Effective Incident Management (Bespoke Training Programme for Firmus Energy)

firmus energy

The natural gas network in Northern Ireland is divided into three areas – the Greater Belfast area, operated by Phoenix Energy; the Ten Towns area operated by Firmus Energy; and the west of Northern Ireland which is currently being developed by Evolve Network.

In the Greater Belfast area, firmus energy have over 48,000 customers – around 23% of the domestic market. In the ‘Ten Towns’ area, firmus are currently the only supplier to domestic customers and supply over 46,000 connected homes in that area.

The Challenge

Firmus wanted to test its staff’s incident management capabilities and improve preparedness. In response to this, firmus engaged in a collaborative partnership with Develop Training, a renowned utilities training provider. The primary objective was to rigorously test procedures and ensure that firmus’ engineering and technical teams were well-equipped to handle real-world incidents.

Firmus’ decision to choose Develop was driven by the organisation’s successful track record in creating bespoke incident management training programs for utility companies. Specifically, their successful collaboration on a similar training initiative for Phoenix Energy earlier in the year underscored their expertise and capability. However, the pivotal factor behind the choice was the wealth of experience brought by Develop’s experts, Jim Donnelly and Chris Parker, both of whom who have extensive hands-on experience in the gas industry.

Chantal Hemphill, HSE Manager at firmus energy, said:

The feedback we received from Phoenix Energy about Jim and Chris was absolutely glowing, and it became clear to us from the very first phone call we had with them that they’re clearly very experienced and know exactly what they’re talking about. It was this phone call that told us all we needed to know and we just felt so comfortable with them throughout the entire process.

The Solution

Develop worked closely with the HSE team at firmus to design a bespoke scenario that brought together various teams within firmus. The scenario ensured that individuals who may not typically work together on a day-to-day basis, but would have to collaborate effectively during an incident, got the chance to put their emergency procedures into practice.

Jim and Chris played a crucial role in assessing the group’s response both as a cohesive team and as individual contributors.

The Result

This feedback, alongside feedback from the participants themselves, was fed back to the HSE team at Firmus and then used to create an action plan.

Chantal Hemphill, HSE Manager at firmus energy, said:

The collaboration with Develop has had a significant positive impact on our organisation. The training has not only enhanced our incident management preparedness but also facilitated teamwork and collaboration among diverse teams. The overall feeling of everyone involved has been that it was an extremely useful exercise and we’re thankful to Develop for their expertise and the work they’ve put into helping us.”


As effective incident management and response continue to play a key role in the utilities industry, investment in employee training proves to be essential for companies like firmus.

As the utilities industry evolves, the emphasis on hands-on training and preparedness remains critical, and this case study serves as a model for organisations seeking to enhance their capabilities in this ever-changing landscape.

For organisations interested in similar transformative experiences, Develop Training can be contacted through the Customer Service Team on 0800 876 6708 or via email at enquiries@developtraining.co.uk.

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