Rescue on land
There are hundreds of voluntary fire brigades in Estonia
A land rescue commando is usually a voluntary fire brigade with at least one main truck, with the crew using it and the accompanying equipment.
In land rescue, prevention work is mainly organised in two ways: public events and private meetings. Public events are usually info and safety days organised for the public, or a rescue tent set up at another public event. In some cases, a safe ice rink is organised in a community in the winter, so that children do not go ice-skating in places that are not designated for it. A private meeting is a home visit, during which the fire safety of the home is checked and people are given advice on how to make the household safer.
The rescue works of land rescue are broadly divided into three categories: fire fighting, helping animals in distress and responding to traffic accidents. The number of voluntary commandos reacting to traffic accidents is continuously increasing. Volunteers participating in rescue works are, depending on the agreement concluded with the rescue centre, at different levels of preparedness. In some commandos, the watch takes place with the cooperation of volunteers and professionals. In most cases, however, they are completely voluntary associations who organise the completion of equipment as well as maintenance of communications, vehicles and other equipment themselves. In order to simplify the operations of land rescue commandos, the Rescue Association has developed a volunteer commando information system VP-EST, which is free of charge for all associations.
Equipment and buildings
The Estonian land rescue commando buildings are very different. Some of them are former kolkhoz buildings, and others are modern depots built just for this purpose. Some commandos don’t have a commando building, which is why they are only ready to operate in the summer months. There is even greater diversity in voluntary equipment. Some associations are riding with soviet ZIL and GAZ vehicles, others use western cars. The aim of the Rescue Association is to harmonise and improve the readiness and level of the equipment and commando buildings of land rescue associations.
Several rescue organisations organise youth clubs. For this, they need to have enough interested youngsters, which is why volunteers are raising awareness in schools and in local communities. The youth clubs have regular meetings where people learn the principles of fire safety and ways to use equipment and technology. They are also engaged in suitable fire fighting sport.