Incident Management Response

Step by Step Guide to Incident Management Process Development

For any incident, whether it be IT, cybersecurity, industrial, or construction incidents, it is crucial to have an incident management plan in place. Incident management plans are established processes for dealing with critical situations. Having an incident response plan ensures a rapid and efficient response to incidents as they arise. Additionally, in the long run, it can create a knowledge base for predicting problems and identifying vulnerabilities, recognizing incidents before they go too far.

The Incident Management Process

Put simply, incident management involves identifying the incident, investigating and analyzing it, and creating a solution in a way that will not only resolve the incident but also prevent future occurrences. It requires managerial effort, attention, and the use of adequate resources to successfully respond, mitigate negative effects, and prevent recurrence. 

Incident Identification and Documentation

Incident response processes begin with incident identification, information collection, and documentation. Once an incident is identified, all information available should be recorded and compiled into an incident report in real time. This includes information regarding what happened, when it happened, where it happened, who it involved, and incident severity. For major incidents that involve injury or property/utility damages, the timeliness of the report can be crucial for mitigation claims and quick action to prevent further risks or incident escalation. 

Incident reports should not be limited to verbal descriptions and time stamps. They can include photos of the incident site, personal injury, and damaged equipment or infrastructure. Every piece of available information should be recorded. For example, for incidents occurring at a construction site you may want to ask, were there on-site work distractions? How was the safety equipment being used? If equipment malfunctioned, had it been maintained properly?

Incident Investigation and Diagnosis

Once an incident has been thoroughly reported, incident  investigation and diagnosis can occur. Incident investigation and diagnosis seeks to determine the root cause of the incident that has occurred – the ultimate “why?”. Analyzing the sequence of events that led up to the incident can reveal very important information. 

Searching for possible safety gaps, lack of proper oversight, improper maintenance protocols for equipment, and other potential causes helps to determine what needs to be changed in order to prevent future incidents. In addition to providing an initial diagnosis of the incident, it may also reveal other operational weaknesses that have not yet caused an issue. This can save valuable time and money for any operation in the long term.  

Incident Resolution and Corrective Action

By identifying the root causes of incidents and other variables influencing their occurrence, incidents can be resolved and corrective measures can be put in place. This eliminates the chance of a recurring incident. Corrective actions should be monitored for a period of time to make sure they are being implemented appropriately.  Even if an incident seemed like a “one time thing”, it is important for the company, everyone involved, and the future of the operation to ensure it does not happen again. 

Resolution and correction can apply to many aspects of a work operation. On-site behaviors and habits of workers, safety protocols, equipment maintenance and operation, and training standards can all be a part of adjustments made to ensure increased safety and reduction of incident risks. 

Incident Closure

For the closure stage of the incident management process, it is important to first re-verify that the root cause of the incident has been correctly determined and that corrective actions are continuously being carried out. Additionally, it needs to be confirmed that the new processes in place are successfully preventing future incidents. 

Data collected throughout the incident management process and lessons learned throughout contributes to a knowledge base for predicting and preventing future occurrences. This knowledge should be actively utilized to effectively recognize potential vulnerabilities in the operation, and encourages incident prioritization.

Utility Mapping Services

Underground Utility Mapping Services 

Utility maps are created to illustrate the exact location of subsurface utilities, and paired with utility records, can even provide information as to utility and physical material type. For any project that requires excavation, whether it be a civil engineering project, routine maintenance for utilities, or the installation of new utility lines, utility mapping is essential. 

Successfully carrying out utility surveys and utility mapping reduces the risk of damaging underground utility lines, saves time and construction delays, prevents unnecessary ground disturbance, and can prevent injuries that may result from situations such as workers hitting dangerous electrical lines. 

Methods for Mapping Utilities

In order to map utilities, there are technologies used to detect underground infrastructure that can track utility lines, and often, they can even indicate the material type and utility design. These technologies are quite accurate, providing the information needed before any construction or excavation takes place. Identifying existing underground utilities without breaking ground saves time and money, and also reduces the environmental impact such operations may have on the surrounding area.

Ground Penetrating Radar  (GPR)

GPR is a method that uses electromagnetic waves to detect underground utilities. Often, these look like a small cart that surveyors push over the ground. An antenna sends the electromagnetic waves into the ground, and when the waves reach an object, they bounce back up to the antenna, and then the structures are displayed on a screen for surveyors to view. 

This method can detect just about any underground structure, from underground pipe systems to fiber optic cables. Additionally, it can work to detect utilities under soil, pavement, and concrete.

Electromagnetic Induction (EMI)

This method sends electrical currents through utilities made of conductive materials in order to create a magnetic field that can be detected by receivers used by surveyors above ground. This method has consistently proven to be quite accurate at tracing utility line location and depth, however, it does have limitations. EMI is unable to detect non-conductive materials, and the magnetic field can be influenced by metal objects and groundwater. Even so, this method is widely used for the mapping of conductive utilities like electrical lines and buried underground storage tanks. 

Utility Mapping with GIS Software

Utility mapping software has changed the game for performing utility surveys and producing utility maps. Whether it is time for some form of construction to begin or maintenance to be performed, GIS software can enhance the utility of your mapping data significantly. 

Benefits of GIS Software for Utility Mapping

Pairing with Geographic Data

GIS systems have the ability to access highly accurate geographic data, meaning there are no guessing games when it comes to locating underground utility lines. This accuracy is valuable for saving time, and limiting construction delays that occur when an incident arises. 

Additionally, GIS systems can obtain  information such as land elevation, and this can be incorporated into your map display. This can help take into account factors such as potential flooding, which can be critical for when decisions need to be made about the installation of utilities. 

Real-time Tracking

By using GIS software throughout the utility tracking process, data can be uploaded and analyzed in real time. This means that things such as potential utility conflicts can be identified rapidly, and informed decisions can be made by operational managers quickly.

This also facilitates more streamlined communication between surveyors and operation managers. The progress made in the field can be tracked as it occurs, and GIS maps can be displayed on mobile or smart devices anywhere that they have a connection. 

Enhanced Asset Management

By having your utility data strategically arranged and linked to a GIS map system, information can be easily accessed and managed by both workers in the field and management in the office. Organizing data based on location, utility type, and even utility line composition can open up greater ease of utility management and future planning for construction or maintenance projects.

underground utilities detection

Underground Utilities Detection 

The term “underground utility” most typically refers to subterranean pipes and cables that transport water, but this can also include utilities such as telephone, gas, and electricity lines. The benefits of underground lines are that they are out of sight, they interfere less with surrounding infrastructure, and they can be more durable in the event of natural disasters. There are millions of miles of these subsurface utility lines in the United States, and knowing where they are located is important for any operation that involves breaking ground.

The importance of underground utility detection

So, why is the detection of these lines so important? Identifying the location of buried utility lines should be a priority when planning any construction, excavation, or ground/line maintenance work, whether it be for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes. 

Accurately and efficiently locating utilities can save your operation time, money, and safety, and reduce the chance of negative environmental impacts associated with damaged lines. This is especially true for underground water, gas, power, and sewer lines. 

The Detection of Underground Utility Lines

Technologies Used to Locate Utilities Underground 

There is specialized equipment used to locate underground utilities, and these can be used as underground water line detectors, power cable locators, and beyond. Electromagnetic pipe and cable locators and ground penetrating radars are two of the most effective and widely used detection systems. Both of these options operate solely above ground, eliminating the need for “trenching” to locate subsurface utilities. 

Electromagnetic Pipe and Cable Locators

Electromagnetic locators are one of the more popular technologies currently in use. This method uses electromagnetic radio frequency transmitters to trace metal underground utility pipes or cables. It has two basic parts: the transmitter, and the receiver. The transmitter induces a signal to the cable or pipe, while the receiver tracks the signal down the line.

This method is limited to pipes and cables with metallic properties, so it is ineffective in locating lines such as underground pvc pipes. However, there are methods to get around this limitation. For example, during installation, metallic tracer wires can be installed along such pipes to use this detection method.

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Technology 

Unlike electromagnetic locators, ground penetrating radar technologies can detect both conductive and nonconductive utilities. This means underground pipes of any material, such as steel, metallic, pvc, copper can be accurately detected from above ground in a minimally invasive manner.

GPR pipe locators produce images of what is underground by transmitting signals, or energy waves, into the ground. These signals reflect off underground structures such as water pipes. Above ground, receiver antennas track variation in these signals in order to produce these images and inform operators of utility line locations and their composition and electrical properties.

GPR systems can be found as both multi-frequency and single-frequency systems. Choosing which one will be most effective for your operation depends on the required depth of detection, soil type, and the particular type of pipe or cable material being detected. 

The Importance of Expertise in Underground Utility Detection 

The data returned by subsurface utility detection systems can be challenging to interpret. Additionally, the correct operation of systems such as GPR are critical for the proper identification and mapping of underground lines. Trained experts have the ability to analyze and understand the signals being received, and distinguish the difference between subsurface utility lines and other obstructions that may be found underground. 

Utilizing the expertise of trained professionals increases the efficiency and accuracy of subsurface utility detection, and ensures the safety of everyone involved when excavating or other operations start to break ground. Professional underground utility detection services can provide what you need for this process.  


We offer a variety of 811 and private locate services. To learn more, contact us.

Fiber Optic Cables and Splicing

Fiber Optic Cables and Splicing: Utilizing Advanced Tools for Operation Enhancement

Fiber optic splicing is an integral part of the installation and maintenance of fiber optic cable networks. Whether there are new connections or expansions that need to be made or repairs when a cable is severed, fiber optic splicing is how the world stays online. 

What are Fiber Optic Cables?

To begin, fiber optic cables are what connects homes and businesses around the world on a network. Their main purpose is to facilitate data networking and telecommunications, supplying resources such as wi-fi and internet services, telephone systems, and cable television. In this day and age, society thrives by utilizing communication signals every day, whether it be for work, entertainment, or keeping up with friends and family.

The physical characteristics of fiber optic cables is what makes them suitable for high performances across long distances. These cables are essentially strands of glass fiber that reside within an insulated casing. They work by sending signals with light emitting diodes, or light generated by small lasers, which follow the pathway created by the long glass strands.  

Fiber optic cables can be single or multi mode fibers. Single mode fibers utilize lasers to generate light, while multimode fibers use LEDs.

Fiber Optic Splicing

The goal of splicing fiber optic cables is to join two cables together with minimal splicing loss. This is often used for cable network expansion or repairs, and can occur in field settings or within cable assembly houses. Fusion splicing and mechanical splicing are the two methods used to accomplish this, however, fiber connectors can also be used but may result in insertion loss.

Types of Splicing

Fusion Splicing

The fusion splicing method for fiber optic cables occurs in two steps. First, the two fibers must be precisely aligned to join the two fiber optic cables. A fusion splicing machine can be used to accomplish this to ensure accuracy in alignment. 

Next, step 2 is to cleave the fibers. This happens using some form of heat or an electric arc to melt fibers, glass ends can be welded or fused together. This enables a continuous connection with low loss of light transmission, often below 0.1 dB. 

Mechanical Splicing

Unlike fusion splicing, mechanical splicing does not utilize a fusion splicer machine nor does it fuse fibers. Instead, bare fiber optic cables are aligned, held in alignment using index matching gel, and secured mechanically using an assembly that is about 6 cm long, 1 cm in diameter. Although it can cause 0.3 dB light transmission loss, it can enhance reflection through the cables.

This is not a permanent fusion, but a precise fastening to the mechanical splice that holds the optical fibers together. This splicing method can be easy to perform, and are useful for both quick repairs as well as permanent installations. Additionally, they can be used for both single mode and multimode fibers.

The Importance of Using Advanced Solutions For Fiber Optic Splicing Operations

Keeping up with new technology, training, and software for managing fiber optic splicing operations is vital for staying efficient, competitive, and successful in splicing practices. Advanced solutions for managing field fiber optic splicing can greatly enhance your workflow and data management.

Efficiency and Expertise in the Field

Keeping up with training for field technicians is important for the success of fiber optic operations. Thorough training lays the groundwork for building knowledge and expertise, allowing technicians to identify problems and come up with effective solutions on the spot. Fully understanding how fiber optic networks work, how to troubleshoot problems, and how to utilize technologies and equipment to its fullest potential is critical, and keeping up with training and certification is how this is accomplished.

New Technologies

Smart fiber optic instruments have been in development and testing in recent years. While not all attempts with these technologies have been successful, there are AI instruments beginning to show success for use in the field. Monitoring advancements in the industry can reveal important changes that encourage growth in the field of fiber optics.

Field Data Management

When performing installations or maintenance/repairs in the field, tracking what sections of fiber optic cables have been worked on, what still needs to be done, and tracking how long projects take to determine when the project will be completed is important. Additionally, keeping up with the materials used and what will be needed to finish can reduce down time and save money. 

Nowadays, field management and data technologies are available that can handle these operational management and data tracking needs in real time. Some softwares can even be linked to geographic information systems (GIS) for the visualization of fiber optic networks throughout the fieldwork process. This is useful for both field workers and management, streamlining fiber optic network field operations by creating an advanced knowledge base for quick and informed decision making and planning. 

UtiliSource can help.

At UtiliSource we offer a variety of utility management and service solutions for your needs. We offer utility engineering and design, compliance services, and GIS mapping services. Contact us today for all of your utility-related needs.