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Helsinki City Rescue Department >  Civil defence >  Self-preparedness > 
 Self - preparedness

Self-preparedness refers to the preparative measures that individual citizens, businesses, facilities, departments and housing companies can take to prepare themselves for abnormal situations and emergencies. Organisations that have been established to serve this purpose operate according to instructions issued by the authorities while striving to maintain their independent capacity and living conditions for as long as possible.

Preparedness is based on everyday skills

The aim of self-preparedness is to prevent accidents, identify risks, act independently when faced with everyday accidents and medical emergencies and to learn the correct way of calling for help.

The actual measures to prepare for emergencies in residential buildings, companies and facilities are mostly taken beforehand, under normal conditions. Creating a rescue plan is an integral part of these preparations. The rescue plan, for example, details the foreseeable emergencies and the measures that can be taken to prevent them, appoints the required safety personnel and determines their training requirements.

The training for self-preparedness teaches you to prevent fires, accidents in the home and elsewhere, water and storm damages, etc. Teaching yourself these things and familiarising yourself with the related measures also prepares you to act accordingly in emergencies such as accidents involving dangerous materials that can emit hazardous gases.

Self-preparedness is a part of civil defence

In situations that require civil defence it is of utmost importance to have personnel with the appropriate training who can then train additional personnel if necessary. Trained residents and employees know what to do and their knowledge and confidence in the face of adversity also boost overall morale. The aim is to preserve the preconditions for living and working in emergencies as well.

In an emergency, self-preparedness is particularly vital as it covers all important areas in a crisis situation and the measures it involves are usually the first ones to be taken when an emergency occurs. As such, it forms the foundation of civic defence.


Section 8 of the Rescue Act (468/2003) defines self-preparedness as follows: "Building owners and holders, industrial or business entrepreneurs, state offices, facilities and departments, and other communities are obligated, on their respective premises and through their actions, to prevent the occurrence of dangerous situations, to protect persons, property and the environment in the face of danger and to prepare for those rescue measures for which they themselves can reasonably be expected to prepare." Section 9 of the Rescue Act establishes the planning obligation, which is amended by the Council of State's decree regarding rescue services in Finland. These amendments are the obligation to create a rescue plan (in section 9) and the content of the rescue plan (section 10).

Rescue Act (in Finnish)


 Guide for protection managers
 Guide for civil defence shelter maintainers
 Safety guide for city residents

Article on self-preparedness from Kiinteistöposti newsletter (pdf in Finnish)

Ministry of the Interior, rescue services (guidance, safety information, household safety guide)

  City of Helsinki, Registry, Rescue Department, P.O. Box 10, FI-00099 City of Helsinki, Finland
Tel: +358 9 310 1651 (exchange), Fax. +358 9 310 30029 E-mail: helsinginpelastuslaitos@hel.fi

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