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What caused the 911 outage in Massachusetts?

911 outage in Massachusetts caused by firewall problem
911 outage in Massachusetts caused by firewall problem 00:31

BOSTON - Investigators say they know what caused the 911 system in Massachusetts to go down for two hours on Tuesday, but there are still questions about exactly why the outage happened.

The State 911 Department said the outage from 1:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. occurred due to a firewall, which is supposed to protect against cyberattacks and hacking. Comtech, which is the state's 911 vendor, said that the outage was not caused by a hack or cyberattack, and reported they've made a technical fix to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"However, the exact reason the firewall stopped calls from reaching dispatch centers remains under review," the state said.

911 firewall system was "too protective," governor says

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey told reporters Wednesday the firewall system was "actually too protective and ended up blocking calls from going through."

"The good news is the problem was identified, it has been addressed," she said. "For me it's about finding out what happened, getting the answers and making sure it never happens again."   

Outage did not impact emergencies in Massachusetts, state believes

During the outage, people in Massachusetts got a phone alert telling them to call police and fire department business lines directly if they needed help. 911 dispatchers were able to see who was calling them, however.

"Although some calls may not have gone through, the system allows dispatch centers to identify the phone number of callers and return those calls," the 911 department said. "The Department has not received any reports of emergencies impacted during the interruption."

The state has urged people not to place "test calls" to 911 to make sure it's working. A similar warning was issued when a cell service outage affected the 911 system in multiple states back in February. 

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