Responsibility for smoke detectors to be transferred from the resident to the owner of the building
Several amendments will made to the Rescue Act and the Act on the Emergency Services Academy. For example, the obligation to purchase and maintain smoke detectors in apartments will be transferred from the residents to the owner of the building from the beginning of 2026.
The legislative amendments aim to clarify regulation and improve compliance with the obligations. It is estimated that about 20 per cent of all homes do not have a smoke detector.
The amendments will especially affect high-rise and terraced houses, where the lack or failure of a smoke detector affects the fire safety of neighbouring apartments. During the preparation stage, the amendments received wide support from various stakeholders. The Rescue Act will enter into force at the beginning of 2024 with a two-year transition period so that building owners can plan how to carry out the change in practice.
Other amendments to the Rescue Act and the Act on the Emergency Services Academy
The purpose of the amendments to the Rescue Act and the Act on the Emergency Services Academy is to reform the Acts so that the capacity and resources of the rescue services and emergency response centres are ensured and national and regional needs are taken into account.
The following amendments will be included in the Acts:
- The Ministry of the Interior will establish an advisory board on civil emergency preparedness, which will support the Ministry in further developing the rescue services at national level and coordinating operations with other ministries and different sectors.
- The definition of open fire will be clarified to harmonise the application practices.
- The provisions on the supervisory duty of rescue authorities will be further specified and a new provision will be added on the preconditions for inspections by rescue authorities during construction projects.
- Wellbeing services counties can continue to provide rescue services by purchasing them from contract fire brigades in accordance with the legislation on wellbeing services counties.
- The provisions on situation awareness in rescue services will 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 will be added to the Rescue Act.
- The duties of the Ministry of the Interior as the rescue authority will be supplemented and specified concerning the national command and management of rescue operations.
- The powers of the officer in charge of rescue operations will be clarified so that the powers can also be exercised during an apparent threat of an accident.
- In future, the Emergency Services Academy will 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.
The legislative amendments concerning rescue operations in the wellbeing services counties will enter into force on 1 April 2023 and other amendments from the beginning of 2024.
Ilpo Helismaa, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 488 422, [email protected]