On Wednesday an alert went out saying that our 911 system was down – then another alert came out saying, no, it’s just Massachusetts. Same thing happened in Vermont and Maine.

So what happened to Massachusetts? The Boston Globe has a story (here):

Massachusetts is one of about a dozen states that have switched over to a Next Generation 911 system, one that’s based on the same technologies that power the internet. And that may be part of the problem.

Comtech, the company that managed the network on behalf of the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, has blamed a malfunctioning firewall for the outage.

The firewall explanation is mystifying. A next-gen 911 system is supposed to be decentralized, to contain the damage in case of a breakdown. Instead, it looks like all the state’s 911 calls may have been routed through a single wonky firewall.

Fortunately (?) Boston still has its old analog fire boxes in place. If there’s a fire, people were told, pull the lever just like in a 1930’s movie!

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