Rescue service operators and responsibilities

Rescue departments carry out rescue service duties in their respective regions

There are 22 rescue departments in Finland, which are managed by municipalities. Under the Rescue Act, the municipalities in each rescue service region agree on the organisation of rescue services. Rescue departments carry out rescue services duties in their respective regions. Regional rescue services are responsible for the standard of service of the rescue services, appropriate organisation of the operations of the rescue departments and chimney sweeping services.

Rescue departments

Volunteer, institutional, industrial and military fire brigades (contract fire brigades) also participate in performing rescue service duties as agreed between the brigades and the rescue department.

Contract fire brigades

There are about 90 full-time fire stations operating 24/7 and about 730 other fire stations. About 4,000 full-time employees and 14,600 people employed by contract fire brigades take part in rescue operations.

Besides rescue operations, rescue departments may also carry out first response and emergency medical care duties if this has been agreed with the health authorities.

The Department for Rescue Services guides and directs rescue services

The Department for Rescue Services at the Ministry of the Interior guides and directs rescue services and maintains oversight of their coverage and quality, is in charge of the organisation of rescue services at national level and coordinates the activities of various ministries and sectors in the field of rescue services and their development. The Department also decides on providing international assistance in this field.

Regional State Administrative Agencies maintain oversight of rescue services and their coverage and quality in its region.

The rescue authorities for the State are: Director General of the Department for Rescue Services and the public officials of the Ministry of the Interior and Regional State Administrative Agencies appointed by him or her.

Rescue personnel trained in Kuopio and Helsinki

The Emergency Services College in Kuopio is responsible for providing training for rescue service and emergency response centre personnel, and training in international civil protection and civilian crisis management. The Emergency Services College also provides preparedness training for various authorities.

Emergency Services College

In addition, the Helsinki Rescue School trains firefighters and sub-officers according to the needs of the City of Helsinki Rescue Department.

Fire Protection Fund grants assistance for projects to improve fire safety

The Fire Protection Fund operating under the auspices of the Department for Rescue Services grants assistance for projects to improve fire prevention and rescue operations. Revenues for the Fire Protection Fund are collected through a fire prevention charge payable annually for all immovable and movable property that has been insured against fire in Finland.

Structural reform of rescue services

The structural reform of Finland's rescue services is being implemented as part of the regional government reform.