From the Director of Emergency Responce Centre Agency 2023

Emergency Response Centre Agency in 2023

The year 2023 is starting on a pleasant note for the Emergency Response Centre Agency. With the additional ERC operator training course finishing in December, our ranks are strengthened by 43 new operators. We will reach the target of 630 person-years agreed with the Ministry of the Interior. I believe that this will also be visible at ERC operations rooms and, once the new employees have received orientation, decrease the workload of operators. 

 Adequate staffing is important

However, maintaining adequate person-years going forward will training more operators, either by increasing the number of admission places or by organising additional courses. We have particular concerns about the adequacy of bilingual personnel. It must also be taken into account that the number of ERC operators needed is directly affected by trends in the number of emergency calls.  

Naturally, the number of operators is also important from the point of view of our cooperating authorities. This is because with sufficient operators, we can maintain and improve the speed and quality of processing emergency calls. Improvements in the efficiency and quality of the process ensures faster and better access to help for persons in need. 

Better efficiency through risk assessments

We introduced multi-authority risk assessments in December 2022. The new risk assessments give more leeway to operators, simplify the way operators form tasks and change the size and urgency distributions of tasks. Initial feedback on the new assessments is promising. Development of the risk assessments will continue in 2023 as part of a project to reform risk assessments in emergency medical services. The aim is for the work to be completed by the end of the year. 

Developing risk assessments is a way to improve the efficiency and quality of emergency calls. In this work, it is essential that the authorities involved in the risk assessments are active and clearly point out their development needs. We aim to implement the development needs of each authority into the ERC information system to ensure a desirable end result. Close cooperation is important to ensure that the risk assessment is effective from the point of view of both the cooperating authority and the ERC Agency.  

Delivery of the Erica ERC information system finalised

Version 2.1 of our most essential tool, the Erica ERC information system, was launched on 20 September 2022. At the same time, the hardware used by the system was upgraded. In other words, the Erica project has finally reached the point where the features that were originally requested have now been delivered. Naturally, work on the system continues as new development needs are constantly coming to light, but the foundation for the system is now ready and in use. 

In 2023, our plan is to implement the ERC Agency's operational picture system, which will allow us to monitor and describe the situation and functionality of the ERC system in real time. In order to promote preparedness, we have launched the development of an emergency message system, whose main goal is to remove emergency call traffic from the Security network (TUVE). This improves preparedness by ensuring that disruptions in the TUVE network do not affect emergency call traffic. We are also making progress with the automation of alarm system testing, with the goal of ensuring that customers can perform the tests when they want directly in the network and no longer need to contact an alarm system tester.    

Organisational changes through a reform of the management system  

The reform of the management system is one of this year's priorities. The aim of the reform is to help us achieve our strategic goals of developing our personnel's competence and work community, improving cooperation with our stakeholder network and to adopting new technologies efficiently while also preparing for disruptions. The aims of the management system reform include reforming operating methods to support the Agency's strategic priorities, increasing personnel engagement, improving the planning of preparedness work, ensuring sufficient coordination of plans so that access to human resources, funding and legal expertise are secured and assessed with sufficient accuracy, strengthening the role of emergency response centres and preparing for budget cuts going forward. The reform does not mean changes to our offices, but it does mean that there will be changes in the structure of the organisation and thus in the way we operate. 

The importance of cooperation is emphasised

A bill on emergency response centre operations is currently being discussed in Parliament. Once the law enters into force, the importance of cooperation will be emphasised further. The number of data controllers will grow to 50 from the current two. It is vitally important that we establish good working relationships with the new wellbeing services counties. This will be one of the year’s major challenges, as wellbeing services counties also begin their operations at the start of the year. 

We have cooperated effectively with different sectors for over 20 years, and I believe that this will not change as the wellbeing services counties take over the role of parent organisation and that we will be able to work together to provide high-quality, reliable and equal ERC services.

Taito Vainio 
Director General Emergency Response Centre Agency