911 System Crash Statewide Leaves Many Perplexed

(StraightNews.org) – Access to emergency services via 911 was shut down in Massachusetts when a computer system failed. Amid a heatwave, Bay State residents could not call 911 and were advised to “pull a Fire Box” by Boston Police. The system was down for hours, and the Executive Office of Public Safety issued a statement that it would investigate the cause.

Massachusetts State Police posted a further note on social media saying a “technical issue” affected public safety answering points throughout the state.

Additional alerts were issued in New Hampshire, Maine, and Connecticut, but these states were unaffected, and the caution was issued in error.

Subsequent reports indicated that the problem was caused by a firewall installed to protect against hacking. A Comtech review eased concerns that the incident resulted from a targeted technical attack and advised that they had “applied a technical solution to ensure that this does not happen again.”

The Massachusetts State 911 department said it was unaware of any significant impact and noted that it had the capacity to identify any calls made during the two-hour shutdown and respond to the callers.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu assured residents that 911 is one of many ways to contact emergency services and noted that police phone numbers are available on websites and social media.

Governor Maura Healey acknowledged the situation and reiterated her advice that a heatwave was imminent for Massachusetts and people should take sensible precautions. She urged residents to drink water and remain hydrated, to limit strenuous activity, and to check on neighbors’ well-being. The Governor also encouraged people to visit “waterfronts, beaches, and splash decks, or check out the cooling centers in your town.”

Bay State temperatures reached more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit as health experts warned that elderly people, in particular, are vulnerable to heat-related illnesses. The National Institute on Aging said headaches, confusion, and dizziness indicate heat-related sickness and advised those with symptoms to attend an emergency room.

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