A Social Emergency Tasks in Emergency Response Centers (ERC´s) of Finland

Anne Mäkinen, Tampere University

1           Introduction

In a Finnish society, safety, protection and certainty have changed to an increasingly uncertain footing. The birth rate has fallen, the demographic structure is changing in an ageing direction, income disparities and poverty is becoming more common. Social inequality, lifestyle problems and the number of people at risk of exclusion are increasing. Groups of people whose everyday lives are quite different compared to the mainstream population, for example in terms of living standards, quality of life and lifestyle, will be formed. Certain social issues seem to be piled up to the same people, such as unstable labor market positions, poverty and illnesses (Eräsaari 2002; Ohisalo et al. 2015). The tightening of the economy of society has caused for the universality to be pushed aside and the personal strength of the citizen to care for its own affairs has been emphasized; the individual is increasingly responsible for its own survival, wellbeing and health. The division of this relationship is already visible: prosperity will be differentiated and nausea piled up. (Paananen et al. 2012; Karjalainen & Palola 2011.)

In the 1990, the recession has been a kind of dealer in the Finnish post-war welfare society. The economic downturn strucked in Finland, the public revenues fell and then followed the growing public debts. Companies went bust, jobs fell, and private households were indebted. The recession changed the lives of several families and raised the risks that our social security system was not prepared for. (Harrikari 2008.) The recession brought about a variety of living and lifestyle problems, as well as substance abuse and mental health problems, whose effects have altered the lives of welfare state citizens for generations.

Social rights include a certain level of prosperity that is independent of the individual's ability to acquire care or livelihood. In Finland, the exercise of these rights is the responsibility of the public authority. (Pajukoski 2011.) The ERC Adminstration which is a public tax-funded institution, will serve the citizens as the first official link in the chain of assistance and safety provision providing the service through the six ERC´s and the general European emergency number 112 (ERC Administration 2017). The task of the ERC Administration is to receive emergency calls from all over the country that fall within the scope of the rescue, police, social and health services, as well as other information relating to the safety of people, property, and the environment, and to forward their content to the appropriate authorities or partners. The Ministry of the Interior manages and directs the ERC Administration in co-operation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. When a person in an emergency requires urgent help from the authorities, he or she will call the emergency number 112. In the emergency response center, the call is carried out by ERC operator, which, according to the instructions issued by the authorities, alerts the necessary authorities to the scene. Sometimes sufficient instructions and advice are sufficient for the caller.  The ERC will act as the first authority in the chain of assistance and security. Calling the emergency number is free and can be dialed, even if your phone's call balance has already been exhausted or the phone's SIM card is uninstalled. Help is available regardless of time of day. (Emt.)

The Finnish Emergency Response Center System is unique in receiving social emergencies; the other European countries who have a 112 emergency number, they do not have a similar social alert system to social authorities by the ERC´s as in Finland (European Comission 2019).

The Finnish ERC act as one of the authorities in cooperation with the social emergency services. Social emergency services mean organizing the necessary and urgent services in the municipalities, so that it is possible to have access to the emergency service 24 hours a day. (The Social Services Law in Finland, 29§) The social emergency services must have a public number to which customers may contact, if necessary. Through the 112-emergency number, customers are therefore also guided by the social emergency services (Hujala 2017.)

In the event of an emergency, every person staying in the municipality has the right to receive social services based on their individual needs, without being prejudiced against the necessary care or subsistence (The Social Services Law in Finland, 12§). The urgent social service includes, for example, crisis emergency support related to domestic violence and, possibly, the integration of family shelter, sudden financial support or emergency accommodation, and other essential services according to the situation. (The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Guides 2005.)

The study related to the article has seek for answers to questions: how much social tasks do Finnish ERC´s receive and what types of tasks are quantitatively the largest ones? A point of view for research is the authority, the ERC. There is still little research done about the Finnish ERC Administration and the ERC´s system, as well as its various sections. In this way, all research in the context of the public funds maintained ERC Administration will bring new information to the scientific community, to the social dialogue and to the international research field. The information obtained from the study has not been compared with the previous scientific research result, since it has not been published before in Finland. The international research field in the Nordic countries or elsewhere in Europe is also deficient in this respect. This article therefore opens an unprecedented perspective on the share of Finnish ERC´s as a social actor in the social work field.

2           Social emergency and ERC

Social distress is a concept that is used for tasks between social emergency service and the Emergency Response Center. In these authorities, it means the individual experiencing a situation in which a person's or another's health has been compromised or that the fundamental factors of the person's wellbeing have been shaken and cannot be resolved by the person himself or his/her loved ones. The development and formation of social distress are influenced and undermined by the aspects of human daily life. They may have evolved over a long period of time or, correspondingly, with very quick pace. The individual's social emergencies are evident either by the person himself, by his entourage or with a person who is completely bystander. (ERC Administration 2017; Hujala 2017.) Social emergencies include for example problems relating to domestic violence, abandonment of a child or problems with the elderly not coping at home.

Social distress may occur not only as a result of an individual, but also of sudden changes or events in society. Natural disasters, such as the damage caused by storms in energy distribution or the interruption of daily water supply, for example access of chemical substances to drinking water, as well as other crisis and disturbance situations, will get a social service to function and support and help their municipalities in continuing the everyday life. A situation of sudden crisis can also be an incident caused by an individual in a mass event or in a public place, such as a school shooting. (Hujala 2017.)

The social distress turns into a social emergencies when people calls in ERC. When ERC operator receive a phone call, forwards it to a social emergency service, or instructs the caller, it becomes a social task. The ERC operators are using the risk assessment content and the types of activity approved by the authorities in their work tasks. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has provided the ERC Administration with guidance on the task categories of social service sector, as well as the introduction of risk assessment guidelines (Handling of Social Tasks in ERC 2015/2010). The social task will be dealt with either by advice or instructions from the ERC, in which case the customer is usually advised to contact their municipality social service during the office hours. In those case we are talking about non-urgent social task. If the task is defined as an urgent social task in the ERC, it will be passed on to the social emergency services (ECR Administration 2017.) The alarm is usually given via the VIRVE State Security Networks Group Finland (Hujala 2017). The authorities who is responsible for municipal social services shall provide ERC´s alert instructions as to which authority, irrespective of the time of the day, has an emergency preparedness and thus possible to receive and manage the social task. According to the guidelines of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the authority should be the same for daily situations or major accidents. (Emt.)

A social emergency is not always evident in the emergency call received in the ERC, or it may be included in another task which is to be forwarded to other authorities (for example a police or an ambulance). The ERC operator shall find and detect these situations on the basis of the information received from the caller, and then act as the authority has instructed the ERC´s in it is respective role.

The social tasks managed in the ERC can be divided into four categories: tasks relating to children and young people, tasks related to elderly, family crises, and other acute traumatic situations (table 1). The table below provides a clearer example of what kind of social tasks have formed in ERC´s included in these above-mentioned categories. 

Table 1. Social task categories (Social and Health Ministry of Finland; ERC Administration)

Tasks relating to children and adolescents (The Child Protection Law in Finland, 25§)

Urgent assessment of nurture and care, parent/guardian’s inability to take care of the child, use of intoxicants or drugs, disappearance or escaping, breeding conflicts and problems, child custody and visitation conflicts, self-destructiveness or behavior harmful to others, violence against children, crime committed by the child, victimization of the child, sexual abuse

Task relating to elderly

(The Eldery Services Act Law in Finland, 25§)

Disappearance, found wandering, other problems related to coping everyday life and life management (assessment of nurture and care) a caregiver's sudden illness/disappearance/other problem, lifting assistance tasks

Family crises

Domestic violence, homicide, self-destructiveness or suicide, other sudden deaths in the family (child/Parent/guardian), disappearance of person, mental health crisis, adult rape

Other acute traumatic situations

Fire, traffic accident, temporary accommodation need, accidents in mass events, other violent crimes, sudden natural disasters that undermine the basic security of the citizen

The ERC is an authority whose customer relations are short-term. In the ERC, the customer's situation is evaluated promptly according to the regulatory guidelines. The information received from the customer who dialed the emergency number is unilateral and up to date, and the ERC is not able to focus on the customer's background or the thorough settling of the case for a long time; thus, the information remains short and relatively small. When the social task is transmitted from the ERC to the social emergency service, it assesses the urgency of the current situation, the measures, and the adoption of the guidelines. Their work ends with the fact that the customer is given the appropriate assistance at present time and possible access to the necessary follow-up services. (Hujala 2017.)

3            Material and analysis

The basic set of research material consisted of the social tasks formed in the Finnish ERC´s in the years 2011 to 2015, when the ELS-Emergency Information System (Einsatz Leit System) was in use. During to the investigated years, an organizational change was underway in the ERC´s, and the areas were merged and the ERC´s were reduced: the fifteen (15) ERC areas became integrated into six ERC´s by 2015: Kerava, Turku, Pori, Vaasa, Kuopio and Oulu. (ERC Administration 2017.) In order to facilitate the processing of the material, the material to be examined is combined throughout the period investigated in accordance with the 6 remaining Emergency Response Center areas. The social tasks have been excluded from the security telephone functions which, in the early years of the analysis period, were received in some Emergency Response Centers, in order to ensure that the calls for help of citizens to 112 were all uniform.

In the study it is not possible to identify an individual task, such as the customer, the task address, the day of the week, the time or the time of the year, the ERC operator who handled the task or the social emergency service worker received the task. The social task codes in use by the ERC Administration are not public, so the types of activity are written in a verbal form. No ethic approval has been applied for the processing of the material because the results of the study do not pose a direct or indirect threat to the participants. The study is anonymous on behalf of the clients who have called the ERC, the tasks to be investigated, or the authorities who have handled them.

The subject of this article is the total numbers and categories of the social tasks formed in the ERC. Study is over all examination. The results of the study associated with this article have been processed using the EXCEL spreadsheet. The material is analyzed by simple methods, such as percentage and frequency distribution. In this respect, the total number of social tasks and the size of the various social task categories were sufficient to answer the research questions.

First, I present temporally the results in terms of the total number of social tasks. Then I will look more closely at the quantitative distribution of the social task categories. The earlier debate and analyses around the subject often define the starting point of the research problem and the acquisition of comparable information is a matter of quantitative research. (Alkula et al. 2002.) The previous benchmark for studies on international or Nordic ERC´s in the same thematic area is not available, so results have been partially compared to domestic research results of child and elderly welfare work.

4           Results

4.1      Social tasks are growing quantitatively every year

In addition to social tasks, the ERC´s receive and transmit tasks to the police, health and rescue service authorities. In order to make it possible to relate the whole to the received social tasks, it can be seen as the social tasks transmitted from ERC´s to the different sectors by a percentage in 2015. During that year, 2 780 000 emergency calls were received in the Finnish ERC´s, which formed the following tasks for the regulatory field: most police tasks (51%), second most the emergency treatment, i.e. the tasks of the health care (42%) and third rescue tasks (6%). The number of social tasks was approximately 27 700; one (1) % of all tasks received and forwarded to the authorities in the ERC´s in 2015. (ERC Administration 2017.)

The number of the social tasks compared with the tasks of other sectors seemed to be low, but it contributes to the importance of the ERC receiving citizen’s social emergencies, irrespective of the time of day. In the years of investigation there was no direct phone number or 24-hour access point to a social emergency service in all municipalities, where you can go at any time. (Hujala 2017.) In this case, it is possible to contact the social emergency service via the emergency number, irrespective of the time.

The study accompanying the article looked at all emergency calls received in ERC´s in the period 2011 – 2015, where the ERC operator has ended up in his call for some type of social task. In total, 97 751 social tasks, formed in the ERC´s in the period between 2011 and 2015, was accumulated in the material concerned (table 2).

Table 2. Social tasks in ERC´s in the period 2011-2015, N 97 751

Year ER calls, N Social tasks, N Social tasks %
2011 3 165 000 11 532 0,4
2012 3 144 000 14 543 0,5
2013 2 981 000 19 130 0,6
2014 2 818 000 24 809 0,9
2015 2 780 000 27 737 1
Total 14 888 000 97 751 0,7

The result obtained from the material shows that during the five-year period under consideration little less than 100 000 social tasks have formed in the Finnish ERC´s. Secondly, attention is drawn to the fact that the total number of social tasks has increased in each year, while the amount of emergency calls received has fallen slightly. From the social point of view, the reasons for the growth of social tasks may, for example, be the effects of societal change on the individual's life; a variety of increased lifestyle problems, marginalization, or growth of unprivileged. However, the point of view in this article is from the authority i.e. the Emergency Response Center, ERC.

Changes in legislation, the rise in non-official social emergency services, the increase in the VIRVE devices as a social authority communication and alerts receiving tool, training of the ERC operators concerning social tasks, and the increase in the awareness of 112 emergency number can all be seen as reasons for the increase in social tasks.

Here in Finland a change in the Child Welfare Legislation in 2010, and the change in the Eldery Service Act Law in 2012 obligate the ERC´s to carry out, if necessary, a child welfare or elderly welfare notification to the municipality social authorities. If the ERC operator while handling a social task discover that child’s need for care, circumstances endangering the child’s development, or the child’s behavior requires to investigate the need for child welfare, it has a duty to notify the authorities (The Child Protection Law in Finland, 25§). Similarly, the information received by the ERC operator on an elderly person in need of social or health care, which is clearly incapable of responding to its own concern, security and/or healthy, it is the ERC´s duty to notify the municipal body responsible for social services without delay (The Eldery Service Act Law in Finland, 25§.)

During the years reviewed, local social emergency services outside office hours have been introduced in municipalities in accordance with the requirements of the law. During the first investigated years, there was no organized social emergency services in all municipalities. The ERC´s were had a unique telephone numbers to call social services regardless of the time of day. In those days, however, in some municipalities the current situation was reached, where the emergency center sent the social task directly to the VIRVE device of the social administration. The proliferation of VIRVE devices in social services in recent years has promoted equality of social authorities with other authorities and facilitated the transmission of social tasks from ERC´s. (Hujala 2017.)

Increased education and training of ERC operators on social emergencies, and the regular repetition of issues related to social tasks, has improved the identification of social emergencies in ERC´s every year. In addition, informing citizens on the appropriate use of the 112-emergency number in the various forums and media of the ERC administration has contributed to the calculated number of calls to the ERC´s: non-urgent calls in the emergency number have been reduced (ERC administration 2017.) With the provision of information to the citizens of the ERC Administration, citizens' awareness and understanding of the availability of 112 in the event of a social emergency has contributed to the increase in the number of social functions in the ERC´s.

4.2     Children and young people are the top of the social task categories

Children of the 1990-century recession are now adults, starting their own family life and the new generation is growing. The concern for the welfare of children has grown, both for public authorities and for private citizens, while public services and resources have become more stringent in terms of social economics. Although the welfare of children and adolescents has been found to have remained at a fairly good level, the number of children who use psychiatric services and the child welfare customers have increased. (Paananen et al. 2012; Satka et al. 2007.)

According to Hujala (2017), urgent social tasks are often related to children. The problems seem to be inherited over generation. The circumstances of the childhood have been shown to have a significant impact on man’s later welfare. The childhood family factors, the development environment and living conditions are important elements in the integration of society. (Paananen et al. 2012.) The activities of the social emergency service in the field are focused on to families’ child protection situations, the crisis situations in young people and the police measures, alongside domestic violence (Hujala 2017). These same task categories appear to be quantitatively higher also in the ERC´s.

Table 3 shows the total number of social tasks accumulated from the investigation period, in terms of their role and proportion. Each task category could be viewed individually, but this article focuses on only the first four, the largest in number. Clearly, the largest amount of types of activity were: an assessment of the urgent need for treatment and care for the minor, the disappearance of the minor or the escaping and other specific difficulties, domestic violence, and lack of basic care or the need for immediate care (table 3).

Table 3. The total number of social tasks in terms of their role and proportion, N 97 751

Social task categories



Children´s and adolescents urgent assessment of nurture and care

29 956


Children´s and adolescents disappearance or escaping

13 876


Domestic violence

13 175


Eldery people´s assessment of nurture and care

11 128


Child custody and visitation conflicts

7 578


Child or a young people´s breeding conflicts and problems

6 594


Children´s use of intoxicants or drugs

4 682


Crisis situations (customer/family/involved)

3 188


The type is not spesified

1 774


Minor with a police caught

1 281


Self-destructive coping problems

1 129


Assessment of living conditions; eviction, sudden need for
temporary accommodation

1 068


Victim of crime



Financial survival problems



Pregnant or postnatal survival problems



Interrogation by a minor



Evacuation, the need for a sudden temporary stay



Accommodation for refugees or asylum seekers




97 751


Urgent tasks, transmitted from the ERC´s to social emergency service, related to the assessment of the need of the child's nurture and care, are often overlapping with a situation in which the safety of the child has been compromised or that his/her needs for nurture and care are impaired. These tasks include, in addition to violent situations, a child in the company of intoxicated person, a toddler who has been found wandering alone on the street or a suicide-threatening person in the same place with minor child or children. (ERC administration 2017.) Social emergency services shall, where appropriate, arrange for a child's urgent placement elsewhere or another supporting action in the scene.

Contact about the adolescent who has escaped from the place for substitute care often come to the ERC, which conveys the task of social emergency service. In addition, these tasks also include young people escaping from home. After the assessment of the situation, the tasks will be forwarded to the police and, where appropriate, child welfare notification will be made to the social emergency service. It is often enough to convey the task to social emergency service only. In addition, a social worker on duty will make a request to the police to return the adolescent to the place for substitute care. (Hujala 2017.)

In the ERC´s, the third most tasks conveyed to the social emergency service, are the task related to domestic violence. The problems of children and adults are intertwined together to form a family-centered entity. The increased use of intoxicants, mental health and other lifestyle problems may bring with them the anguish that leads to violence. (Juhila 2008.) Domestic violence (close relatives) does not always come to the attention of the police. This is influenced by the different susceptibility of men and women to inform of violence against themselves. Domestic violence is spoken as a social public health problem that endangers people's physical and mental health, and reduces prosperity. (Lepistö et al. 2017.)

Domestic violence is also subject to children. Domestic studies show that direct and indirect mistreatment and violence occur in Finnish families with children. Over half of the parents with children aged 3-6 years, have reported having used some physical violence as a means of resolving a conflict with the child. (Lepistö et al. 2017.) In the case of violence against children, the proportion of hidden crime is high because children are often incapable of informing the authorities. Violence known by the police, 12% is domestic violent. (Salmi et al. 2009.)

4.3      The social tasks associated with elderly persons are increasing

According to the Hujala (2017), the activities of social emergency services are therefore geared to families ' child welfare situations, domestic violence situations and the various crisis situations of young people, but in particular, contacts concerning elderly have increased significantly in recent years. The same growth trend can be seen in the social tasks formed in the ERC´s (table 4). 

Table 4. The social task category "Eldery people; lack of basic care, the need for immediate care", N 97 751


Eldery people,

tasks, N

All social tasks, N




11 532



1 202

14 543



1 907

19 130



3 105

24 809



3 971

27 737



11 128

97 751


The social task category "lack of basic care, the need for immediate care" includes tasks relating to elderly persons, including, for example, the elderly person with memory problems found on the street, the elderly persons who disappeared from the home, the different lifting aid tasks from the floor back to the bed, and other social tasks related to the adjustment of the need of nurturing and care of the elderly. These social tasks were the fourth most formed during the examined period.

The life expectancy of the population has increased, the number of elderly people will grow and the need for elderly social work is becoming increasingly pronounced. The various societal factors define the ageing process by shaping people's own life, while people themselves shape different societal factors. (Seppänen 2017.) Table 3 explains the growth of the above mentioned social tasks during the examined period, from which can be seen a rise of more than 2000 tasks over the years 2013 to 2015. For its part, it tells the situation of the infirm elderly, who are still living at home, with the undersized need for nurture and care or the lack of it.

Institutional care has declined significantly over the last ten years in Finland, and the housing of elderly have been replaced by various service housing and enhanced service housing services. In-house housing is supported as long as possible, such as home care or nursing, and various other services. For many elderly people living at home and the familiar environment provide a sense of security. Among the clients of the social work are also older people living in service houses or institutions (Pulkki et al. 2017; Seppänen 2017.) The memory problems and substance abuse problems are becoming increasingly visible in elderly care. Loneliness and insecurity, dwelling exchange, retirement, and various losses are areas that may undermine the quality of life of the elderly, leading to problems. (Seppänen 2017.) In the ERC´s tasks related to elderly, these same areas are in the background of social tasks and, as can be seen from the results obtained, are growing.

The social tasks associated with the elderly in the ERC often come from an outside caller who discovers the situation. The caller can also be a close relative, a friend, a housekeeper, a residential neighbor or a real estate manager. In all of these situations, there is a person in the immediate circle of the elderly person who is concerned about coping with the elderly personally. In addition, a lone elderly person may call an emergency number for a completely different reason until it becomes clear as the call goes on, that the elderly needs the assistance of the social authorities. (Seppänen 2017.)

5           Summary

This article addressed the Finnish ERC´s as a recipient of social emergencies. The fact that in the ERC´s social tasks are being passed on to the social emergency service is still a new knowledge for many citizens. The purpose of this article is to explain what kind of social tasks are being received in the ERC´s and what types of tasks are the largest in terms of quantity, that is, how the social emergencies of modern society appear from the point of view of the ERC.

Social risks belong to life. They manifest themselves differently in society and in the individual's own stage of life. Often the situations are clarified without the help of the outside, but sometimes a short-term targeted assistance gives the conditions for the recovery of the individual's well-being (Paasio 2017). A person's own life experience, cultural background, family relationships or social community can contribute to the protection and coping of various risks. It is easier for the privileged to protect themselves from a wide range of risks than the underprivileged. In addition, life skills learned at home in the family are models for coping with different crises. Thus, individuals have an unequal status, for example in terms of their own life-management tools, economic, social or technical frameworks, to cope with the social risks. (Julkunen 2013; Kuusela & Ollikainen 2005.)

The social risks become social emergencies in the individual's life when the risks are not to be prepared, they occur suddenly or, alternatively, in a long period of time and the contribution of different situations, and the person itself is not capable of handling the situation in other ways. The ERC is often the first authority for a citizen to call asking for help in emergency. In this way, the role of the ERC as a helper of social distress is significant: calling is free, it can be called even if the call balance is finished up, and the call is answered regardless of the time of day. The customer itself does not always know that he or she needs assistance from the social authorities. In this case, the ERC operator can find information from the caller's background, which will be passed on to the social emergency service if necessary, and cooperation with the authorities will help to prevent any further escalation.

The investigation showed that the number of social tasks in Finnish ERC´s have increased annually. This may be affected by the changes in society, but, from a regulatory perspective, the changes in legislation, education and the increased awareness of the 112-emergency number have influenced the growth of the tasks. Most of the social tasks are related to children and young people, but older people are becoming a new group. It can therefore be seen that both extremes of the human life cycle are represented in social emergencies from the ERC point of view. These same themes also appear at the top end in family-related studies (e.g. The Health and Wellbeing Admistration of Finland 2017).

According to Paavilainen (1998), children's mistreatment is becoming a new public health problem in our modern society. This includes, for example, neglect of treatment, child's physical and/or emotional assault, sexual assault, or violence at home. (Emt.) The detection and identification of child abuse may be difficult even for public authorities (Lepistö et al. 2017). Certain factors may act as risk factors in families mistreating their children, such as unemployment, low level of education of the parent, families with many children, poor family persistence and a feeling of security. Use of alcohol and intoxicants, immaturity of parents, single parenthood, accumulation of problems and a weak social network increase the risk (Paavilainen 1998).

Due to the ageing of the great age class and the extended life expectancy, the Finnish population is ageing at unprecedented speeds over the next few decades. Today's elderly welfare work is very often confronted with mental health problems, as well as a variety of psychosocial problems. (Seppänen 2017.) Hujala (2017) mentions that the increase in inpatient care has for its part, contributed both intoxicants and mental health rehabilitees, and to elderly people, a range of sudden aid needs. In addition to the various memory disorders of older people, not coping at home, the growing use of alcohol has become a new phenomenon. Koivula et al. (2015) have studied this long-hidden problem. There are deficiencies in the life-management skills of older people whit abundant alcohol use, their family relationships are often broken and most of them are living alone. With those who are living in a relationship and using much of alcohol, lives were also associated with a variety of mental health problems and domestic violence. The increase in the number of elderly people, memory disorders, loneliness and living alone, as well as partly increased alcohol consumption, are imposing new pressures on the policy of the elderly in Finland (emt).

Accurate identification of the individual’s problem and determination of its state of seriousness, will help to promote the wellbeing of the client. Early intervention for social distress and effective collaboration between the ERC and the social authorities may prevent the need for longer-term support. Early interference can influence, for example, the daily lives of families or elderly people by giving them the means to tackle difficult situations preventively or to cope with everyday life in a safer way. (Lepistö et al. 2017; Hujala 2017.)

In urgent situations, it is important to contact the social authority immediately to obtain rapid assistance to the customer. This contributes to the use of the emergency number as a recipient of social emergencies and transmission of urgent social tasks to the social authorities without delay. The role of the ERC in social emergencies is important socially and for the individual. The ERC maintained by public tax revenues, serves as the first authority link in social emergencies, such as domestic violence or detection of neglection of child nurture and care and notification of those to the social authority. This, for its part, strengthens the need of the ERC to be a contact point for urgent social tasks related to the child. In the same way, an elderly person with memory problems found on the street, who is reported to the ERC and which is also transmitted as a task to the social authority, may activate a chain to redefine the need for nurture and care of the elderly person.

The organization of social emergency services is part of the everyday security of the individual and society. Social welfare and health care reform in preparation (SOTE) will bring changes to the social welfare act. It has been hinted that social emergency service could be organized provincially as one service. There is already experience in this from South Karelia and Southern Ostrobothnia (Hujala 2017). The second reform, which will strengthen the collaboration between authorities in the future, concerns the introduction of the Emergency Response Central system ERICA1, which has been enabled as I write this. The system connects the management and situation centers of the ERC´s and authorities into a single functional integrated whole. This helps, among other things, to the comprising of a situation picture of the authorities, real-time communication between the various systems, the sharing of databases and other forms of cooperation (ERC Administration 2017; Hujala 2017). Equally all, the emergency number 112 will remain the first loop of the citizen's help and security, which will also offer assistance for situations related to social emergencies at all times of the day, regardless their location.

As a researcher, I personally hope that the results of the study will evoke a debate on the role of the ERC´s in receiving social emergencies. Citizens are increasingly divided on the basis of a social policy debate, especially on issues relating to the individual's own life management. What is happening in society and among the citizens at the moment appears as the growth of numbers of customers using services of social and health care, safety authorities and the ERC administration, and also as a growth of tasks with a core area of children, young people and the elderly.


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Author´s Address:
Anne Mäkinen
ERC Pori / Emergency Response Center Adminstration
PL 112
28131 Pori Finland