From the Director of Emergency Responce Centre Agency

Changes in the operation of ERCs

The rapid development of information technology is transforming the world around us. Technolog-ical advances have created new opportunities but also new challenges for many sectors of the economy. ERCs rely heavily on technology and are by no means an exception.

The Emergency Response Centre Agency will be celebrating its 20th anniversary next year. The Agency’s history can be divided into three strategic eras. The first years from 2001 to 2009 were about establishing the 15 ERCs on which the Agency’s work was founded. A structural reform followed in 2010–2015, when the number of ERCs was reduced to six. The third era, from 2016 to 2020, has been characterised by the deployment of a new ERC information system and a net-work-based operating model, which has also involved adopting new technologies and procedures across the organisation.

Change is an ever-present force in society, but the evolution of information technology has ena-bled faster and greater changes than ever before. However, the development of both technology and society requires us to constantly review our practices to keep up with changing needs. In other words, change is unavoidable, but the key is to change in a controlled manner.

The rate of change in the 21st century has been unprecedented and also challenging for us as an or-ganisation. We are once again at a point where we have to think about new strategic objectives. I feel that much of the way in which the Agency has evolved is down to technology. This is natural considering the aforementioned developments in society and technology, and technological pro-gress is very likely to also influence our next strategic era.

The Emergency Response Centre Agency needs to keep working on new technologies and services in the future as well. This requires close cooperation with other government agencies in order for us to be able to come up with solutions that satisfy all the authorities and make help more accessi-ble to the public. Even this is not enough, and we also need to focus on making our own organisa-tion as effective and competent as possible in order to maximise the efficiency of our ERC opera-tors and minimise their stress levels. Our new strategy must be based on developing new technolo-gies and services, our cooperation with other authorities as well as our own organisation in a bal-anced manner while also giving particular attention to our staff’s performance and competence.

All our development efforts must support our core mission of getting the right kind of help to the right place at the right time. This means making the entire process of answering emergency calls, reassuring callers, evaluating the urgency of each situation and dispatching the right units to the scene as fast as possible. This will help us to keep our place as the public’s first port of call for help and support in the future as well.

Taito Vainio 
Director General Emergency Response Centre Agency 

27.8.2020