Emergency Response Centre Agency celebrates its 20th anniversary
There used to be a wide variety of local emergency centres and emergency numbers in Finland. The national emergency number 000 was introduced in 1983, and the common emergency number 112 of the EU in 1993.
The Emergency Response Centre Agency was established in 2001, and the emergency number 10022 of the police was in use until 2011. As the Emergency Response Centre Agency turns 20 this year, there is now a single networked Emergency Response Centre Agency in Finland and the emergency number 112, through which all assisting authorities can be reached.
History of the emergency number
The emergency number 000 became the nation-wide number in early 1983 when general emergency response centres were established in Finland. Prior to this, the inter-municipal fire emergency response centres introduced in late the 1950s only provided fire and rescue services. There were designated numbers for other services.
The emergency number 000 was in use between 1983 and 1993. All tasks were recorded on a form with a pencil as recently as in the 1980s and 1990s. Calls were forwarded through a public address system and sirens were used to sound an alarm.
New emergency number 112 introduced in 1993
The current emergency number 112 was introduced in Europe in early 1993. 112 is the common emergency number of the EU, but there are major differences between member states in how the emergency number works and is known within the EU. In many countries, those who need help still need to learn several different emergency numbers for different authorities.
At the turn of the millennium, an act on a State-run Emergency Response Centre Agency entered into force, and in 2001, a new Government agency was set up: The Emergency Response Centre Agency. Back then, Finns and other people in Finland gained access to a unique emergency response centre service, the emergency number 112, through which all assisting authorities could now be reached. The Emergency Response Centre Agency is tasked with answering emergency calls, evaluating their urgency and forwarding the task to rescue services, the police, the Border Guard, social services or health care authorities for immediate action.
In 2019, the nationwide emergency response centre information system used by all parties involved in the activities of the Emergency Response Centre Agency called ERICA was introduced. The introduction of the new emergency response centre information system has made it possible to deploy a networked operating model in emergency response centre operations. This allows for emergency response centre services to be produced with greater certainty and quality, including in the event of congestion and disruption.
The services of the 20-year-old Emergency Response Centre Agency are evolving and expanding
The Emergency Response Centre Agency turns 20 this year. The staff of the Emergency Response Centre Agency includes about 600 security experts working in the six emergency centres of the networked Emergency Response Centre Agency in Kerava, Turku, Pori, Kuopio, Vaasa and Oulu. In addition to the emergency number 112, the services provided by the Emergency Response Centre Agency include the 112 Finland application, the emergency text messaging service, hazard information and services related to automatic fire and crime reports.
There are already more than 1.8 million users of the 112 Suomi application. The emergency text messaging service can be used by people who cannot hear or be able to speak to report an emergency to 112. The emergency warnings issued by authorities are forwarded to the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, page 112 of the teletext service, the 112 mobile application, the 112.fi website and the Facebook and Twitter accounts of the Emergency Response Centre Agency. About 19,000 fire or burglar alarm systems are also connected to the Emergency Response Centre Agency’s system.
The Emergency Response Centre Agency is an agency of the Ministry of the Interior, and together, we can ensure that everyday safety belongs to all of us. At the Emergency Response Centre Agency, we are making Finland the safest country in the world. We are close whenever there is an emergency.