acknowledge the catastrophe?

Importance of alert automation

This unfortunate incident highlights the importance of alert automation. OnPage works with several utilities companies that have their assets monitored 24×7 with critical alerts being relayed through OnPage’s dependable Incident Alert Management platform. The companies we work with use alert automation to inform incident responders of eminent incidents, report to the corresponding authorities and notify upper management and state authorities of eminent incidents so that they can be mitigated.

Mitigate incidents with alert escalation.

A key to alert automation is alert escalation. An alert escalation or escalation policy makes sure that if an incident is not acknowledged or resolved within a pre-determined amount of time, it will be escalated to the correct users. With OnPage users can customize which teams receive the alert, the amount of time to wait before escalating to the next team or individual.
An escalation policy is particularly useful when you have an on-call team, monitoring critical systems. In the event of an incident, an alert is sent out either by a fellow team member or one of the monitoring tools connected to the hundreds of end points being monitored.

Critical alerting is a must for asset management

It’s very clear to us the dangers that might creep up with a utility company that doesn’t closely monitor and act on critical information produced by their assets. Companies that work with OnPage tie in their asset management tools with our service to provide a total solution that not only mitigates incidents but also ensure that when something happens the right people are notified. OnPage’s successful partnership with IBM Maximo for example highlights how utility and pipeline companies’ use us in critical use cases like leak detection.

To learn more about OnPage’s Incident Alert Management Platform contact us.

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