3.18 Disaster Recovery

One Call Center

Practice Statement:

A one call center develops, implements, and maintains an effective disaster recovery plan that enables the one call function to continue in the event of a disaster.

Practice Description:

The one call center develops and implements an effective disaster recovery plan that enables it to continue operations in the aftermath of a disaster affecting the facility. Excavators and underground facility owners/operators outside of the area affected by the disaster can continue to conduct business with minimum to no delays in the services provided by the one call center. The disaster recovery plan makes provisions for the one call center to process emergency locate requests for the areas affected by the disaster. The one call center (the primary center) has a backup arrangement with another facility at a remote location (the secondary center). This arrangement includes the following:

  • Telecommunications—alternate routing schedules are in place and ready to be activated within minutes of the primary centers’ failure.
  • Software and hardware—the secondary center has compatible hardware with the primary center. The secondary center always has a copy of the primary’s current software.
  • Database—the secondary center receives the primary center’s database, including locate requests, on a regular basis and preferably in real time.
  • Staffing—a portion of the secondary center’s staff is cross-trained for the primary center’s operation at all times.
  • Simulated emergency testing—at least once a year, on a random basis, the disaster recovery plan is implemented to verify that it is operational.


  • “Model One Call for the 20th and 21st Century,” AT&T (was available when the practice was created but is no longer available)
  • Existing operating practices from various states’ one call centers


One Call Center One Call Center

Facility Owner Facility Owner

Excavator Excavator

Locator Locator

Project Owner Project Owner

Designer Designer