What a DIFFerence a DIFFS makes

Did you know that the HELP Appeal doesn’t just fund the construction of hospital helipads but also the installation of Deck Integrated Fire Fighting System (DIFFS) on rooftop helipads too? This cutting-edge technology can extinguish fires quickly and effectively, protecting the helipad and hospital, ensuring the safety of those on deck and avoiding the need for a hospital evacuation.


How does it work?

DIFFS incorporates a series of nozzles which are integrated into the helipad and spray water and foam. It can put out a fire within 15 seconds, allowing air ambulance crew to continue treating and transferring a critically ill patient to the emergency department as quickly as possible.

Cost saving

DIFFS can save a hospital approximately £250,000 every year as it reduces staffing costs with firefighting teams no longer required to fight a fire. These savings can then be allocated to other life saving services.

Which hospital helipads already have DIFFS

The HELP Appeal has already provided £2.5 million to fund DIFFS. The first to ever be installed on a mainland helipad was at King’s College Hospital, London which opened in 2016. The second DIFFS was retro fitted at St George’s Hospital, London in December 2017. Kings College Hospital and St George’s Hospital helipads are now one of the safest in the country thanks to the HELP Appeal.

Where next?

The HELP Appeal is keen for helipads across the country to have DIFFS in place to ensure the highest level of safety.  The next DIFFS will be retro fitted on the rooftop helipad at Bristol Royal Infirmary which opened in 2014. DIFFS will also be fitted at the new Brighton Hospital helipad and on the new helipad at Manchester Royal Infirmary which both open in 2018. All five hospitals mentioned are designated Major Trauma Centres.


  1. DIFFS have been used on offshore helipads, such as on oilrigs, for many years.
  1. DIFFS was approved for use on mainland rooftop helipads by the Civil Aviation Authority International (CAAI) in 2016.
  1. The DIFFS system is designed to provide a safer and more efficient alternative to the current Fixed Monitor Systems (FMS) installed on roof top helipads.
  1. DIFFS offers substantial advantages over the traditional Fixed Monitor Systems which need fire crews in uniform every time an air ambulance lands.
  1. Fire crews cost hospitals money both in terms of paying for manpower and paying for safety equipment and clothing.  DIFFS save the NHS considerable amounts of money each year.
  1. DIFFS is a sprinkler system where a helipad is fitted with many sprinkler heads which rise from the helipad when activated and spray foam and water.
  1. DIFFS can extinguish a fire in under 15 seconds.
  1. DIFFS are activated by one person pushing a button.
  1. Wherever possible, DIFFS are installed during helipad construction. But the HELP Appeal has also funded DIFFS retrospectively at helipads built before 2016.
  1. The HELP Appeal has already provided £2.5 million to fund DIFFS.

To enquire about a having a DIFFS at your hospital helipad contact info@helpappeal-org-uk.stackstaging.com