Southwest Finland Emergency Services finished third in the competition.

Turku’s twin city St. Petersburg organised the Dekhterev Cup for emergency service professionals on 20 September 2019. A team from Southwest Finland Emergency Services participated in the international league for the fourth time already. The team finished in a respectable third place.

-  The competition includes two different courses, and their content varies by year. You cannot really practise in advance, but the other course is a labyrinth-like boat-fire simulator, which is similar to our smoke-diving simulators, just on a bigger scale, says sub-officer Juha Oksa, who led the Southwest Finland Emergency Services’ team.

Dekhterev Cup. Photo: Venäjän hätäministeriön Pietarin päähallinnon lehdistöpalvelu.

Oksa has plenty of experience of the competition as he has been part of Southwest Finland’s team every year. His own competitiveness as well as the prestigious and well-organised competition have convinced him to participate again and again, but he also sees the competition as a unique opportunity to get to know the rescue department’s colleagues, equipment and operations in the neighbouring country.

- In Finland, a fireman’s job description is extensive: the same fireman can go out to extinguish a fire, dive in water or prevent an oil spill. In St. Petersburg, the operations are specified more carefully: firemen extinguish fires, divers dive and special tasks have their own personnel, says Oksa, describing his observations on the differences between the two countries.

Dekhterev Cup. Kuva: Venäjän hätäministeriön Pietarin päähallinnon lehdistöpalvelu.

Torbjörn Lindström, Development Manager at Southwest Finland Emergency Services, also sees the firemen’s competition as a good opportunity to network and learn, for both firemen and supporter teams. In 2015, officers from Southwest Finland Emergency Services observed the competition, after which they have participated as a team. They have also sent invitations for a return visit.

- We often look west when we want to learn new things and develop our operations, but we could also get new and different viewpoints from the east, says Lindström.

The competition, organised in honour of Lieutenant Colonel Dekhterev Vladimir Vladimirovich (13 February 1904–13 February 1970), has taken place since 1978. Today, the competition has three categories: the best smoke-diving group, the best smoke-diving team and the best international smoke-diving group. All fire departments in St. Petersburg participate in the competition. Teams from abroad and various regions in Russia participate in the international category. From Finland, besides Southwest Finland Emergency Services, a joint team from the South Karelia and Kymenlaakso Rescue Departments participated in the competition.