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The rescue operations of the Helsinki City Rescue Department

Helsinki City Rescue Department employs approximately 700 people. Approximately 520 employees are part of the operative staff, including the students of Rescue School.  The Rescue Department’s operational organisation also includes 15 contract fire departments, whose emergency departments include approximately 300 employees ready for operation, and approximately 150 of them are capable of smoke diving.

The total number of fire and rescue assignments carried out by the Helsinki City Rescue Department in 2014 was 8,144.

Fire extinguishing and rescue operations                  

Fire extinguishing and rescue operations include:

  • Extinguishing building fires
  • Extinguishing vehicle fires
  • Rescue operations of traffic accidents
  • Preventative actions during natural disasters
  • Preventative actions during environmental disasters
  • Rescue assignments of humans and animals

The closest rescue unit will be called for the extinguishing and rescue operations.

Rescue operations as part of emergency medical service

If necessary, the rescue units will work as part of the emergency medical service, performing so-called first response duties. This means that if all the emergency medical care units are on an assignment, the closest rescue unit can be sent to see the patient. This helps to minimise the delay in receiving help and the life-saving treatment measures can be started as quickly as possible.

Water rescue and diving

The post and unit of rescue divers is in the Erottaja rescue station. The rescue divers travel to the scene of an accident by rescue unit, boat or helicopter, if necessary.

The degree training of firefighters gives the capabilities for surface rescues. Rescue diving requires additional training, which can be applied for after achieving sufficient work experience.

The Rescue Department has Sea rescue Stations in Kaivopuisto, Herttoniemi and Suomenlinna, which also host the boat fleet of the Rescue Department. The fleet is equipped for water rescue, fire fighting, oil spill prevention and emergency medical care.

Damage control

The Rescue Department is responsible for damage control operations in the event of natural disasters, for instance storms and heavy rains, and for the prevention of oil spill and hazardous substance damages. Natural disasters keep the Rescue Department occupied, as they tend to uproot trees, damage roofing and cause water damage.

The statutory duties of the Rescue Department include oil spill prevention. In Santahamina, the Rescue Department has an oil spill prevention depot and a rescue vehicle specifically designed for oil prevention in case of on-land oil spills. The Rescue Department also owns boat equipment and other prevention equipment that allows oil to be collected at sea.

Rescue operations during disasters and exceptional conditions

The Rescue Department’s preparedness for disasters is based on a good preparedness for everyday accidents. The rescue operations of disasters also require extensive and seamless cooperation from all the authorities participating in the rescue operations as well as more efficient use of the rescue operations’ management systems and resources used in the operations. The Rescue Department also has a Situation Centre, which can support the decision-making process of the rescue operations’ director at the beginning of the disaster situation. If the disaster is long-term, the Rescue Department is prepared to quickly establish a separate management centre of rescue operations in the protected premises of the Rescue Department. In addition to this, the Rescue Department has the use of a management centre vehicle, which can be quickly driven close to the disaster area.

The Rescue Department also has the fleet and equipment to act in various disaster situations. In Helsinki, occurring disasters could be, for example:

  • Road traffic accident
  • Railway accident
  • Fire
  • Natural disaster
  • Disaster with hazardous substances
  • Underground accident
  • Airplane accident
  • Marine oil spill accident

 

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