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GTI announces new VR training module to help prepare natural gas field personnel for leak calls

GTI has announced a new virtual reality (VR) training module for natural gas leak emergency first responders is now available for use by the industry. With development funding from Operations Technology Development (OTD), GTI worked with PIXO VR to develop the training to better prepare utility personnel to be more effective and efficient with identifying and responding to hazardous conditions.

The new training module includes an emergency response simulation of a residential neighborhood, which trainees must search through to find and respond to a natural gas leak. It is a cutting-edge virtual reality experience with intense and realistic scenarios, combining multi-user functionality, randomized potential hazards, and simulated consequences. 

The training module incorporates activities that utility operations and fire department personnel might face—such as investigating a leak, identifying and eliminating ignition sources, securing the location, evacuation, ventilation, communicating with emergency personnel, and identifying changing conditions. 

OTD is a consortium of 26 natural gas distributors in North America that facilitates collaborative research resulting in innovative solutions and the improved safety, reliability, and operational efficiency of natural gas systems.

GTI mirrors OTD’s commitment to safe and reliable infrastructure operations, and has been responsible for establishing training centers and educating gas personnel around the world for over the past seven decades. The team leverages their subject matter expertise to integrate the latest technologies, techniques, and regulatory requirements into training curriculums. Partnering with PIXO VR, GTI has created fully immersive and interactive 3D content with engaging story lines that will help trainees retain significantly more of what they learn. 

To keep trainees attentive, a wide variety of situational and environmental details can be changed with each experience — everything from neighborhood appearance, to the location and concentration of gas leaks and whether they are above or below ground, to the presence of vehicles and pedestrians and even wind direction.

“GTI supports the energy industry in many ways, and training is a critical part of what we offer,” Ray Deatherage, GTI Senior Program Manager for Energy Delivery, said. “I’m excited about how this enhanced learning tool will help prepare the next generation of field personnel.”

The natural gas leak emergency response training will be showcased at many coming industry events. Attendees can participate in live demonstrations of the virtual environment at the AGA Operations Workforce Development Task Group Fall Meeting on September 23 in Reno, Nevada. Mr Deatherage will also participate in a VR panel discussion and be hands-on with the training module in GTI’s booth at the 2019 EWN Conference & Training Summit, 1-3 October at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and the ITS Users Conference 16-17 October in Nashville.

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