SSAIB were overcome with pride upon discovering that registered firm PLP Fire Protection have been providing invaluable assistance in the building of the Government’s first emergency field hospital at the ExCel in London.
The temporary NHS Nightingale hospital has been set up to treat up to 4,000 coronavirus patients, with Dartford-based PLP Fire Protection helping to transform the ExCel exhibition space – which was due to host IFSEC International and FIREX International next month, before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a reschedule – into a hospital in just nine days.
BAFE SP203-registered PLP Fire Protection have worked with 160+ other contractors – as well as 200 army engineers – to complete the transformation and director Rob Beeching revealed just how hard the work was for him and his team, who he had nothing but praise for in what had been a tough week for them all.
Replying to an email from FIA (Fire Industry Association) CEO Ian Moore, Rob stated: “This week, quite honestly has been hell. We were literally brought back to site on Monday morning and had the most unrealistic time to get the initial 500 beds section installed and signed off.
“The effort from my guys and the subbys [sub-contractors] I have got in has been incredible. I am so proud of them all.
“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 getting home at midnight most days this week, I get home and just feel like breaking down. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for sure.” With the initial 500 beds in place, the 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 get the space sorted for the other 3,500 beds planned, but Rob 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.
Rob continued: “We were told – by a representative from the WHO – 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 was no way going to force any of my guys if they didn’t feel comfortable but, when I asked for a show of hands who wanted to continue, 80% raised their hands. They are all in this until the end and feel they can’t just leave site until its completed.
“Even our suppliers have been personally delivering our equipment etc that we need to site. We are so grateful. The help being offered from so many people has been breath-taking.”
SSAIB chief executive Alex Carmichael added: “It’s great to see SSAIB-registered firm PLP Fire Protection assisting with the construction of the NHS Nightingale field hospital and I have to commend them for their dedicated effort during this time.
“On behalf of everyone at SSAIB, I want to thank Rob and the rest of his team for their heroic commitment to helping the NHS in this way, as they continue to help with the creation of more beds at the facility. I also hope they all stay safe while completing this vital work needed to help with the treatment of the many patients currently being admitted with coronavirus.”