Rescue work

Rescue works

The area of rescue works ensures readiness for rescue works 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, and analyse services and develop them.


Over 350 people all over Estonia are ready for rescue works 24/7. We have 71 national brigades and more than 100 volunteer rescue brigades.


We respond to all rescue events on the basis of common principles. The Emergency Response Centre will dispatch rescue resources to the scene of an event according to its specificity, severity, and location. Events are handled according to a four-tier system, which facilitates the selection of resources according to the activity needed: Tier I – lowest, Tier IV – highest.

Tier I – Rescue brigades

There are a total of 71 national brigades of different sizes and capabilities in Estonia, as well as 119 volunteer brigades. The brigade network covers the state, ensuring that rescue services are able to arrive at the scene of the event as quickly as possible. In total, 93% of Estonia’s residents have access to life-saving help within no more than 15 minutes. The rescue team responding from the brigade is led by a team leader. The team leader is also able to coordinate the work of several rescue teams, if necessary.

Tier II – Field managers

There are a total of seven (7) field manager groups in Estonia. Each is guarded at all times by one rescue official. It is the job of the rescue official to ensure preparedness in their own region and to manage more complex rescue events.

Tier III – Operations manager

Each of the four Rescue Centres has an Operations manager and an assistant who are on standby 24/7. The task of the Operations manager is to ensure overall operational readiness within the borders of their respective Rescue Centre. In the event of a major disaster, the Operations manager coordinates or manages the rescue operations and requests additional resources from the Estonian Rescue Board as well as other agencies.

Tier IV – Operational duty officer of the Estonian Rescue Board

An operational duty officer of the Estonian Rescue Board is on duty 24/7. The operational duty officer is responsible for ensuring operational readiness across the state. In the event of a major disaster, the operational duty officer shares resources between Rescue Centres, requests assistance from other agencies, participates in crisis communication, requests and receives assistance from abroad, and coordinates and, where necessary, manages large-scale rescue operations.