Sari Rautiala from CTIF´s Commission for Women in Fire & Rescue S.ervices was selected for the For the Firefighter of the Year Award in Finland
13 Oct 2023

Sari Rautiala - Finland´s Firefighter of the Year 2023 - has made firefighters´work known and increased the positive publicity of the rescue industry


During her long career, Sari Rautiala, who was chosen as Firefighter of the Year 2023, has made the work of a firefighter known and increased the positive publicity of the rescue industry.

Sari Rautiala, who works at the Vantaankoski rescue station, works with a humane attitude and long-term minded goals, according to the Finnish rescue site Palakuuntan.fi.

Sari Rautiala says that she is motivated by the desire to help and the variability of the work. Also in the reasons for the Firefighter of the Year recognition, it is stated that the work she does shows the basic element of the rescue profession, i.e. the human desire to help.

"In this field, you can get close to people and you can see the meaning of your own work", she says. In addition, the work is often hectic and every working day is different, Rautiala states.

There have been so many memorable moments in her nearly 30-year career,  that she says is difficult for her to single out one that has been especially worth mentioning.

"Even the smallest things in meeting people have been able to stick in my mind - for better or for worse", she says.


Sari Rautiala, Firefighter of the Year in Finland 2023

The recognition comes from long-term work and visibility in the rescue industry

Rautiala's career has been followed with interest, as there are few women with formal firefighting qualifications. In 1995, she graduated from Pelastusopisto's firefighter degree program as the first woman to graduate.

Qualities like long-term goal-oriented daily work as a rescuer and a good attitude are cited as the basis for Rautiala's selection as Firefighter of the Year 2023. In addition, she has brought positive visibility and recognition to the rescue industry and equality nationwide.


Photo above: Sari Rautiala, Firefighter of the Year in Finland 2023. Read the original article in Finnish here.



Keeping up with the pace of a changing world the largest challenge

In Rautiala's opinion, the most challenging thing in the profession is to keep up with the pace of the changing world.

"The rescue industry is developing all the time and we should gather to maintain our own expertise", she says.

He hopes that the traction and holding power of the rescue industry could be developed in the future.

"When I applied to the Rescue College, there were many applicants. It seems that nowadays the profession of firefighter is not so sought after... Big things, such as salary and retirement age, certainly affect popularity. However, the industry needs more young people", Rautiala continues.


The Firefighter of the Year award speaks of exemplary performance

The Firefighter of the Year is a recognition of exemplary activity, the performance of a rescue task that deserves special recognition, or another act that raises the value of the rescue industry, rescue services or fire departments.


Sari Rautiala is a member of the  Finnish network for Women in Fire and Rescue Services and a guest member of CTIF´s Commission for Women in Fire and Rescue.

As the previous chair of the Commission and a current member of the Commission Board, CTIF´s Mira Leinonen is proud to hear of Sari receiving the award this year:

"Sari has been helping us with various projects and she is focused in Finland on occupational health and has always been open to being an example for girls", Mira Leinonen says to CTIF News.  


Mikko Saastamoinen, Finland´s Firefighter of the Year 2020.

The second CTIF member to receive this prestigious award

Previously, CTIF´s Mikko Saastamoinen was selected as the 2020 "Firefighter of the Year" in Finland in recognition of his work to implement the ISO 17840 standard for vehicle rescue in Finland. 

Finland was first among the Nordic countries to implement the new ISO 17840 standard, as CTIF News wrote about on October 14, 2020 , after Belgium and France who were the two countries that took the initiative to the new standard and eventually realized it through CTIF and ISO. 

Miikko represents Finland in the CTIF Commission for Extrication & New Technologies since 2015, and currently also holds the position as Commission Chair since 2022.