911 system goes down statewide in Massachusetts

Joseph Prezioso

The 911 emergency system was down statewide for over an hour in Massachusetts on Tuesday afternoon.

State officials notified the public that the issue had been resolved and that the 911 system had been restored at 3:49 p.m. — nearly two hours after the outage began.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security wrote on X that the state is continuing to investigate what caused the disruption.

The Boston Police Department warned the public: “If you are experiencing an emergency please pull a Fire Box.”

Locals in Boston in need of help were advised to reach out to local district stations through their local phone numbers, pull fire boxes, or approach an officer as police were patrolling the city with blue lights activated “for high visibility” amid the shutdown.

It’s not clear what caused the system failure.

Police in Worcester, Malden and Medford also warned residents that the 911 system is down and urged them to instead contact authorities using administrative numbers.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu acknowledged the issue during a news conference on the Boston Celtics NBA Championship win.

“Calls are not going through. We’ve been in touch with the state and with all the relevant officials to work on getting this resolved,” Wu said. “There are multiple places on the police website you can find the phone numbers for all of the district stations, and those will be available also on social media.”

Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox said, it was unclear how long the outage would last.

“This could be very temporary," he said. "We’re waiting to hear a little later about how long it would last, but we thought it was important particularly with the heat that we’re about to experience, to make sure that we give people the opportunity to know what’s going on in regards to the 911 system.”

Some Connecticut, New York and Maine residents erroneously received the same wireless emergency alert notifying them of a 911 outage. Officials from all three states clarified the alert was exclusively meant for Massachusetts residents.

A second public service alert in New York clarified minutes after the initial erroneous operation that 911 is not down, and Connecticut officials on X clarified that Connecticut is not experiencing a 911 outage either.

In April, law enforcement agencies across four states experienced 911 outages that left millions unable to quickly contact authorities. The outages appeared to be related to a wire that was cut while installing a light pole, and services were restored in a matter of hours.