The irresponsible decision to close the Kopli fire depot must be reversed. The people of North Tallinn have a constitutional right to protection of life and health, i.e. to rapid assistance - whether the cause is fire, pollution, war or maritime disaster. In the event of an accident or attack, minutes cost lives, and this cut could be a matter of someone's life or death. The government's cuts to internal security must be stopped!
The closure of the Kopli fire depot is an irresponsible step that puts people's lives and safety at risk. When it is claimed that the closure of the Kopli fire depot will not lead to a decrease in the response speed of the Estonian Rescue Board, the question arises on what data this information is based.
It is a fact that:
- There are many wooden houses in Norra-Tallinn, which increases the risk of fires and their rapid spread. A rapid response depot is therefore needed on the ground. It must be kept in mind that this is a peninsula, bordered on three sides by the sea, with narrow streets and delays in life saving help in rush hour.
- There are a number of docks and factories in the urban area handling (fire) hazardous substances. The consequences of an industrial accident can be very severe, but today's Kopli fire depot has the capacity and training to respond to them.
- Northern Tallinn is the most maritime district in Tallinn. The risk of marine accidents and pollution is also significantly higher here than elsewhere, but the Kopli fire depot has the capacity to deal with this. Delaying help can be too costly.
- Northern Tallinn is home to Estonia's only naval port, which is also used by NATO allies' warships. They too may need the help of local rescuers; NATO does not have its own fire-fighting units.
- The Lilleküla fire depot, to which the 60 000 people living in North Tallinn would be handed over, already has a very heavy workload and the reality is rather that the Kopli fire depot helps Lilleküla today. In the event of a closure, there may be situations where there is no one to respond quickly to an accident - the rescuers in Lilleküla are busy elsewhere and help has to waited for example from the City centre, Lasnamäe or Pirita. This results in loss of life, destroyed homes and workplaces.
- Fire depots are part of a broader national defence. The Estonian Rescue Board is the state agency that deals with crisis management in the broadest sense. The experience of Ukraine shows how critical the role of rescuers is in rescuing people from bombed and collapsed buildings. On the basis of the foregoing, it can be argued that the closure of the Kopli fire depot runs counter to everything the government has said about broad national defence, internal security and security in general.
- The exchange the security of 60 000 people for 737 000 euros — pennies in terms of the Estonian state budget — as a result of a reckless budget cuts is short-sighted and irresponsible. Rescuers know that every minute counts and that money cannot buy back human life.
It is incomprehensible how the 110-year-old Kopli Rescue Command was able to find money in the post-war years, during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the financial crises, but not today. It is negligent, careless and disrespectful to both the residents and the rescuers.
On the basis of the above, we believe that the Estonain civil defence and the Estonian Rescue Board capacities in the district must be strengthened, not cut!
Manuela Pihlap, Head of Northern Tallinn Toomas Suigusaar, board member of the Estonian Rescue Workers Trade Union Hannes Nagel, Head of the NGO Crisis Research Centre