The Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) has been full of praise for one of its registered firms, namely PLP Fire Protection, which has been providing invaluable assistance in the building of the Government’s first emergency field hospital at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London’s Docklands.
The temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital has been established to treat up to 4,000 Coronavirus patients, with Dorset-based PLP Fire Protection helping to transform ExCeL (which was due to host IFSEC International and FIREX International next month before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a reschedule) into a working hospital in just nine days.
BAFE SP203-registered PLP Fire Protection has worked diligently with 160-plus other contractors – as well as 200 British Army engineers – to complete the astonishing transformation.
Company director Rob Beeching has revealed just how hard the work has been for him and the various members of his team, whom he has nothing but praise for in what had been a tough week for them all. Replying to an email from Fire Industry Association CEO Ian Moore, Beeching stated: “Quite honestly, this week has been hell. We were literally brought back to site on Monday morning and had the most unrealistic time to make sure the initial 500-bed section was installed and signed off. The effort from my team and the sub-contractors has been incredible. I’m so proud of them all.”
Beeching added: “We have even had tears from some of our guys, but proud tears. Working conditions have been very tough, both physically and mentally. I have been arriving back home at midnight most days this week. Then I just feel like breaking down. It has been an emotional rollercoaster for sure.”
Intensive care scenario
With the initial 500 beds in place, the NHS Nightingale Hospital will care for patients with the virus in intensive care who have been transferred from other London hospitals. The building work continues in order to make sure the space is sorted for the other 3,500 beds planned, but Beeching insisted that he would not force his committed team to continue to work if they were worried about being in close proximity to the virus.
On that note, Beeching observed: “We were told by a representative from the World Health Organisation that, once patients start arriving, although they will be sectioned off by a wall, we would still be working in adjacent halls. They said we would be completely safe. I wasn’t going to force any of my guys to carry on working if they didn’t feel comfortable with the arrangements but, when I asked for a show of hands in terms of who wanted to continue, 80% raised their hands. They’re all in this until the end and feel they cannot leave the site until the job is completed.”
In conclusion, Beeching said: “Even our suppliers have been personally delivering the equipment that we need to site. We are so grateful. The help being offered from so many people has been amazing.”
SSAIB CEO Alex Carmichael informed Fire Safety Matters and Security Matters: “It’s great to see SSAIB-registered firm PLP Fire Protection assisting with the construction of the NHS Nightingale Hospital and I have to commend the company for its dedicated effort during this difficult time.”
Carmichael continued: “On behalf of everyone here at the SSAIB, I want to thank Rob and the rest of his team for their heroic commitment to helping the NHS in this way and as they continue to assist with the creation of more beds at the facility. I hope they all remain safe while completing this vital work.”