International civil protection comprise providing assistance abroad under treaties and legislation in the aftermath of natural or man-made disasters or accidents, where the country’s national rescue capabilities are not sufficient. European cooperation in rescue services and civil preparedness has expanded from traditional assistance in rescue operations towards broad-based, multidisciplinary cooperation and civil preparedness. This also includes collaboration in preparedness and accident prevention-related matters, sharing of expertise and the utilisation of joint civilian capabilities.
The Emergency Services Academy is responsible for the training and recruitment of experts and for formation logistics in international civil protection. We coordinate the Finn Rescue Team (FRT), and international Finnish rescue formation which consists of the Technical Assistance and Support Team TAST, the High Capacity Pumping formation HCP, the Ground Forest Fire Fighting with Vehicles formation GFFF-V and individual experts in various fields. The formations and experts are deployed abroad by the State of Finland.
Formations are always deployed based on an official request for assistance, for example through the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism. The formation’s strengths include an extremely rapid reaction time, thanks to constant readiness. The decision to participate in an operation is made by the Director-General of the Department for Rescue Services, with the Ministry of the Interior answering for political decision-making.
Kansainvälisen pelastustoiminnan koulutuskalenteri
Finnish participation in international civil protection
Finland participates in international civil protection through the European Union, international organisations, and bilateral and multilateral agreements. Finland may, at the request of another state or an international organisation and by the Ministry of the Interior’s decision, deploy rescue and other assistance teams and rescue service experts abroad in the event of disasters.
In certain situations and by decision of the Ministry of the Interior, Finland can participate in the rescue operation by providing material support. Such situations include natural disasters, environmental accidents, man-made disasters, or destruction caused by terrorist attacks. The Emergency Services Academy is in charge of preparedness and readiness measures for international operations as required by the Ministry of the Interior. The readiness measures include recruitment, training, and logistical readiness.
European Union Civil Protection Mechanism
Reformed in 2014, the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism is one of Finland’s most important priorities in international civil protection operations. The Mechanism was established to strengthen and enhance cooperation between the European countries and to facilitate the coordination of civil protection, improving the prevention of, preparedness for and response to natural and man-made disasters. The Mechanism is based on resources provided by the Member States, which were reinforced in the 2014 reform through the establishment of the European Civil Protection Pool consisting of the rescue formations and other response resources reported by the Member States and formed in a standardised format.
Finland currently contributes to the European Civil Protection Pool with a Technical Assistance and Support Team (TAST). In the next few years, two new rescue formations will be included in the resources of the Pool. The formations of the Pool are specialised and autonomous rescue teams capable of rapid deployment. The use of resources within and outside the EU is being coordinated 24/7 at the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) in Brussels.
Qualifying for assignments
International civil protection assignments are demanding expert assignments that require existing professional competence and prior work experience. The training provided by the Emergency Services Academy helps build your competence to suit the international operating environment.
Qualifying for assignments begins with the completion of the basic course in international civil protection. After that, experts can either apply to positions in the technical support formation or to further training for expert tasks.
Expert positions include:
- technical experts (e.g. logisticians)
- rescue operations experts
- risk assessment specialists
- humanitarian aid specialists
- environmental impact experts (e.g. water and waste management,
chemical accidents, hydrology)
- coordination experts
- management experts.
Language proficiency and other requirements
Training for international civil protection is primarily provided in Finnish, which means Finnish language proficiency is required. During the assignments, oral and written proficiency in English is necessary, and other language proficiency is considered an advantage. Experience in leadership positions is considered an advantage. Applicants must be flexible and reliable and able to operate in a multicultural environment and in demanding operating conditions. A concise security clearance will be carried out with the consent of the persons included in the international civil protection reserve.
Being part of the international civil protection reserve requires commitment to the operations after training and the willingness to be deployed on emergency assignments. Before applying for the training, it is advisable for the applicant to discuss their availability with their employer and close relatives due to the rapid response required in emergency situations.
International civil protection training
The path to international civil protection assignments starts with training. The basic course in international civil protection is a requirement for the more advanced training in international civil protection and for applying for expert positions.
The Emergency Services Academy provides basic training for those wishing to participate in the formations under its coordination and in the Technical Assistant and Support Team (TAST). Those who have completed the basic course can take specialised and advanced training intended to prepare for the operations in the field. The trained personnel will also take part in tabletop exercises and field training in Finland and abroad.
Muodostelmat ovat henkilöstöstä ja kalustosta koostuvia toimintayksiköitä, joita voidaan lähettää muodostelman tarkoitusta vastaaville tehtäville. Pelastusopisto koordinoi tällä hetkellä kahta muodostelmaa, maastopaloihin erikoistunutta GFFF-V-muodostelmaa ja suurtehopumppaukseen keskittyvää HCP-muodostelmaa. Molemmat muodostelmat rekisteröidään EU:n pelastuspalvelumekanismiin.
GFFF-V-muodostelman ydintehtävä on sammuttaa maastopaloja Suomessa ja ulkomailla. GFFF-V:n muodostavat Pohjois-Savon, Pohjois-Karjalan, Etelä-Savon, Etelä-Karjalan ja Kymenlaakson pelastuslaitokset.
HCP-muodostelman ydintehtävä on veden pumppaus ja siirto tulva- ja maastopalotilanteissa. HCP:n muodostavat Pohjois-Pohjanmaan, Lapin ja Kainuun pelastuslaitokset.
Muodostelmien operatiivisen henkilöstön muodostavat pelastuslaitosten henkilöstö ja näin ollen toiminnassa mukana oleminen tapahtuu vain pelastuslaitosten kautta. Muodostelmien toimintaan voi kuitenkin päästä mukaan myös kouluttautumalla esimerkiksi TAST-asiantuntijaksi, sillä muodostelmien tukielementti (leiri, ICT, logistiikka) koostuu pitkälti TAST-koulutetuista asiantuntijoista.
Pelastusopisto hakee kansainvälisiin harjoituksiin osallistujia koulutetuille asiantuntijoille suunnatuilla hakuilmoituksilla. Pelastusopisto voi osallistua harjoituksiin joko kansainvälisen pelastustoimen muodostelmilla tai yksittäisillä asiantuntijoilla.