​Young people’s safety awareness increased in Espoo through collaborative effort

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2019-09-02 13:36

The City of Espoo and its partners are arranging an event, Safe with Espoo, intended for young people. The event will take place on 9–10 September 2019, from noon till 6 pm, at the Kannusillanmäki air raid shelter in Espoon keskus. At the event, various authorities and voluntary organisations will introduce their everyday work to the public. They will also be conducting outreach youth work.

The Uusimaa Regional Office’s call-ups for eligible men will be held at the Kannusillanmäki air raid shelter during the event. However, military defence is only one part of society’s safety, and the purpose of the event is to allow young people to see the bigger picture.

The organisers are particularly hoping to see girls and young women attend the event, as safety training might not reach them as well as it does conscripts.

‘For a few years now, the country has been debating whether call-ups should be extended to women as well. Here in Espoo, we are currently experimenting with a new safety training model, which also includes taking a step in that direction. Similar events have been organised before in Ostrobothnia, but we are scaling the idea up to a big-city level,’ says City of Espoo’s Chief Security Officer Petri Häkkinen.

All the 9th-grade pupils, students of high schools and Omnia in Espoo, as well as their teachers, have been invited to the event. In addition to this, young people are welcome to join the event during their free time.

Preventing social exclusion as part of increased safety

During the event, various authorities and organisations will provide an overview of their everyday tasks. They will also go over the different elements required to achieve overall safety and explain the related responsibilities of the authorities, organisations and ordinary people.

They will also introduce ways in which everyone can affect the safety of themselves and their loved ones, paying special attention to the civic responsibilities during crisis situations.

‘By increasing young people’s safety awareness we can simultaneously conduct outreach youth work. Reaching even one young person in danger of social exclusion and getting them to participate in an activity, such as volunteering for an organisation, means that we have succeeded. This will be truly proactive social work,’ Häkkinen says.

The organisations discussing their work at the event include:

  • Länsi-Uusimaa Rescue Department
  • Western Uusimaa Police Department
  • Finnish Defence Forces, Uusimaa Regional Office and the Guard Jaeger Regiment
  • Emergency Response Centre Agency
  • Some of the key organisations in Espoo regarding safety: the Finnish Red Cross, Vapepa (Volunteer Rescue Service), the Martha Organization, Women’s National Emergency Preparedness Association, MPK (National Defence Training Association of Finland), EJY (a community of associations based in Espoo)
  • The City of Espoo’s sports and youth services.

The programme of the first event day also includes a panel discussion ‘What are young people worried about in 2019’, which will take place on Monday 9 September 2019 at 12:45 pm. Petri Häkkinen will be leading the panel, joined by Chair of the Espoo Youth Council Joel Vanhanen, YouTuber Luukas ‘Luugi’ Koski who is currently doing his national service in the Finnish Defence Force's special tasks, Professor of Practice in Cyber Security Jarno Limnéll from Aalto University and Detective Chief Inspector Petri Launiainen from the Western Uusimaa Police Department.

Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo (Green League) will also address the media at the press conference that will take place just before the panel discussion.

Espoo plans to expand the event

The City of Espoo intends to make these young people’s safety events an annual tradition. The organisation of the first one has been characterised by a tight schedule and experimentation.

‘We are planning to increase safety awareness, not just amongst young people, but all the residents of Espoo. Once the first event is over we will begin honing the concept. Our long-term goal is to create a model of a comprehensive safety ecosystem in Espoo. Such a model could also be utilised in other parts of the country and further developed to suit their local requirements,’ says Häkkinen.

More information

Chief Security Officer Petri Häkkinen, City of Espoo, +358 43 824 5679, petri.hakkinen@espoo.fi