Estonian Rescue Board unveils nationwide public shelters online map

Public emergency shelter signage, in Tallinn.
Public emergency shelter signage, in Tallinn. Source: Rescue Board.

A little over 100 public shelters, to be made available during times of emergency, have been mapped online. The shelters have a combined capacity of around 60,000 people, while the number of sites verified will continue to grow.

The project has been conducted jointly by the Rescue Board (Päästeamet) and the Land Board (Maa-amet), and the results are available via the searchable online map here.

Rescue Board spokesperson Sten-Patrick Kreek said: "In under a year, we have identified, verified and marked 103 public shelters, for around 60,000 people.

"The goal by the end of this year is to map and mark shelters for up to 100,000 people," Kreek continued, via a Rescue Board press release.

The interactive map drawn up in conjunction with the Land Board will aid with providing an overview, he added.

Public shelters are primarily intended for members of the public who find themselves out in the open in any town or city at the point at which danger warnings are issued.

Their identifiable symbol consists of a dark blue triangle against an orange background (see cover image) with the words "Avalik varjumiskoht" (literally "public shelter place") underneath.

Those for are at the workplace or at home at the point of threat notification should in the first instance remain where they are, and take refuge in a basement, underground parking area or any window-less room.

The choice of public shelter location is based on the criteria of the facility being subterranean, with sufficient durable construction, and preferably without windows, while also being sited in areas of high pedestrian traffic or where nearby buildings lack adequate shelter options.

The Rescue Board was responsible for inspecting the chosen sites.

Threats which would necessitate use of emergency shelters include those of a military nature, as well as exceptional weather conditions or pollution dangers.

While warning sirens are installed in larger settlements, threat notifications would also be sent as an SMS message via EE-ALARM, and also via all media channels, including public braodcaster ERR.

Notification will also be provided on when a threat has passed, along with information from authorities, which members of the public must follow.

The public shelters map can be found here, and also via the "Ole Valmis!" app, and on the Rescue Board's site.

Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets (SDE) recently said proposals will be presented to the government which would provide emergency shelter capacity to 730,000, within the next decade.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mait Ots

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