The Seven Steps to Alarm Management

Step 1: Create and Adopt an Alarm Philosophy

A comprehensive design and guideline document that makes it clear “exactly how to do alarms right.”

Step 2: Alarm Performance Benchmarking

Analyze the alarm system to determine its strengths and deficiencies, and effectively map out a practical solution to improve it.

Step 3: “Bad Actor” Alarm Resolution

From experience, it is known that around half of the entire alarm load usually comes from a relatively few alarms. The methods for making them work properly are documented, and can be applied with minimum effort and maximum performance improvement.

Step 4: Alarm Documentation and Rationalization (D&R)

A full overhaul of the alarm system to ensure that each alarm complies with the alarm philosophy and the principles of good alarm management.

Step 5: Alarm System Audit and Enforcement

DCS alarm systems are notoriously easy to change and generally lack proper security. Methods are needed to ensure that the alarm system does not drift from its rationalized state.

Step 6: Real-Time Alarm Management

More advanced alarm management techniques are often needed to ensure that the alarm system properly supports, rather than hinders, the operator in all operating scenarios. These include Alarm Shelving, State-Based Alarming, and Alarm Flood Suppression technologies.

Step 7: Control and Maintain Alarm System Performance

Proper management of change and longer term analysis and KPI monitoring are needed, to ensure that the gains that have been achieved from performing the steps above do not dwindle away over time. Otherwise they will; the principle of “entropy” definitely applies to an alarm system.