An evacuation refers to moving people and property to safety from dangerous areas or locations. The evacuation is planned and implemented by an authority decision. In the smallest scale, an evacuation can apply to the residents of one house, for example, and in the largest scale, to the entire population of several municipalities. Voluntary moves by people are not counted as an evacuation, as it requires a request by the authorities.
An accident evacuation may have to be performed during normal conditions, and it will be implemented based on an authority decision due to a fire or some other accident or situation. In such case, a limited number of people are evacuated from their permanent homes or living places. An evacuation usually takes place within one city. A more extensive evacuation is implemented within a restricted area or in locations with a significant disaster risk. Such a location-specific evacuation area is applied during disasters or under a threat of one.
Due to a military force or a threat of it, a large-scale evacuation may have to be performed in Helsinki. In such case, the population of the entire city or people from several city districts will be evacuated. The government will make the decision on this kind of evacuation. The rescue services' management system will be applied to the management of evacuations.
Human lives and property are protected in emergencies by means of civil defence. Making preparations for emergencies is also part of civil defence. A blue equilateral triangle on an orange field is the symbol of civil defence.
Civil defence shelters provide protection against weapons, collapsing buildings, ionising radiation and toxic substances. The temperature, air quality and hygienic equipment of the civil defence shelter must be adequate for the purpose of the facility.
Civil defence is the responsibility of municipal rescue, health and other relevant authorities. Public authorities must draw up preparedness plans for their own sectors. The obligation to construct civil defence shelters is laid down in the Rescue Act. Under the act, all buildings of at least 1,200 square metres that are used as permanent dwellings or workplaces, and all industrial and storage buildings of at least 1,500 square metres must have a civil defence shelter.
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