From the Director General of Emergency Responce Centre Agency 2024

The command system will be reformed

The Emergency Response Centre Agency begins the new year with a reformed organisation. The aim of the command system reform is to streamline the organisation, improve the involvement of personnel in decision-making that affects them, reinforce the role of emergency response centres (ERCs) in the internal operations of the Emergency Response Centre Agency, advance coopera-tion with our stakeholders and improve the preparation of various issues.

We are modifying the operational culture of the Emergency Response Centre Agency to be more interactive, so that mu-tual trust and appreciation are strengthened, cooperation is improved, individuality and diversity are considered more, competence is developed systematically and the operational culture is re-newed to include the entire personnel. The biggest change includes the managers of ERCs becom-ing members of the management group in the new organisation. 

Our foundation is a good one. In the Reputation&Trust survey, we reached first place for the third time. The survey has been conducted six times since 2018. We have been awarded prizes five times, which means that, as an organisation, the Emergency Response Centre Agency is trusted. Our goal is to maintain the same level of trust and reputation in the future too, and with the com-mand system reform, we aim to contribute to this development. 

Ongoing development projects

This year, the Emergency Response Centre Agency will move forward with three major projects. The emergency communications system will be reformed so that emergency call traffic will be dis-connected from the safety network. The purpose of this is to improve preparedness, which in prac-tice means that emergency call traffic can be directed to the ERCs even in the event of a disturb-ance in the safety network. On the other hand, the solution enables developing the emergency communications with components that do not need to be tailored to the safety network. 

Another large project involves real-time text (RTT). RTT originates from the Accessibility Act and must be in place by June 2025. In practice, RTT means that an emergency call can include the text written by the user being visible to the ERC operator one character at a time. On the other hand, the person making the emergency call can see the ERC operator's response one character at a time. 

The third major project is the modernisation of the recording system, which is a system that rec-ords the emergency call traffic as well as the radio traffic between the ERC and the authorities. The above-mentioned RTT also requires the renewal of the current recording system, which is al-ready at the end of its useful life. 

In addition to these three projects, measures required by the Virve2 network are being planned.  

Future of personnel

Our personnel situation has improved in recent years, and we are at the level of approximately 615 person-years. The target set with the Ministry of the Interior is 630, but it cannot be achieved with the current amount of training. The Emergency Response Centre Agency has proposed that the ERC operator courses be increased from the current two annual courses for 24 students to two courses for 30 students. According to the personnel forecast made by the Emergency Response Centre Agency, which takes retirement and personnel turnover into account, this would be suffi-cient to maintain approximately the current number of personnel. 

The Emergency Response Centre Agency has been particularly concerned about the number of bi-lingual operators. In January, the requested bilingual course will launch, and the hope is that bilin-gual courses will be organised regularly. 

The improved personnel situation and changes in the management of the Emergency Response Centre Agency are reflected in improved VMBaro results. The results have improved in all meas-ured main groups, which include supervisory work, remuneration, job content and opportunities to act, competence, operational culture, work environment, interaction and employer image. In addi-tion, employees' own assessment of work ability has improved from 7.14 in 2021 to 7.62 (on a scale of 4 to 10). 

In addition, absences due to illness have been reversed from last year's 19.3 sick days per person-year to 15.2 sick days. This is also affected by the progress of the Emergency Response Centre Agency's proactive work ability project, and the aim is to continue the use of the proactive work ability project in everyday operations by making the objectives part of the concrete and measurable performance targets of all operational units.

Changes in responsibilities

The final sections of the Act on Emergency Response Centre Operations will enter into force at the beginning of the year. The role of the data controller will change so that all authorities partici-pating in ERC operations will be controllers of their own data. Until the end of last year, the Emergency Response Centre Agency was the controller of the data in rescue services, social wel-fare and health care services as well as the Finnish Border Guard's ERC information system, and the National Police Board was the data controller of police duties. Now the wellbeing services counties, the City of Helsinki, HUS and the Finnish Border Guard act as controllers for their own data. The aim is that the change will not be visible to the users of ERC services, and if it is, it is hopefully through higher quality operations.  

However, changes in responsibilities do not have a direct impact on our basic mission. We will continue to strive to respond to and process emergency calls quickly so that the right kind of assistance can be delivered to the right place at the right time.        

Taito Vainio 
Director General of the Emergency Response Centre Agency