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NZ Fire Service taps Unisys to host its automatic fire alarm messaging system

NZ Fire Service taps Unisys to host its automatic fire alarm messaging system

“Moving to a hosted-IaaS model allows us to focus our people and resources on being first responders to emergencies, rather than managing the overhead of the infrastructure core of the national automatic fire alarm system,” says Stuart Waring, information and communications technology manager – data and intelligence, NZFS.

A firefighter figure with the Toughpad
A firefighter figure with the Toughpad

The New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS) has chosen Unisys to manage and maintain its national automatic fire alarm messaging system.

The alarm system transports fire alarm messages from over 20,000 monitored fire alarms in more than 6,000 commercial and industrial buildings across New Zealand.

“Moving to a hosted-IaaS model allows the Fire Service to focus our people and resources on being first responders to emergencies, rather than managing the overhead of the infrastructure core of the national automatic fire alarm system,” says Stuart Waring, information and communications technology manager – data and intelligence, NZFS.

“The end-to-end national fire alarm system will continue to be managed and supported by NZFS, which includes AFASPs, Fire Alarm Service Agents, building owners, and the NZFS Communications Centres.”

Under the five-year contract, Unisys is delivering the alarm system via an as-a-service model run on Unisys-owned hardware and central computing infrastructure in its Kapiti and Auckland data centres through a high-availability, distributed operations model.


Unisys provides the Signal Transport System Message Handling System, a customised IP-based alarm monitoring and messaging solution developed by Unisys in conjunction with the NZFS and Automatic Fire Alarm Service Providers (AFASPs), that is the back-end architecture for the overall NZFS automated fire alarm system.

When alarms are triggered, the system quickly and reliably transmits messages within high-availability, resilient and secure Unisys data centres and telecommunications networks to NZFS Communications Centres to deploy first responders to protect people and property.

The NZFS operates approximately 440 fire stations across New Zealand, with more than 10,000 personnel, including 8,000 volunteers.

Under the five-year contract, Unisys is delivering the alarm system via an as-a-service model run on Unisys-owned hardware and central computing infrastructure in its Kapiti and Auckland data centres through a high-availability, distributed operations model.

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Unisys will be fully responsible for managing and maintaining the system, allowing the NZFS to focus on its life-critical business of responding to fires and other emergencies, says Steve Griffin, Unisys New Zealand country manager.

Steve Griffin, New Zealand country manager, Unisys, at a CIO roundtable
Steve Griffin, New Zealand country manager, Unisys, at a CIO roundtable

The new infrastructure-as-a-service IT model frees the NZFS from IT responsibility for the infrastructure core of the fire alarm system

Steve Griffin, Unisys


“The new infrastructure-as-a-service IT model frees the NZFS from IT responsibility for the infrastructure core of the fire alarm system,” says Griffin, in a statement.

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Griffin states Unisys has a strong heritage in supporting mission-critical systems and operations.

“We have a dedicated 24-hour data centre team focused on the provision and support of the alarm system to deliver fire alarm messages quickly and reliably.”

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