Foresight and preparedness

Security threats to the Finnish society may have an extensive influence. For example, if a communicable disease epidemics breaks out, it is not just the well-being of people that is affected; hospitals may be over-burdened, schoolwork disrupted and even international traffic may be slowed down. Therefore, different actors cooperate to prepare for threats. Through cooperation, it is guaranteed that necessary tasks will be performed and, at the same time, it is possible to avoid duplication of effort and cut down expenses incurred. The aim is to mobilise the resources of all actors when security in society is threatened. This is called the comprehensive security approach. Through the comprehensive security approach, it is possible to uphold the functions of society, promote the well-being and security of citizens and safeguard Finland’s national sovereignty.

The functioning of cooperation is tested and developed in preparedness exercises which are organised by the ministries, regional administration, individual municipalities and various organisations.

Preparedness means activities ensuring that all tasks can continue with minimum interruptions and that the required exceptional measures can be performed during disruptions occurring in normal conditions and during emergencies. Preparedness measures include contingency planning, continuity management, advance preparations, training and preparedness exercises. Preparedness is based on the preparedness obligation laid down in the Emergency Powers Act (1552/2011), the Rescue Act (379/2011) and other special legislation. The aim of preparedness is to prevent accidents and disruptions, to prepare for the measures required during

a threat of an accident or disruption or during an accident or disruption and plan the recovery process. Preparedness planning and cooperation are the duty of the responsible and competent authorities. The aim of preparedness at national level is to safeguard society’s vital functions in accordance with the principle of the rule of law.

In the preparedness work, the focus would be on proaction instead of reaction. Foresight planning can only be successfully carried out if tacit signals can be detected and foresight methods, research findings, innovative experimental culture as well as data and geographic information analyses are used. Monitoring of change trends in the operating environment and the review of scenarios as part of exercises make the parties better prepared for unexpected situations. The second important part in the development of preparedness is the use of feedback, audits, accident investigations and other expert assessments. It must be possible to assess the quality and effectiveness of the preparedness in a reliable manner. This means that the assessment process must also be part of the preparedness planning.