Emergency Response Virtual Reality (VR) Training Module Ready to Help Prepare Natural Gas Field Personnel for Leak Calls

September 20, 2019
Des Plaines, IL
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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 the past 7+ decades. The team leverages their subject matter expertise to integrate the latest technologies, techniques, and regulatory requirements into training curriculums. Partnering with leading VR training provider PIXO VR, they have 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,” says Ray Deatherage, GTI senior program manager for Energy Delivery. “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 industry events in the coming months. Attendees can participate in live demonstrations and get a feel for the virtual environment at the AGA Operations Workforce Development Task Group Fall Meeting on September 23 in Reno, Nevada. Ray 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, October 1-3 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and the ITS Users Conference October 16-17 in Nashville.

For more information about the training, contact Ray Deatherage, GTI senior program manager for Energy Delivery, rdeatherage@gti.energy or 847.768.0942. For information about training availability, contact PIXO VR at ContactUs@pixovr.com or 248.996.8298.

About GTI

GTI is a leading research, development, and training organization that has been addressing global energy and environmental challenges by developing technology-based solutions for consumers, industry, and government for more than 75 years.

About Operations Technology Development (OTD)

OTD was established as a not-for-profit company to facilitate voluntarily funded, collaborative research. OTD identifies, selects, funds, and oversees research projects resulting in innovative solutions and the improved safety, reliability, and operational efficiency of natural gas systems. Participating natural gas distribution companies pool their resources and leverage their R&D investment to advance the development and implementation of new technologies.


PIXO VR is Technology for Human Advancement.™ The team of AAA-game designers, award-winning artists, and pioneering engineers have been innovating Virtual Reality Training experiences for enterprise since 2015, working with customers in high-impact industries like construction, manufacturing, and energy production and distribution. The fully immersive and interactive training is available as a low-cost monthly service or as a fully custom experience.

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