Severities and Priorities

Severity settings in FireHydrant
Severity settings in FireHydrant

When organizations declare incidents, it's fundamentally important to categorize how severe the incident is. This allows teams to understand who needs to be engaged, what needs to be done, and the type of urgency and attention an issue demands.

Some organizations use "severities," while other organizations will make use of "priorities" to classify incidents. FireHydrant provides both.


FireHydrant ships with several default Severities and Priorities. These allow organizations new to incident management as well as orgs testing things to get up and running quickly with best practices.


  • SEV1 - SEV5: Standard industry indicators for the severity of an incident, with SEV5 being the least severe and SEV1 being the most severe. Some organizations will even use a SEV0 to denote the most critical issues.
  • GAMEDAY: A FireHydrant-specific severity denoting a "test" incident. GAMEDAY incidents are excluded from metrics/analytics.
  • MAINTENANCE: A FireHydrant-specific severity denoting a standard maintenance outage, or an "expected" outage. You can learn about creating Scheduled Maintenances here.
  • UNSET: A FireHydrant-specific severity denoting a lack of a severity or an unknown severity. Sometimes teams will declare UNSET incidents if they do not yet know how severe an issue is, and will update the severity as they work through the issue and discover facts.


Priority settings in FireHydrant
Priority settings in FireHydrant
  • P1 - P4: Standard industry indicators for priority levels of issues, including engineering tickets, incident tickets, and more. Like with Severity, the lower the number, the higher the urgency/impact.

Customizing Severities and Priorities

Although FireHydrant provides defaults, organizations are able to customize and tailor both Severities and Priorities according to their needs.

An example of additional configuration is a SEC0 severity to denote a security incident. This allows you to, for example, set different rules, such as creating a private incident and attaching different runbooks/automations.

Next Steps

Now that you've gotten an overview of Severities and Priorities:

  • See how you can use these severities and priorities to conditionally execute runbooks and steps.
    • This gives you flexible automation capabilities like having different Runbooks for different severities, or even layering runbooks with some Runbooks shared between all incidents with additional runbooks being severity-/priority-specific.
  • Configure automatic severities with the Severity Matrix.
    • FireHydrant can automatically assign incidents a certain severity depending on what components are impacted and how impacted they are.
  • Read a blog post about Severities and Priorities for more clarity and definition.

Last updated on 12/1/2023