How can one receive help in Estonia in case of an emergency?

Getting emergency help in Estonia – what is the emergency phone number and how to get help in case of danger? When we move to a foreign country, we often forget to think about some things until they become an urgent necessity. However, in order to prevent bad consequences, one must find out in advance, where and how to turn to in case of an emergency, and how to prevent emergencies on his or her own.

Just like elsewhere in the European Union, in Estonia the most important emergency telephone number is 112. This number can be used to call as the ambulance, so the rescue team or the police. Call 112 if your or someone else’s life, health, property, or the environment is in danger, or if there is a reason to assume that such situation is about to occur.  Emergency number 112 is available at all times, and calling it is free. You can call number 112 also without a SIM card in your telephone, or if you cannot get a signal from your mobile network operator. Make sure in advance that your children also know the emergency number and encourage them to call for help in case of any danger.

What are the most frequent accidents and dangerous weather conditions in Estonia? Compared to other countries Estonia is quite a safe place. There are no hurricanes or tsunamis. Still, a couple of times a year serious storms happen, which can break trees, cause proprietary damage, destroy electric lines and lead to power cuts. In winter at times the weather becomes very cold, and in summer heatwaves are possible. Sometimes storms can bring floods along, but their scale is not as big compared to natural disasters that happen elsewhere in the world.

In order to save yourself and your property, before the start of a storm remove from your yard all items that can be blown away by the wind, park your vehicle in an open place or in a garage if possible, close your windows and charge batteries of your mobile phone. During a storm stay at home. If you notice a powerline that has been knocked down, please call Elektrilevi’s fault notification line number 1343, and in life-threatening situations immediately call 112.

If weather conditions start to worsen, make sure that you have a sufficient number of pocket lamps and batteries, as well as candles, matches, etc. Stock enough drinking water and petrol for your car as well. The Rescue Board advises all households to keep at least a one-week supply of essential goods and food products which in case of an emergency will help residents to manage the situation independently until arrival of help and restoration of a normal situation.  The list of necessary items can be found here.

The most frequent type of accidents is fire. In 2019 a total of 4556 fires happened in Estonia, resulting in deaths of 43 people. A very big number of fires were caused either by negligent smoking or careless use of open fire. 72% of fatalities happened in homes that had no smoke detector installed. In order to ensure fire safety of a home, anyone can install a properly operating smoke detector, which in fact is obligatory in residential spaces. Check that your smoke detector is in an operating condition at least once a month. Instructions on how to install and check a smoke detector, and how to ensure fire safety of the entire house can be found on the Home Fire Safety website kodutuleohutuks.ee.

Road traffic accidents are also one of possible hazardous situations that can occur when travelling in Estonia. In 2019 Estonia had 1411 road traffic accidents, with a total of 52 fatalities, 13 of which were caused by drunk driving. Driving under alcoholic intoxication is forbidden! It is also important to know that in Estonia in winter friction or studded winter tyres must be used, and that pedestrians are obliged to wear a reflector during dark time.  Instructions on how to act in case of a road traffic accident can be found here.

Readiness for dangerous situations and emergencies is the best way to save yourself and your close ones from unpleasant experience. The Ministry of the Interior has provided thorough instructions regarding behaviour in crisis situations. You can find them as in Estonian, so in Russian and English language on the website olevalmis.ee. In addition to that you can use Ole Valmis (Be Ready) mobile app, which makes finding important information even easier. Start acting, read the information available on the website, and be ready!