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Allston responds to statewide 911 outage amidst heat wave, upcoming Celtics celebrations

Boston government officials responded to a nearly two-hour statewide 911 system outage Tuesday, the second to hit Massachusetts in three months, by providing residents with additional emergency resources.

The Boston Police Department wrote in an X post at 1:51 p.m. that the 911 system was down statewide, meaning residents were unable to place calls to the number. Boston residents received multiple alerts stating delays in public safety responses may occur as a result.

A smartphone dials 911. Massachusetts experienced a statewide 911 system outage for about two hours on Tuesday afternoon. KATE KOTLYAR/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

Residents were encouraged to contact their local BPD station or pull a fire box if they needed assistance, according to the X post. BPD patrolled with their blue lights on to make their cars more visible for the duration of the outage.

Boston University Spokesperson Colin Riley wrote in an email to The Daily Free Press that students can use the emergency phone numbers listed on the back of their BU ID cards in case of an emergency. Blue Light emergency phones are available across campus, and BU Police Department will respond immediately.

The city of Boston has been in touch with the state to work on resolving the issue, Mayor Michelle Wu said during a press conference today that addressed safety precautions for the upcoming Boston Celtics Championship victory parade.

Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox said during the press conference it is important to keep residents updated on the outage and additional resources due to the heat wave impacting Boston this week.

Kevin L’Herrou, Allston-Brighton Neighborhood Liaison, wrote in an email to The Daily Free Press that the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services is working to inform residents of their options in the absence of 911.

“We are trying to make sure that all members of the community know how to reach emergency services should they be experiencing an emergency,” L’Herrou wrote.

Allston Village Main Streets, a volunteer non-profit organization that supports the neighborhood’s commercial development, sent an email to residents instructing them to flag down an officer or pull a fire alarm box in the event of an emergency. The email said the 311 system is still available and listed the direct phone lines for the Boston Fire Department Fire Alarm and the Allston-Brighton BPD front desk.

Wu said at the press conference that BPD, BFD and Emergency Medical Services will make sure to “get to the right place” when contacted in an emergency.

“Don’t worry about needing to have the exact right number or anything as this is getting resolved,” Wu said.

BPD announced the 911 system was “back up and running” in another post to X at 3:42 p.m.

The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts posted to X that the State 911 Department is continuing to investigate the cause of the outage. The State Department will provide further information as it becomes available.

The Massachusetts State 911 Department has determined the system outage resulted from a firewall preventing calls from reaching 911 dispatch centers, according to a press release sent out at 10:41 a.m. Wednesday. The interruption was not due to a cyberattack, but the reason the firewall stopped calls remains under review.

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