When planning an event, consider the following:

  • Make sure that the area is suitable for firing the signals. Take into account, among other things, aviation activities and air traffic, the surrounding terrain, roads and settlement.
  • The application process lasts 10 weeks in its entirety.
  • You are responsible for the event arrangements.

Before applying for a licence

Seek a written statement from the Rescue Services of the area regarding the firing site’s suitability for the event. Rescue Services will assess the effect of using emergency signals on local fire safety.

  • If the emergency signals you intend to use have a critical altitude of over 150 metres, apply for an airspace reservation from Traficom to set flight restrictions: Temporary airspace reservation and how to apply | Traficom
    Traficom can establish temporary danger areas or restrict aviation in a specific area for a certain period. Traficom will invoice the applicant for their decision, whether application process reaches a positive or negative outcome.
  • Discuss your event with the local Coast Guard headquarters (MRCC Turku in the Western Finland Coast Guard District, tel. +348 294 1031, MRSC Helsinki in the Gulf of Finland Coast Guard District, tel. +358 294 1100) or the police.

What matters are considered in the application process?

Take into account the following when considering the event schedule as the organiser for the use of controlled emergency signals:

  • Events should be scheduled in spring and autumn, outside of the actual sailing season. Events should be held at daytime.
  • Event duration must be proportional to the estimated turnout.
  • The licence will be revoked if a forest fire warning is issued for the duration of the event.

In principle, a negative statement from the Finnish Transport Safety Agency or the local rescue services prevent the granting of a licence to use controlled emergency signals.

Submitting an application to use controlled emergency signals 

Apply for a licence with the controlled emergency signal usage form. 
Follow this link to open the form (pdf)

Make sure that you have completed all the sections of the form and that your contact information is correct. Remember to also provide your email address. Doing so will speed up the process. 

Include, at least, the following statements with your application:

  • airspace reservation application
  • rescue services statement on the effect of using emergency signals on fire safety 
  • landowner's permit

Also include the following information:

  • exact start and end times for firing the signals
  • estimated turnout of people and number or emergency rockets, hand flares and emergency smoke
  • information on who bears the responsibility for potential accidents and the responsibility of the participants. This means, for example, whether a written personal responsibility commitment is required of the participants. Also consider carefully the option of a separate accident insurance policy is needed for the event.
  • a safety plan that contains at least the following elements:
    • who is responsible for maintaining public order in the firing area
    • who is responsible for the initial fire fighting, if necessary
    • who is responsible for first aid, if necessary
    • what is done with dud signals (precautions)
    • Whether the persons firing the signals are told about the precautions, and what they are told
    • access arrangements marked on the area map (e.g. firing, access and waiting areas)
    • protective equipment used during firing (e.g. gloves, helmets, safety glasses or visors)
    • possible use of demonstration rockets (for demonstration or dry runs)
    • contact details of the firing director of the event
    • the required emergency numbers (MRCC / MRSC + Emergency Response Centre (112)
    • advance notifications to authorities and communication plan

In the application, also indicate the organiser of the exercise, the person responsible and other information concerning the event

  • The permit holder for emergency signal use may be the person responsible for the event or a community.
  • If the application is submitted by a someone other than the person responsible for the event, the applicant is responsible for ensuring that whoever is indicated as the person responsible oversees the exercise. The person responsible must be available before the event begins using one of the stated contact methods, as well as during the event with a specified contact method.
  • State the start and end times of the event in your application. Controlled emergency signals may only be used during this time period. If you stop using controlled emergency signals significantly before the stated end time, the person responsible shall inform the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre and the local Emergency Response Centre.

Submit your application to the correct place 

Submit one copy of your application for events at sea and immediate coastal municipalities to the appropriate Coast Guard Headquarters at least 10 weeks before your event:

  • in the area of the Western Finland Coast Guard District, to the headquarters of the Western Finland Coast Guard District, by email to [email protected] or P.O. Box 16, 20101 Turku
  • in the area of the Gulf of Finland Coast Guard District, to the headquarters of the Gulf of Finland Coast Guard District, by email to mrsc.helsinki(at)raja.fi
  • elsewhere in Finland, to the regional police department 

Application price 

The Border Guard and the police charge a processing fee for the application. This fee is based on a Ministry of the Interior Decree on Border Guard fee payments. 

A requirement for processing the application is that the applicant has completed the application in accordance with the instructions, and that it contains the necessary statements and appendices. An address to which the invoice for the processing fee is sent must be included in the application.

Please note that Traficom will also charge the applicant a fee for a decision to restrict the airspace, if emergency rocket flares are used in the event. Details on the fees are available on the Traficom website.

If only hand flares and/or orange smoke are to be used at the event, the permit handler does not need to apply for a Traficom permit, and no fee for restricting airspace will be levied.

A copy of the decision to allow usage of controlled emergency signals shall be retained for at least two years by the authority that made the decision. The original permit decision must be delivered to the applicant, who must keep the permit with them at the emergency signal usage event.

Media interest in events

The applicant must agree on information sharing responsibilities in the Western Finland Coast Guard District with the Western Finland Coast Guard Headquarters, in the Gulf of Finland District with the Gulf of Finland Coast Guard Headquarters, or with the local police department, such as:

  • who issues the information
  • when it is done, and
  • where the information if given to (list of different media)

The release should also highlight the norms related to the use of emergency signals and state the key safety instructions related to the event.