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Title: The development and evaluation of a virtual simulation tool for testing emergency response planning strategies within the UK gas industry
Author: Rogage, Kay
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 8488
Awarding Body: Northumbria University
Current Institution: Northumbria University
Date of Award: 2014
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Third party damage from activities such as work carried out by contractors’ poses risks to gas pipelines. Within the UK, emergency plans are drawn up in an attempt to mitigate the significant consequences of any pipeline failure. The Control of Major Accident Hazards 1999 and the Pipeline Safety Regulations 1996 place legislative requirements on UK gas infrastructure providers, to regularly test emergency plans with simulation exercises. The exercises are intended to support the preparation of responders for dealing with incidents of failure. Software simulation is not currently utilised to facilitate the testing of emergency response plans in the UK gas pipeline industry. This project serves to evaluate the user acceptance of a software simulation prototype to enable the testing of emergency response planning strategies in the UK gas industry. Current emergency planning legislation and strategies applied to satisfy legislation within the UK gas industry are reviewed. The adoption and application of software simulation for the development of applied skill in other industries is examined, to determine the potential for use in testing emergency response planning for gas incidents. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) is the theoretical framework that underpins the study of user acceptance, of a software simulation prototype designed for running exercises to test emergency response plans. A case study evaluation of the user acceptance of the prototype, by representatives experienced in testing emergency response planning strategies in the gas industry, is presented. The participants in this case study are drawn from the Police, Fire and Rescue Service, Local Authority and Gas infrastructure provider, that perform a range of job roles operating at Operational, Tactical and Strategical levels. The research findings demonstrate that the participants perceive software simulation of emergency response planning processes for gas incidents to be beneficial. The TAM claims that if users perceive a system to be useful they are likely to adopt that system. Furthermore if users don’t perceive a system to be easy to use, according to the TAM, they will still adopt it after the correct training has been provided. Users would be most likely to adopt and use the software to facilitate emergency response planning exercises, if the correct training is provided. Software simulation offers great potential for the testing of emergency plans, it provides a controlled environment where decisions and responses can be audited and mistakes can be made without serious consequence. Software simulation has been shown to enhance, rather than replace, existing emergency response planning processes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Northumbria University ; Northern Gas Networks
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: G400 Computer Science ; G500 Information Systems ; G600 Software Engineering