Several amendments are proposed to the Rescue Act and the Act on the Emergency Services Academy
It is proposed that the responsibility for smoke detectors be transferred from the resident to the owner of the building
The Government proposes several amendments to the Rescue Act and the Act on the Emergency Services Academy. For example, it is proposed that the obligation to purchase and maintain smoke detectors in apartments be transferred from residents to building owners.
The change aims to clarify regulation and improve compliance with the obligations. The proposed legislative amendment would especially affect high-rise and terraced houses, where the lack or failure of a smoke detector affects the fire safety of neighbouring apartments. The amendment to the obligation to purchase and maintain smoke detectors was widely supported during the consultation round.
The rescue services receive 3,000 calls each year to put down fires in residential buildings. According to the rescue services accident statistics, in almost half of the incidents the home did not have a functioning smoke detector. It is estimated that about 20 per cent of all homes do not have a smoke detector.
Other proposed amendments to the Rescue Act and the Act on the Emergency Services Academy
• Provisions on an advisory board for civil emergency preparedness would be added to the Rescue Act.
• The provisions on the supervisory duty of rescue departments would be further specified and a new provision would be added on the preconditions for inspections by rescue authorities during construction projects.
• Regulation concerning the role of contract fire brigades as providers of rescue services would be amended to comply with the legislation on wellbeing services counties.
• The provisions on situation awareness in rescue services would be further specified.
• Provisions on the command and management of rescue operations, the provision of assistance and the planning of cooperation in the collaborative area for healthcare and social welfare would be added to the Rescue Act.
• The duties of the Ministry of the Interior as the rescue authority would be supplemented and specified concerning the national command and management of rescue operations. In addition, the provisions on central government participation in maintaining the capacity required in rescue services would be supplemented.
• The powers of the officer in charge of rescue operations would be clarified so that the powers could also be exercised during an apparent threat of an accident.
• The right of access to information under the Rescue Act, register provisions, definitions etc. would be further specified and supplemented, and provisions on compensation for the costs of rescue services would be further specified.
• A new provision would be added to the Act on the Emergency Services Academy, under which the Academy could decide on the eligibility of professional qualifications obtained in another EU or EEA Member State to work in a rescue service post or position, as a chimney sweep or as an emergency response centre operator.
Most of the proposed amendments would enter into force on 1 January 2024. However, a two-year transition period is proposed for changing the obligation to purchase and maintain smoke detectors so that building owners can plan how to carry out the change in practice in each building.
Ilpo Helismaa, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 488 422, [email protected]