Massachusetts reveals cause of 911 outage

A firewall meant to bolster cybersecurity is being blamed for causing a two-hour disruption of Massachusetts’ 911 system.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security said in a statement that a preliminary investigation carried out by its 911 Department and vendor Comtech “determined that the outage was the result of a firewall, a safety feature that provides protection against cyberattacks and hacking.” 

“The firewall prevented calls from getting to the 911 dispatch centers” and “Comtech’s initial review of the incident has confirmed that the interruption was not the result of a cyberattack or hack,” the office said. 

“However, the exact reason the firewall stopped calls from reaching dispatch centers remains under review,” it added. 

MASSACHUSETTS 911 EMERGENCY SYSTEM RESTORED HOURS AFTER OUTAGE, OFFICIALS SAY 

Massachusetts 911 outage

Fire call boxes continued to function during the Massachusetts statewide 911 system outage on Tuesday. One is shown here in Somerville. (Brian Snyder/Reuters / Reuters)

Comtech did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday from FOX Business. 

“As the full review of the cause continues, Comtech has advised State 911 that they have applied a technical solution to ensure that this does not happen again,” the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security said, without elaborating. 

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Ambulance in Boston, Massachusetts

A Boston EMS ambulance heads away from Boston Medical Center in June 2023. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security said Wednesday that it has “has not received any reports of emergencies impacted during the interruption” of t (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Executive Director of the State 911 Department Frank Pozniak said Wednesday that his staff is “deeply committed to providing reliable, state-of-the-art 911 services to all Massachusetts residents and visitors in an emergency.” 

“The Department will take all necessary steps to prevent a future occurrence,” he also said. “We are grateful to everyone for their patience and cooperation during the outage.” 

911 call center in Malden, Massachusetts

Emergency medical dispatchers coordinate ambulances in Malden, Massachusetts, in April 2020. (David Degner/Getty Images / Getty Images)

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The system first went down around 1:15 p.m. local time on Tuesday, before being restored around 3:15 p.m. 

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