At the local fire station in Dorotea in Västerbotten, Lars Rydstedt is the manager. When he is on standby, he must keep track of alarms from ten municipalities. At the same time, he will also analyze the municipality’s vulnerabilities and risks. He must also ensure that there are plans to be able to handle all possible types of crises, such as pandemics, power outages and storms. Things that also need to be practiced.
– Yes, you have to prioritize hard, you could say. So some are not done very well, says emergency coordinator Lars Rydstedt.
Several municipalities in the country testifies that not everything has time.
– No, I’m skimming on the surface. I do what is most important and make sure it works. I will never be able to work in depth, says Lars Rydstedt.
In Dorotea municipality Lars Rydstedt, for example, wants to create more so-called security points. Places with reserve power, in case of prolonged power outages.
– On the one hand, it is about making sure that people do not freeze to death. Gather people where they can get warm, he says.
It is missing today in villages around the municipality, according to Lars Rydstedt.
– And things like that, I simply do not have time for that, he says.
Ekot’s review has been able to show similar shortcomings in preparedness in many other municipalities. For example, more than 600 homes for the elderly lack reserve electricity, despite the fact that in several homes there may be people who need electrical equipment to survive.
Managers in nursing homes from different parts of the country have also testified to insufficient efforts to deal with heat waves, despite the fact that the elderly are a risk group in extreme heat.
It is primarily the municipalities that are responsible for their own emergency preparedness, but several municipal emergency preparedness coordinators think that the state should take greater responsibility for certain parts, such as emergency stocks. It may also be that small municipalities lack skills or that there is a risk of unnecessary duplication of work when Sweden’s 290 municipalities may try to solve the same problem.
Several municipalities also experiences that the need for crisis preparedness is increasing, not least in view of the risks of climate change.
Ekot has for several weeks been looking for the government, which due to the government reshuffle could not stand for an interview. The Ministry of Justice writes to Ekot that there are significant challenges for especially smaller municipalities, but that state authorities are available to support. Investigative work is also underway to strengthen Sweden’s crisis preparedness, for example with regard to such things as warehousing.
Lars Rydstedt in Dorotea, thinks, among other things, that more joint crisis preparedness exercises for the municipalities should be developed nationally.
– Give us the right tools to do a practical job. We do not have those tools, but we get to play between the municipalities. Here, I think you should be able to find coordination gains, he says.
But you could say that it is up to you municipalities to coordinate so that you do not invent the wheel?
– Yes, that is it and we try to coordinate as much as we can, says Lars Rydstedt.