Skip to content
left end
left end
right end

06 June 2019

Bristol Royal Infirmary opens state of the art fire-fighting system on rooftop helipad

The Bristol Royal Infirmary has announced that a new Deck Integrated Fire Fighting System (DIFFS) is now fully operational on its rooftop helipad and has received a cheque worth £574,023.95 from the HELP Appeal - the only charity in the country dedicated to funding hospital helipads - to cover its entire cost.


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 entire 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, whilst enabling the hospital to save money. Bristol Royal Infirmary's helipad will now be one of the safest in the country."

Carly Palmer, assistant director of estates at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, said:

"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 helideck is vital to these services, and we now have much greater resilience with the new system. This wouldn't have been possible without the kind generosity of the HELP Appeal charity.

"With the money the charity has donated, we're also currently working with the Civil Aviation Authority and the deck manufacturer to trial a new lighting system for the helideck. Once approved, we will be leading the way for the use of technology for on-shore helidecks. This is an incredibly exciting development, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the HELP Appeal."