Apr 29

Emergency Restoration Kits: Planning & Preparation

The majority of fiber system outages result from localized damage that only extends 3-5 meters on each side. To limit and reduce the downtime of a cut or damaged fiber optic system, having an emergency restoration kit (ERK) on hot standby is imperative.

An ERK is a short patch length repair method used for quick, temporary restorations. It consists of two special organizer/closure boxes terminated on a fiber optic cable that is spooled on a quick deployment reel and packaged in a carrying case with all the necessary tools. ERKs are a lightweight, portable means of restoring continuity without having to deploy large bulky cable reels. 

A typical ERK consists of:

  • A length of cable, ranging from 100 to 300 feet, that matches the fiber count, cable structure and jacket type of your own fiber optic network.
  • Two OSP closures or suitcase closures with enough splice trays to accommodate the absolutely necessary and priority fibers in your network.
  • Splices and splice protectors.
  • Any test equipment necessary to evaluate the network.
  • Hand tools for cleaving, cable preparation, and splicing.
  • Consumables such as cleaning materials, epoxy or RTV, connector polishing supplies, and spare batteries for your electronic test and measurement tools.

Some companies build their ERKs to match the highest fiber count cable in their network. Others prep one end of the cable in each of their closures in advance to reduce the amount of time necessary to complete the repair. All-inclusive ERK kits are available as well, with suitcase-style OSP temporary closures and cable. You just define the cable type and fiber counts and your ERK is complete.

It is crucial to conduct an annual or semi-annual inspection of your ERKs. Care and attention should be given to dated consumables and supplies like batteries, cleaning solvents, and epoxies. Items that are near or past their expiration date should be flagged or disposed of to avoid complications during an outage.