Local 911 services impacted by nationwide outage

Restoration announced, but problems remain ‘sporadic’

REGION — Public safety officials have fielded a litany of inquiries as a critical outage has prevented the successful completion of phone calls to 911 on Friday due to technical problems.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) reported Friday afternoon that 911 service has been “sporadic” due to ongoing nationwide issues stemming from technical issues affecting CenturyLink, an Internet communications company. The outages were first reported shortly before 3 a.m. on Friday, with State Police initially reporting that 911 services had been restored around 8 a.m. In the hours that followed, reports surfaced that service remained down for many people.

Throughout Friday morning, reports stated the outage prevented wireless phone users from calling 911 while landlines were not affected (one more reason to have landline phone). By Friday afternoon, officials said some landlines were indeed affected. MEMA has issued a reminder to the general public not to call 911 or a local fire or police department to test your phone’s capability, but rather to only call in the event of an emergency.

“The initial release of information regarding this issue this morning stated the problem was confined to cellular 911 calls. However, updated information suggests that there may be a landline impact as well,” State Police announced in a statement. “You may hear a fast busy signal, hear a recording saying ‘All circuits are busy’ or something similar, or you may get connected to a different emergency call center than you were expecting.”

During the outage, officials urged residents prohibited from calling for help via 911 to call for emergency services by either calling their local departments directly or calling the regional public safety answering point emergency call center in Framingham at 508-350-7005, New Braintree at 508-867-1170, Northampton at 413-586-1508, or Shelburne at 413-625-8200.

“While you should always try to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency, if the call will not go through because of this outage, you should make a second call to the 10-digit emergency number of your local police/fire department,” State Police advised. “These numbers are available on the Internet and available through Directory Assistance. Remember, it is important that you give your exact location to the dispatcher as it may not automatically display for the dispatcher. If you cannot locate your city or town’s 10-digit emergency number, please contact the State 9-1-1 Department at 508-872-2508 and tell the dispatcher the exact location of the emergency, including city or town, and they can transfer you to the correct department.”

Many area fire and police departments took to their social media platforms to alert the public of the problem and provide phone numbers to their respective stations. The Citizen Chronicle is publishing those contact phone numbers for the public’s reference:

Auburn Fire Department: 508-832-7800

Auburn Police Department: 508-832-7777

Brimfield Fire Department: 413-245-7334

Brimfield Police Department: 413-245-3442

Charlton Fire Department: 508-248-2063

Charlton Police Department: 508-248-2250

Dudley Fire Department: 508-943-4411

Dudley Police Department: 508-949-8040

Holland Fire Department: 413-245-9733

Holland Police Department:413-245-0117

Massachusetts State Police, Charlton Barracks: 508-721-4040

Massachusetts State Police, Sturbridge Barracks: 508-347-3352

Millbury Fire Department: 508-865-5328

Millbury Police Department: 508-865-3521

North Brookfield Fire Department: 508-867-0210

North Brookfield Police Department: 508-867-0206

Oxford Fire Department: 508-987-6012

Oxford Police Department: 508-987-0156

Southbridge Fire Department: 508-764-5430

Southbridge Police Department: 508-764-5420

Spencer Fire Department: 508-885-6333

Spencer Police Department: 508-885-3555

Sturbridge Fire & Police Departments: 508-347-2525

Webster Fire Department: 508-943-3876

Webster Police Department: 508-943-1212


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