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When the Situation Centre of the Rescue Department receives an alarm sent by the Emergency Response Centre Agency, the rescue personnel immediately leave for the scene of the accident. Based on the initial information, the director of rescue operations assesses whether the resources called to the scene are sufficient in relation to the extent of the accident. If necessary, the director of rescue services orders the calling of additional forces while on the way.

Upon arrival at the site, the rescue personnel immediately commence reconnaissance and rescue operations. The tasks are prioritised depending on the situation, and the rescue operations are continued until the director of rescue services considers the rescue operations to be over. The on-call fire officer at the Situation Centre maintains the city’s situational awareness and supports the director of rescue operations at the accident site.

Accident evacuation

In the event of an accident, it may be necessary to remove people from the hazardous area by decision of the authorities. In such cases, a limited number of persons are evacuated from their permanent places of residence and stay due to fire, leakage of dangerous substances, a serious accident or other situation requiring evacuation. The evacuation usually takes place within Helsinki, relying on the city’s organisations.

Terminating rescue operations

The site owner is obliged to take care of the post-clearance and post-guarding of the fire after the situation no longer requires the operations of the Rescue Department. The time is decided by the director of rescue operations. The director of rescue operations must notify the site owner of the decision.

Documentation of the accident situation

All accidents are documented in the national register of measures defined in section 91 of the Rescue Act. The register is maintained by the Emergency Services College. The Emergency Response Centre prepares an alert report for each accident. In addition, the director of rescue services draws up an accident report and, if necessary, a building report. If a separate investigation of a fire is carried out, a separate fire investigation report is drawn up for the investigation in the same register.

Fire investigation

The fire investigation must be carried out by the Rescue Department. The aim of the fire investigation is to prevent similar accidents and limit damage, as well as to develop rescue operations and operational capabilities. In the fire investigation, the cause of the fire is assessed and, to the extent necessary, the factors affecting the outbreak and spread of the fire as well as the course of rescue operations are investigated.

The extent of the investigation is affected by the severity of the consequences. The director of rescue services assesses each accident and, if necessary, fire investigators conduct a separate investigation. The rescue authority may also contact the Safety Investigation Authority, which is responsible for investigating all disasters and the related hazardous situations, as well as aviation, rail traffic and water traffic accidents and the related hazardous situations.