Hey, there! Log in / Register

Statewide 911 system goes down again

Update, 3:36 p.m.: Cambridge Police report 911 is back up.

Both Boston Fire and Boston Police say that if you need emergency services, go to your local fire-alarm box and pull the handle. Alternatively, call 617-343-2880 for BFD or 617-343-4911 for BPD.

Police say officers are driving around with their blue lights on, so you can look for that, or you can call your local police station.

Something similar happened in April.

Free tagging: 


Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!


But it goes down for everyone so that's good.


According to https://www.mass.gov/orgs/state-911-department:

The State 911 Department oversees and maintains the statewide 9-1-1 system for emergency services. If you are in Massachusetts and have an emergency, DIAL 9-1-1. If you are calling from OUT OF STATE to report an emergency in Massachusetts, CALL 508-872-2508!

I see no reason why this number wouldn't also work.


I suppose all the criminals are getting the notifications too. That’s wonderful.


Local police and fire and dispatch numbers still work though.

The bigger issue, imo , are people suffering a medical emergency where dialing 911 is already hard enough but then trying to dial another number becomes very difficult.


What that mean?


Typo... already


Has someone forgotten that Maine hasn't been part of Massachusetts since 1820?

Seriously, did everyone in New England get them?


A friend of mine in Maine got one, too ... but she still has an 857 area code despite being there for 5 years.

It may be carrier related, too. We have a couple relatives on our friends and family plan that got alerts despite living in other states because the primary number on the account is a Massachusetts number.


Well, I don't think it is just area code-related. My wife and I have had our phones for years and have a Maryland area code, but we both got the (multiple) alerts.


All my maine and new hampshire coworkers got this message.

My maine coworkers about an hour later got a second message that stated that 'THE PREVIOUS MESSAGE IS FROM ANOTHER STATE, 911 SYSTEMS IN MAINE ARE WORKING PROPERLY'


Also, that's why you keep the pull boxes. I'm glad they're still there.


Those Gamewell box networks were already ancient when I worked on them in the 80s. We had to pass a Morse code test to get licensed by BFD and used the telegraph key in the master boxes to communicate with the fire alarm office in the Fenway.

I have worked in aviation and computers and I still consider that old fire alarm network to be some of the coolest tech I've worked on. No technology sticks around that long unless it's just brilliant engineering.


It simply works is why its lasted this long.

The technology behind its very very basic. Even pre-dates the telephone. But because it is very basic, it doesn't require much to run. Which is also why it works when the power goes out or the telephone network has a problem.

Why dismantle a system that just simply works because it is archaic.


There are multiple telegraph circuits running back to the Fire Alarm Office, and in a given area, the adjacent fire alarm boxes transmit on different circuits. If two people see the same fire (or emergency) and pull separate fire alarm boxes, both signals will be received at the FAO because they transmit on separate circuits. If they transmitted on the same circuit, the signals could interfere and not send the right box number.