Utility emergency event simulation tools
Quick summary: Utility emergency operation centers (EOC) make critical decisions for public safety based on information like weather, asset status, vegetation, and topography. Training on sustainable simulation tools ensures that those decisions can be made quickly and lead to the best outcomes possible.
Today’s utility emergency operation centers (EOCs) make critical decisions for public safety based on information like weather, asset status, vegetation, and topography. These decisions are time critical and often high impact, as is the case with public safety power shutoffs (PSPS). To act quickly, teams need effective training on emergency situations that could arise in their geographical regions. Activation event simulations are key to this training, and if they are to be effective, the scenarios need to be as realistic as possible.
Utilities can create emergency event training tools to record, update, select, and replay event scenarios typically used by emergency operations teams. These simulators allow teams to train on real-life scenarios that can be updated and augmented by the training teams. As new tools, they limit impact on existing applications and critical live environments.
Challenges in emergency event simulation
Creating effective simulation tools does come with challenges:
• Data from existing EOC applications may be unusable or inconsistent.
• Ways to prepare, select, and replay scenarios for training are limited and reduce the realism of the simulation.
• Continuous improvement of other applications in the EOC environment make it challenging to keep scenarios relevant.
Create sustainable simulation tools for emergency operations training
Well-trained teams drive better outcomes. By integrating simulation modules into emergency operations center applications, utilities can create scalable and sustainable models.
Allow users to manage real-life scenarios
Build a suite of tools that allows emergency operations training teams to build, edit, update, and store training scenarios. Create a library of recorded sessions that can be modified for future training.
Limit the impact on existing EOC applications on live environments
Create training applications that don’t impact daily operations, with a clear user interface for simulation mode.
Build simulation environments that evolve with EOC applications
Leverage non-invasive technology that tracks code changes in core EOC applications and easily updates simulation scenarios over time.
Expanding to dispatcher training simulations
Dispatchers are responsible for ensuring efficient operations of the utility’s infrastructure, and utilities have long leveraged simulations as part of their standard operational training programs. The process described above can be used in dispatcher training simulator environments to improve the efficiency of training for power outages, equipment failures, and natural disasters.