Massachusetts’ 911 System Experiences Temporary Statewide Outage

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TL/DR –

The 911 emergency system in Massachusetts was down for nearly two hours, prompting officials to instruct residents to directly contact local police stations, firehouses, or use fire call boxes on the street. The system was back online by 4 p.m. and the cause of the disruption is under investigation. The outage occurred on a day of extreme heat, with Boston’s heat index reaching 90 degrees and parts of New England expected to approach 100 degrees.


Massachusetts 911 Emergency System Experiences Temporary Outage

Tuesday afternoon saw Massachusetts’ statewide 911 emergency system go offline for approximately two hours, causing officials to suggest contacting local police and fire stations directly, with some even hinting at using old-fashioned red fire call boxes.

The state’s executive office of public safety and security announced via social media that the system was operational again before 4 p.m., but an investigation into the cause of the disruption is ongoing.

Commissioner Michael Cox of the Boston Police Department noted the temporary system issues around 2 p.m., stating that it was unclear when the system would be restored or the reason for its downtime. This happened during a news conference originally planned to reveal the parade for the NBA champion Boston Celtics.

The 911 outage coincided with rising temperatures that soared to 90 degrees in Boston, and certain interior parts of New England were expected to see temperatures close to 100 degrees.

Available Options During Emergency System Outage

Given the incoming heat wave, Mr. Cox emphasized the necessity to inform the public about the situation. He pointed out the approaching heat dome predicted for the Northeast in the following days.

He encouraged residents to use a list of local stations available for calling for any need, including medical emergencies.

Boston Fire Commissioner, Paul Burke, offered three alternate options: calling the fire department mainline, using a fire box, or heading directly to a firehouse.

James Hooley, the city’s chief of emergency medical services, explained that police, fire, and E.M.S. all share the same dispatch system, so calling any local administrative number would connect residents to the appropriate department. “We bail each other out,” Mr. Hooley stated.

Past 911 system failures occurred in Nebraska, Texas, South Dakota as well as Las Vegas in April, due to a light pole installation by a third party.

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