Rescue work

The area of rescue works provides readiness for rescue work and performs and manages them. This requires a lot of people and equipment. We plan a rescue, for example, we determine the locations of brigades and evaluate their rescue capability, train people, analyze services and develop them.

Over 350 people all over Estonia are ready for rescue works 24/7. We have 72 national brigades and more than 100 volunteer rescue brigades.


We respond on a unified basis as a system divided into four levels and four stages. Levels show rescue capability and resources; grades assess the complexity of a rescue event. On the order of the Alarm Center, one rescue team responds to the Stage I event, and more teams respond to Stage II, II, III and IV events, respectively. Most of the events require the help of one or a few rescue teams. In Estonia, there is, fortunately, a relatively small number of high-level response and rescue works with very many teams. It goes without saying that a larger number of participating teams will also mean greater challenges to management. Our management model is also four-level.

Level I brigades. There are 72 different brigades of different sizes and capabilities in Estonia. The brigade network covers the state so that rescue services can arrive at the scene of the event as soon as possible. 93% of Estonian residents receive life-saving assistance within no more than 15 minutes. The first level of rescue work is managed by the team leader. If necessary, he or she can also coordinate the work of several rescue teams.

Level II Stand-by groups. There are a total of 12 stand-by groups in Estonia. In each of them, there is constantly one rescue worker on stand-by duty. His or her task is to manage a more complicated rescue event. In the rescue terms, we call them operative duty officers. The operational level of most of the more complex rescue events is managed by one or more duty officers.

Level III Regional duty officer in charge. In each of the four rescue centers, the regional duty officer in charge and his or her assistant are on duty 24/7. The task of the duty officer is to ensure overall operational readiness within a single rescue center. In case of major emergencies, he or she coordinates or manages rescue work and requests additional resources from both the Estonian Rescue Service and other agencies.

Level IV Operational duty officer of the Estonian Rescue Board. There is also an operational duty officer of the Estonian Rescue Board are on duty 24/7. The duty officer at this level must ensure operational readiness in the country. In the event of major emergencies, he or she will allocate resources among regional rescue centers, seek help from other authorities, engage in crisis communication, seek help from foreign countries and receive it and coordinate and, if necessary, manage large-scale rescue work.