72 rescue teams carry out rescue work all around Estonia in order to save lives, property and the environment. Life-saving capabilities in Estonia are now the highest in recent years. For Estonian residents, this means greater confidence that they will receive high-quality help promptly in case of an emergency.
The activities of Estonian rescue authorities can be divided into five fields: rescue work, fire safety supervision, explosive ordnance disposal, preventive work and crisis management.
In order to save lives and mitigate the consequences of accidents, rescue teams need to be in constant readiness to arrive at the site quickly if there is a fire, road accident or an accident on water.
Lives can be saved in case of an accident only by a full-strength team, i.e. the one consisting of three rescue workers who can smoke dive in case of fires, save people on water, or remove a person from a damaged car.
Rescuers are where they are needed the most
Today, there are 72 rescue stations in Estonia, 66 of which have special life-saving capability. Our objective is for rescue teams to reach those in need as quickly as possible: currently a rescue team with life-saving capability reaches a person in need of help in 9 minutes and 53 seconds on average. Rescue personnel obtain the best professional training at the Väike-Maarja Rescue School – part of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences.
The contribution of volunteer rescue personnel is also extremely important: there are 115 volunteer rescue stations and 4 volunteer reserve rescue units. Professional and volunteer rescue stations form a pan-Estonian network covering both densely populated areas and those that are more remote.
Investments into equipment and knowlege
Every year we build new internal security facilities, which make it possible to improve our ability to save lives and bring us even closer to people in need. In 2014, we opened new rescue stations in Tallinn (Lasnamäe district) and Tartu (Annelinna district); and in 2015, rescue station buildings on Vormsi Island as well as joint police and rescue station buildings in Häädemeeste and Võru. The construction of a joint police, rescue and emergency centre in Pärnu is currently under way.
Modern vehicles and equipment kept in good working order are also of great help to our rescue personnel. In 2015, 6 ladder trucks were purchased for rescuing people from high buildings. In the coming years, the largest public procurement ever is also expected to provide rescue teams with 72 new rescue trucks and water-tank trucks and other special rescue equipment. In addition, new rescue boats are to be purchased for rescue stations in order to enhance the state’s marine rescue capability.The GIS-112 system that has been taken into use allows the location of a person in distress to be determined automatically so that help gets there faster.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Centre as a guarantor of security
In addition to rescuers, bomb technicians of the Estonian Rescue Service work in order to provide a safe living environment and spare lives. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Centre is also a major partner of the police and security authorities.
The tasks of bomb technicians include elimination of bomb, explosion, and ammunition hazards as well as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, underwater EOD procedures and using detection dogs for finding explosives.
Bomb technicians display highly professional skills in their work to prevent explosive ordnance threats. Having been well-trained, they possess experience and have high-quality equipment, which allows them to make a significant contribution to ensuring security in Estonia.
Under normal circumstances, bomb technicians arrive at the site within 90 minutes, and to islands, within 150 minutes. They also keep participating in foreign missions. 2013 marked a major achievement on the part of bomb squads: not a single death has resulted from a blast of explosive devices since then.