Self extinguishing Safedeck


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The new Bayards Safedeck is a state-of-the-art helicopter landing platform with enhanced, passive fire suppressing performance.

The  paragraphs below explain the origin, purpose and working principle of the Safedeck system. For an immediate impression of what the system does, we would like to invite  you to view  the related fire test video.

Contrary to beliefs in the industry, the Safedeck principle is already a few decades old and the company who originally invented and developed this system  is Merlin AS, a renowned aluminium helideck engineering company of the 90ties. In 2001 Merlin AS was acquired by Bayards, and merged into the group as Bayards Merlin AS. Merlin AS has designed and built over 30 Safedeck systems, all of which are still in use in the North Sea.

In the unfortunate event of a helicopter crash,  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 fire fighting system is activated, with potentially devastating effects to passengers, 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 fact, it autonomously and immediately suppresses the fire by combining the effects of removing fuel, cutting off oxygen supply, and cooling.

To achieve  enhanced "Safedeck" fire suppressing performance, the deck surface is provided 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 result in almost instantaneous fire extinction.

The original expanded aluminium foil mesh is developed by Explosafe in Switzerland, and is widely utilised in fuel tanks of military vehicles, aircrafts and rockets. For more information please visit

Even though the Bayards Safedeck is  installed on manned platforms, it is specially developed for Normally Unattended Installations (NUI). On unmanned platforms fire fighting capabilities are generally limited, 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 seawater-only Deck Integrated Fire Fighting System (DIFFS): the firewater is released via a series of pop up nozzles integrated in 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.

In the 6th edition of UK CAA CAP 437, Offshore Helicopter Landing Areas - Guidance

on Standards, dated December 2008, the use of a passive fire retarding system in combination with sea-water only DIFFS is highly encouraged. The Bayards Safedeck system has been extensively tested for compliance with this leading standard. The fire test has been carried out in the presence of inspectors from the UK Civil Aviation Authority, DNV and ABS, and the results prove that the effectiveness of the Bayards Safedeck fully meets the requirements, and is outstanding compared to any other helideck system currently on the market.

The Official UK CAA, DNV and ABS certificates and test reports can be provided upon request.

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