Rescue professionals and volunteers could soon work in mixed units

The Rescue Board (Päästeamet) has laid off 120 people in the past year. Remaining staff say further cuts will affect their work (Siim Lõvi /ERR)
12/22/2016 8:27 AM
Category: News

According to the Ministry of the Interior, maintaining Estonia’s rescue units in their current form would require an additional €150m over the coming decade. For this reason, the whole sector could soon face restructuring efforts, daily Eesti Päevaleht wrote on Thursday.

According to Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE), a possible change could be the creation of mixed units consisting of professionals as well as volunteers.

Anvelt said that €150m in extra funding would be necessary if they kept up the present model without any changes. “There are known areas in the case of which there could be slightly uncomfortable decisions in the broader sense,” Anvelt said. “It’s obvious that if one trip of a unit costs more than €5000, this isn’t reasonable.”

An idea worth considering was the creation of mixed rescue units, Anvelt said. There were two models in use, namely professional state units, and local volunteers. Perhaps mixing the two models could be considered, that had to be analyzed. In such a unit, the commander and a few more officers would be full-time professionals, and the rest would be volunteers, he added.

Such change would affect the Rescue Board’s professional staff, some of which would have to be laid off. On the other hand, plenty of professional rescuers apparently already do other work on the side whenever they are not on call.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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