Boston, MA - As many of us know, there was an outage last week at the Louisiana telecom giant. Us Americans better knew this outage as the inability to dial 9-1-1 for help; that’s right, many U.S. citizens were alarmed when they found out they were unable to call for emergency assistance. That wasn’t necessarily the case in Boston, Massachusetts, though.

Vintage technology is better known as a technology that can act as an antique; in other words, many people admire it for its unique look, the technology itself is rarely used.

However, that was not the case during the so-called 911 outage.

On Friday morning, a few days before New Years Day, a fire broke out in the North End of Boston. With the 911 outage, many residents didn’t know how to respond. One resident saw a firebox on a street corner outside and immediately pulled it (the firebox being the vintage technology). The fire department showed up shortly after the firebox was pulled.

In Boston, there are over 1,000 of these vintage technologies sitting on street corners. Luckily, this 19th century creation works even when our modern technology doesn’t, though many may not believe this little factor. It’s a fact, though! Over 1,200 fireboxes present in the city of Boston still work today.

What’s more is that they’re super easy to work, all you have to do is pull down the handle present on the box and press the white button that reveals itself. Back in the day, fireboxes used to set off a bell. Nowadays, they trigger a computer display in the fire departments system.

And, even if they’re not used to call the local fire department for help or assistance, the firefighters still use them regularly. For instance, each home address is cross-referenced to a firebox just like a zip code is, so when a call is received, fireboxes give the stations a way to track where the emergency is. Fireboxes also help determine which engine should report to the scene along with the fastest route to the location.