The Royal Sussex County Hospital has received a £650,000 donation to fund a state of the art fire suppression system for its new helideck. The money comes from the HELP Appeal – the only charity in the country dedicated to funding hospital helipads.
Typically used for off shore oil rigs, the Deck Integrated Fire Fighting System (DIFFS) can extinguish a fire within 15 seconds by using a series of nozzles built into the helipad, which spray water and foam. RSCH will be among the first five hospitals in the country to have the system in place.
The helideck, which is part of the major redevelopment of the hospital, is due to come into operation at the end of this year. It will enable air ambulances to land directly on the hospital site for the first time – a massive boost to the Hospital’s role as the region’s major trauma centre.
Duane Passman, Director of the Hospital Redevelopment, explained about the system:
“We are extremely grateful for this very generous donation. It will allow us to provide the highest possible level of safety on the helipad. As with all such safety systems, we are fitting DIFFS with the expectation and hope that we will never need to use it. If it is needed though, the extra level of guaranteed protection offered by DIFFS to patients and staff makes it a wise investment, one that is only possible thanks to this donation.”
Speaking at the event Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the Help Appeal, explained about the role of the charity in purchasing this equipment:
“The HELP Appeal will fund DIFFS on all hospital rooftop helipads across the country as this state-of-the-art technology will ensure the highest level of safety whilst enabling the hospital to save money. Royal Sussex County Hospital’s helipad will be one of the safest in the country.”
Robert Bertram, presented Duane with a cheque on the partially completed helideck. They were joined by Gary Speirs from the hospital redevelopment team and Nick Delman and Mick Jackson from Laing O’Rourke, the redevelopment’s main contractor.