The new Bayards Safedeck is a state-of-the-art helicopter landing platform with enhanced, passive fire suppressing performance. In the unfortunate event of a helicopter crash, a jet fuel spill is likely to generate a fire outbreak on the helideck. On a conventional helideck, even though the fuel is drained via the perimeter gutter system, jet fuel ponding may occur, ignite, and continue to burn until the firefighting system is activated, with potentially devastating effects on passengers and crew equipment and structure. Following further innovative improvements, the Bayards Safedeck is now specially designed to optimally drain any (burning) liquids directly through the perforated deck surface into a drainage system and away from the helideck. This means that the fire is prevented from fully developing and ultimately getting out of control. In addition, it autonomously and immediately suppresses the fire by combining removing fuel, cutting off the oxygen supply, and cooling.
To achieve enhanced "Safedeck" fire suppressing performance, the deck surface is designed with drain holes. The fuel spill is quickly drained from the surface and flows into the hollows of the extruded aluminium helideck planks. The hollow deck profiles are filled with expanded aluminium foil mesh, which acts as an oxygen barrier between the drained fuel and the air. In addition, being aluminium, by nature, it is an excellent heat conductor. Therefore the aluminium wool absorbs the heat from any fire above the surface. The combination of fuel drainage, oxygen starvation and heat absorption results in almost instantaneous fire extinction. The original expanded aluminium foil mesh is used for fuel tanks of military vehicles, aeroplanes and space shuttles. Even though the Bayards Safedeck is installed on manned platforms, it has been initially developed for Normally Unattended Installations (NUI).
Firefighting capabilities are generally limited on unmanned platforms, and a foam system is sometimes not a viable option. In such circumstances, the Safedeck system provides the best alternative, especially in combination with a water-only Deck Integrated Fire Fighting System (DIFFS):
the firewater is released via a series of pop up nozzles integrated into the helideck surface and quickly flushes the fuel from the deck, as well as providing a cooling effect on any trapped fire, e.g. burning wreckage parts. Such residual fires shall then be tackled by using hand-held extinguishers.