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Estonia - Emergency planning

Vademecum - Civil Protection



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Civil protection tasks and objectives

The objectives of civil protection are to:

  • Examine and analyse the national crisis management system, including preparedness for emergencies and resolving emergencies while also controlling the functioning of vital (essential) services
  • Analyse and define possible emergencies, and the possibilities of preventing them or minimising their consequences
  • Assist agencies, which are responsible for responding to emergencies, on communication systems and coordination of emergencies
  • Assist the person responsible for the emergency and obey his orders
  • Give views on how to develop action plans for possible emergencies
  • Advise responsible people on how to develop guidelines for a risk analysis of emergencies
  • Advise responsible people on how to develop guidelines for an emergency plan
  • Approve reports on risk analysis of emergencies
  • Give opinion to the Estonian Government about the necessity of proclaiming or ending emergencies
  • Propose to the Estonian Government and the person responsible for emergencies to implement certain measures provided for in the legislation during emergencies
  • Attend to requests for international assistance
  • Keep the public informed during emergencies
  • Inform the public about how to behave in emergencies and restore critical infrastructure services.

Planning philosophy: Civil protection planning in Estonia consists of risk-based planning, holistic preparedness planning, national contingency planning (central, national), planning methodologies, risk analysis and risk assessment methodologies. Estonia has adopted a bottom-up approach to planning. Plans are drawn up at the local, regional and national levels. In addition, every national institution concerned (ministries, Bank of Estonia, big state-owned enterprises) are required to draw up their own contingency plans.

Civil-military cooperation

The National Defence League and the Defence Forces are called in to:

  • Administer rescue works and emergencies
  • Ensure traffic control and security during emergencies
  • Prevent and combat crimes (criminal offences)
  • Monitor a site, which can be attacked
  • Limit temporary border crossing.

International assistance

In case of international requests for assistance, the Rescue Board and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should firstly notify each other without delay of requests for assistance received by them and provide each other with an evaluation of the possibility of deploying the rescue team on a mission as well as and notify the Ministry of the Interior. Secondly, the Ministry of the Interior must approve the evaluation of the possibility of deploying the rescue team on the mission.

The processing of requests for assistance follows clearly delineated steps:

  1. After the Rescue Board and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have issued an assessment of the possibility of participating in the mission and its approval by the Ministry of the Interior, the Rescue Board should promptly forward the following to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior:
    • The request for assistance
    • The evaluation of satisfying the request for assistance
    • A brief description and numerical indicators of the mission assignment and the rescue team to be formed
    • The budget of costs of participating in the mission
  2. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should promptly submit to the Ministry of Finance an application for allocation of money from the reserve fund of the Government to cover the costs of deployment, presence and return of the rescue team
  3. Concurrently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should forward the request for assistance to the Government along with a draft Government of the Republic order, with which the Government should approve:
    • The structure and number of members of the rescue team
    • The budget of the mission
    • The duration of the mission
  4. The procedure set forth in sections 2 and 3 should not be implemented in the case that a request for assistance is received from a country with which the Republic of Estonia has signed an agreement for reciprocal provision of rescue assistance and for the fulfilment of which the competent authority is the Rescue Board
  5. The procedure set forth in sections 2 and 3 should not be implemented in case of a request for assistance received from a European Union Member State via the European Union Monitoring and Information Centre and whose costs are covered from the Rescue Board’s resources for ensuring preparedness of the reserve of the rescue team
  6. In the case of a request for assistance specified in sections 4 and 5, the provision of assistance should be decided by the Rescue Board in coordination with the Secretary General of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

When a request has been processed, the Rescue Board is responsible for organising the deployment of a team for a mission in coordination with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Rescue Board should maintain regular contact with the rescue team participating in the mission and, if necessary, notify the public and persons specified by the members of the rescue team of the progress of the mission.