Bristol Royal Infirmary has announced that a new Deck Integrated Fire Fighting System (DIFFS) is now fully operational on its rooftop helipad.
The development comes after the hospital received £574,023.95 in funding from the HELP Appeal – the only charity in the country dedicated to investing in hospital helipads
The HELP Appeal pledged it would pay for the fire suppression system as soon as its installation was approved by the Civil Aviation Authority International.
Typically used in off-shore oil rigs, the DIFFS can extinguish a fire within 15 seconds by using a series of nozzles built into the helipad which 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.
The DIFFS reduces the need for more-traditional fire management measures on the helipad, which have a greater running cost over time.
Bristol Royal Infirmary’s helipad, which opened in 2014, is the fourth hospital helipad in the country to have the system in place.
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. Bristol Royal Infirmary’s helipad will now be one of the safest in the country.”
Carly Palmer, assistant director of estates at the hospital, added: “The introduction of this state-of-the-art system will be hugely beneficial to the trust, as we’re the major trauma centre for paediatrics in the South West, as well as a specialist centre for adult cardiology.
“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.”