The Rescue Board will continue to provide services that help to ensure the safety and security of the society: rescue works, explosive ordnance disposal, as well as providing safety-related consultation to the construction sector and carrying out safety oversight. The safety of the people in Estonia is our top priority.
In order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and minimise human contact, the Rescue Board will suspend some services:
With the order of Kuno Tammearu, Director General of the Rescue Board, the staff of the Rescue Board was assembled today, led by the national duty officer in charge, the purpose of which is to ensure the organisation of work of the Rescue Board and the joint rescue network during the emergency situation. In addition, the staff of the Rescue Board supports the work of regional crisis committees. The staff monitors the situation 24 hours a day and makes decisions based on the most recent information.
The Rescue Board will comply with the instructions and requirements issued by the Health Board and the crisis committee of Government of the Republic and recommends that all Estonian people do the same. Safety starts with each of you!
1. Will the Rescue Board help me in the case of an accident if I or a loved one is sick?
If you are sick, be sure to let the response centre know. In addition to rescuers, an ambulance will be sent to you. We will still provide assistance to all those in need.
2. Can I get involved as a volunteer rescuer?
Right now, the best way to help is to avoid crowded places, to comply with hygiene and home fire safety requirements, and to share relevant information with your loved ones. More information about joining the volunteer rescuers can be found on the Rescue Board’s website https://www.rescue.ee/en.
3. What happens if all or half of the rescuers get sick? What happens if rescuers get sick? Will they no longer work?
There are many rescuers in the Rescue Board – nearly 4,000 people are part of the rescue network. The rescuers work in shifts, so there is always a rescue reserve. The Rescue Board has a plan in case its workers get sick. Even in the worst-case scenario, the Rescue Board always comes to help when life and health are at stake.
4. Is it possible that the rescuer who responded to my case is infected?
Rescuers who are sick or at risk of infection will remain at home immediately, as will rescuers who have returned from a foreign trip or who may have been exposed to an infected person.
5. Does the rescue officer responding to an event have the necessary protective equipment to prevent infection?
Every rescue car has protective masks, rubber gloves, and disinfectants. Additionally, we clean our vehicles and rescue equipment daily. All rescuers have also been given instructions on how to avoid the risk of infection, how to act on the scene, and what equipment to use.
6. What rights does a rescue worker have during the emergency situation?
Rescue workers do not have special rights in emergency situations.
7. Will there be changes in rescue work? It is possible that the rescuers will not be able to arrive at an event as quickly as before?
The Rescue Board has made no changes to the rescue work and rescue work continues. We always respond to events where people’s lives, health, and property may be in imminent danger. In order to limit the spread of the virus, the Rescue Board has temporarily suspended home counselling and safety inspectorate visits.
8. How do I know that the rescue officer providing home counselling is not infected with the virus?
Currently, the home counselling service has been suspended by the Rescue Board.
9. Can I refuse home counselling?
Currently, the home counselling service has been suspended by the Rescue Board. When we start providing home counselling again, you have the right to refuse.
10. What and in what quantities does the Rescue Board recommend stocking up on for this crisis?
There should be enough food and other supplies at home so that the family can survive for at least a week without going to the store. This should be the usual food that family members eat every day, plus long-lasting food products (canned food, cookies, etc.). The recommended list and quantities can be found on the website https://www.valitsus.ee/en/emergency-situation-estonia.
11. What does the Rescue Board do for me during an emergency situation?
The role of the Rescue Board is to make every effort to help resolve the crisis and prevent the virus from spreading. If you cannot go to the store yourself, your neighbours cannot help you, and you are running out of food or other essentials at your home, let your local government know.
12. Will the Rescue Board refuse to respond to some events?
The rescuers always respond to the event when someone’s life or health is at stake. If a brigade cannot respond due to infection, the events will be resolved with the help of the nearest brigade(s). Nothing changes for the person in need.
13. Do rescue workers reach the person in need in an emergency situation as quickly as in normal situations?
Rescuers get to the people in emergency situations as quickly as they do in normal situations. What matters is how many major events there are, such as during a storm. Then, we will respond to the events in an order based on their urgency, with the most urgent ones being where someone’s life or health is at stake. The emergency situation does not play a role in the speed of response.
14. Are there enough rescuers in the brigades? What happens if rescuers get sick and go on sick leave; who will then responds to the events?
There are many rescuers at the Rescue Board – nearly 4,000 people are part of the rescue network. The rescuers work in shifts, so there is always a spare rescue reserve. The Rescue Board has a plan in case its workers get sick. Even in the worst-case scenario, the Rescue Board always comes to help when life and health are at stake.
15. Can Latvian rescuers also come to help us across the Estonian border?
The rescuers of our southern neighbours can still come to help us if need be, provided they have enough free resources. Cross-border rescue work will continue despite the fact that Latvia has closed its borders.
16. Do volunteer rescuers have the same training and equipment as professional rescuers?
The training and equipment of volunteer rescuers differs from that of professional rescuers. The team sent to respond to the event either consists of volunteers, professionals, or both – depending on which skills and equipment the event requires.
17. Does the Rescue Board need new volunteers? What are the guidelines for active citizens who would like to help the country?
Volunteer rescuers are always welcome. This requires undergoing training and passing an examination organised by the rescue centre. Due to the emergency situation, training and exams are currently postponed, but volunteer rescuer e-learning is still available to anyone. Information and application forms for applying to be a volunteer rescuer are available on the Rescue Board’s website https://www.rescue.ee/en.