Helsinki is ready for a potential nuclear strike. With fully equipped underground bomb shelters that are safe and offer a level of normalcy for Finnish people forced to seek refuge.
Russia’s ar against Ukraine, along with Finland’s Nato membership application and concerns of mass destruction, have compelled residents of Helsinki to clean out the clutter from their bomb shelters in preparation for potential nuclear war, reports The National News.
Since 1945, Finland has constructed enough bunkers to provide shelter for 4.4 million citizens, just a million short of the country’s total population.
“People have not been paying attention to our shelters for decades, using them as storage, but really the Ukraine war made them think about preparedness for themselves and their families,” said Petri Parviainen, Helsinki’s civil defense unit chief.
Parviainen’s shelter is built to withstand the blast of a nuclear bomb. The underground structure is reinforced with an additional set of doors that protect the refuge from radiation and chemical weapons.
One of the more well-known bunkers is located in Helsinki and 93 miles from the border with Russia; the Merihaka bunker features five levels of broad steel stairs.
In case of emergency, the shelter can reach a capacity of 6,000 in approximately 20 minutes. An additional 10 minutes are needed for civil defense volunteers to seal the doors.
There is enough water inside the shelter for almost one month.
The network of bunkers is part of the country’s comprehensive defense plan. It includes a 240,000-strong army and the most extensive artillery stock in Europe. It also relies on military intelligence, which Helsinki hopes will offer the people 72 hours of notice of hostilities and alerts of an imminent attack.
There are 40 sirens located throughout Helsinki. They are designed to alert its 650,000 civilians — along with tens of thousands of tourists and commuters from outside the city — to take cover in shelters with a combined capacity of 900,000.
“If we are under a general warning, people will receive information via sirens or their 112 app to move to the closest shelter,” says Tomi Rask of the civil defense unit.
“When the personnel are in the shelter, the doors are closed, and the shelter is over-pressurized against any hazardous materials. After that, we have several different driving modes depending on the threat. Individual shelters are given notice when to go to radiation-filtering mode. It takes 10 to 15 minutes to close the shelter and go on to full sheltering mode.”
Parviainen added: “Finland is ready.”