International operations of the rescue services

International cooperation with the European Union, United Nations, NATO, the Nordic countries and other neighbouring countries is part of the daily work of the rescue services.

Finland may provide international rescue service assistance upon the request of another country, the EU or an international organisation. Finland may also request similar aid from other countries, if necessary. Assistance may take the form of rescue teams or expert and material assistance. It may also be provided in relation to natural disasters or man-made, major accidents.

Assistance can be provided in response to a call for assistance by the country facing the disaster; such a call may be sent through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) or the NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC).

The Ministry of the Interior decides on international assistance

The Ministry of the Interior decides on assistance provided to other countries. The Emergency Services Academy Finland maintains a register of international experts, provides training, holds exercises and is responsible for acquiring materials and warehousing.

When Finland decides to send experts abroad, the Emergency Services Academy Finland assembles the team and is in charge of logistics. Finland may send the following abroad

  • an urban search and rescue team
  • a technical assistant and support team
  • experts from various fields
  • material assistance, such as tents, blankets and other supplies.

Through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the EU Commission supports cooperation between European rescue services with respect to prevention, preparedness and assistance. The Commission also funds a range of projects through the Mechanism.

Local and regional cooperation by agreement

Finland has signed a number of regional and bilateral agreements with neighbouring countries. These agreements deal with accident prevention, preparedness and rescue operations. The agreements include provisions on requesting and providing assistance.

Finland has an agreement on rescue services with, for instance

  • the other Nordic countries (Nordred)
  • Estonia
  • Russia
  • Barents region countries and
  • Arctic region countries.

The contracting parties may request cross-border rescue assistance from each other.