Notifications: Setting Up Notification Rules

The most important part of your user profile are your notification rules. Your notification rules determine how you want to be contacted and when every time a triggered incident is assigned to you.

We recommend keeping the following items in mind when setting up your notification rules:

Make sure your notification rules don’t exceed the minutes on your escalation policy

If you are on an escalation policy that escalates after 5 minutes and you have a notification rule set to 5 minutes or more, you will not receive that 5<= minute notification.

In a case when the escalation policy escalates after 5 minutes, you will want to make sure you that your notification rules are 4 minutes or less.

To check the escalation policies for which you are on-call for, click into the escalation policies listed under then When am I on-call next? widget on your user profile.

Get notified repeatedly via different methods

Especially if you’re a heavy sleeper or are responsible for critical incidents, we highly recommend setting multiple notification rules at different contact methods to make sure that you are properly notified when an incident is assigned to you.

For example:

Sometimes these one-time notifications just aren’t enough, which is why we recommend setting up repeated notifications if the first ones don’t get your attention immediately (or if you are away from your phone/laptop when those first notifications arrive).

For example:

Don’t forget when you are about to go on-call

It’s never a good feeling to forget that you are on-call right when you receive your PagerDuty notification.

That’s why we recommend setting reminders - what we call, on-call handoff notifications - to remind yourself up to 48 hours in advance when you are about to go on- (or off-!) call.

Extra Tip: If you prefer reminders from your personal calendar or to just keep track of your rotation within your calendar, you can export a calendar feed of your on-call schedules from PagerDuty and import it into your personal calendar

Keep track of your incidents with updates

Status updates allow you to receive notifications when the incidents assigned to you have changed. Set these up on your profile so that you know when another team member acknowledges your incident, when your incident has been escalated, or when it has been resolved.

Even better - don’t have multiple notification methods all trigger at the same time.

When you add a new contact method, a matching notification rule will be added - only it’ll be set for Immediately do this thing. What you end up with here is an email, a push notification, an sms and a call all hitting you at once. If this is your first time using PagerDuty, you’ll probably put the phone in the bin along with all the cables, add lighter fluid and strike a match.

I recommend to all of our on-calls to start with the least intrusive thing that will catch your attention - usually a push notification; excellent, I say, set that as your notify me immediately rule.

Next, give yourself a minute or two (or 3) to accept your place in this world, but just before you go back to sleep, take the next most intrusive thing - usually an SMS at this point; now fire that thing off.

If, after 5 minutes, you still haven’t roused it’s time to bring out the big mechanical railguns - the phone call.

Because you have already managed to miss a push notification and an SMS and a phone call (because otherwise you’d have already acknowledged the assignment and this madness would have stopped), it’s time to keep calling you every few minutes until you wake up or your Escalation Policy times you out.

When a high-urgency incident is assigned to me...
 Immediately after it's assigned to me, push notify me on suspicious_device
 3 minutes after it's assigned to me, sms me at +xx yyy zzzz abcd
 6 minutes after it's assigned to me, phone me at +xx yyy zzzz abcd
 9 minutes after it's assigned to me, phone me at +xx yyy zzzz abcd
 12 minutes after it's assigned to me, phone me at +xx yyy zzzz abcd
 15 minutes after it's assigned to me, phone me at +xx yyy zzzz abcd

Note that if your last notification is at 15 minutes, and your Escalation Policy level timeout is also 15 minutes, you may not receive that last call. As this differs by Escalation Policy, it’s probably best to leave that last call in (for the times when you have a longer timeout).

You should always make sure you have at least one of each type in your notification preferences before your shortest Escalation Policy timeout, otherwise you’re missing the opportunity to prevent someone else from being woken for your alert.

Good luck,


Hi Simon,

This is a wonderful contribution and I just wanted to say that we appreciate you :]