The instalment of the DIFFS was made possible by a generous donation of £574,023.95 by the HELP Appeal – a charity dedicated to funding hospital helipads. The donation funded the entire cost of the firefighting system and, in addition, the HELP Appeal has pledged to pay for the fire suppression system as soon as its installation is approved by the Civil Aviation Authority International (CAAi).
Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal, said: “The HELP Appeal aims to fund DIFFS on all hospital rooftop helipads across the country as this state-of-the-art technology ensures the highest level of protection. BRI's helipad will now be one of the safest in the country.”
Typically used in offshore oil rigs, the DIFFS can distinguish a fire within 15 seconds by using a series of nozzles built into the helipad that spray water and foam at the touch of a button. It allows air ambulance crew to continue treating and transferring a critically ill patient to the emergency department as quickly as possible and also negates the need for more traditional fire management measurements, saving the hospital approximately £250,000 every year, as it reduces staffing costs, with firefighting teams no longer required to fight a fire.
“Our helipad is vital to these services and, in the past, we’ve had to close the helipad due to staff availability. We now have much greater resilience with the new system, and this wouldn’t have been possible without the kind generosity of the HELP Appeal charity,” said Assistant Director of Estates Carly Palmer. She added that, with the money that the charity has donated, they are also working alongside the CAAi to trial a new lighting system for the helipad. “This is an incredibly exciting development, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the HELP Appeal,” she concluded.