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Fire Protection to Elevated Hospital Helipads

So you’re about to commence the design of the firefighting equipment requirements for a new elevated concrete helipad for Health Infra-structure NSW.

There’s the first problem, you’ve just discovered there are currently no regulatory Standards in NSW that cover this topic.

So, for the more experience engineers among us and to quote British Musician Peter Starstedt: “Where Do You Go To My Lovely” from here?
Whilst there are HI NSW Engineering Design Guidelines for Helicopter Landing Sites, it would be advisable to seek advice from the local fire authorities and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). Consideration of any applicable International Standards would also be advisable.

From experience on Coffs Harbour Hospital, which services the (largest) helicopter/s utilized by Health Infra-structure NSW and the NSW Ambulance Service to date, services include:

  • A foam generating monitor system, consisting of at least Two (2) off manually activated fixed foam monitors generating a minimum total of 5,000L of foam in a 10-minute period
  • Fire Water Storage of 5,000 litre, this will probably form part of the sprinkler water storage tank
  • 1,000L of foam concentrate storage; including initial attack quantity and reserve stock quantities
  • Manual fire hydrant coverage compliant to AS2419.1
  • Manual fire hose reel coverage compliant to AS2441
  • 1 x 3.5 Kg CO2, 1 x 9.0 Kg Dry powder fire extinguishers and 1 x Fire blanket

Regardless, Legislation and Standards are continually being developed and updated. Therefore, this list is not a guide for design it is simply a point in the right direction.

The helipad is the interface between many large HI NSW Hospitals and the Civil Aviation industry through the NSW Ambulance aeromedical services. As there are a number of stakeholders involved recognition should be given to the aviation industry culture of active risk mitigation through processes, systems, devices and an ongoing re-evaluation of their operational effectiveness.