Denver Announces Enhanced Emergency Response Tools

July 13, 2016


 DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Executive Director of Public Safety Stephanie Y. O’Malley, and Denver 911 Director Athena Butler today announced Denver’s new toolbox for enhanced emergency response – 911NOW.

911NOW includes three key tools – Smart911, Swift911, and Text to 911 – that will help residents get the assistance and information they need now.

Last year alone, Denver 911 received over 1 million calls for service, a 10% increase from the year before, so we must also enhance our response system to meet our residents’ needs in a meaningful way, and that is what 911NOW aims to do.” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “Bringing new innovation to our emergency response system means giving residents the information and service they need now, allowing them to better serve the residents of Denver.”

The first 911NOW tool – Smart911 – is a private, secure service that allows residents to create a safety profile that provides 911 and emergency responders with important information residents want them to know to assist with an emergency. The information in the profile automatically displays on the 911 call taker’s screen when a call is placed from a phone number connected to the profile and can assist in a number of situations including:

  • When the address or location is unknown. Over 90% of calls made to Denver 911 come from mobile phones, and while they can be an important public safety tool, mobile phones can also create unique challenges for emergency responders. When calls to 911 are placed from a mobile phone, the call taker has very little information – only the phone number and a very general sense of the caller’s location. The Smart911 profile links resident’s mobile phone numbers to their home, work, and school addresses, arming emergency responders with information about who is calling and possible locations where they may be found.
  • When the caller cannot communicate. There are times when residents may not be able to communicate due to an allergic reaction, heart attack, or home invasion. The Smart911 profile ensures residents’ information is immediately available and that the caller is not the sole source of information. If a member of a household is deaf or hard of hearing, or English is not their primary language, dispatchers will also know immediately that an alternate form of communication is needed.
  • When there is a medical emergency. The Smart911 profile provides emergency responders with important information about household members including medical conditions, physical disabilities, allergies, and medications that may cause dangerous drug interactions during treatment. Knowing this information in advance allows first responders to know how to help before they even arrive.
  • When a member of a household goes missing. Residents can add key information about members of their household including their names, ages, a physical description, and recent photos. They can also list who should be contacted in the event of an emergency, including family members, friends and neighbors.
  • When there is a fire. Gate codes, access points, floor layouts, and other visual details that may be obstructed when a household is on fire can be added to the profile to help facilitate a faster response or rescue.
  • When a vehicular accident occurs. Residents can upload vehicle information for all members of their household to the Smart 911 profile. Having the description and license plate of household vehicles can quicken response in an accident, or when residents need help while in their vehicle.

“The details residents provide in their Smart911 profile can save seconds or even minutes during an emergency,” said Denver 911 Director Athena Butler. “That saved time can make a big difference when the caller cannot communicate or when the address or location where help is needed is unknown.”

The second 911NOW tool – Swift911 – is Denver’s high-speed emergency notification system that alerts residents to emergency situations in their neighborhood like police activity, evacuations, and severe storm warnings in real time. Residents decide how they want to receive these alerts – via phone, mobile phone, email, text message, or a combination of each – and multiple phone numbers for multiple members of a household can be included for each residency.

Swift 911 alerts are sent to all land line telephone numbers in Denver that are publicly listed, but residents must sign up to receive alerts for private land line numbers and for alerts they want to receive via mobile phones, email, or text. Once residents register for Swift 911 at, they can log in at any time to update their contact information or opt out from the notification list.

Denver 911 will utilize Swift911 in coordination with first responders to alert residences to take the proper action during emergency situations.

“Members of our community need to be alerted to emergencies in their neighborhoods as they are happening,” said Executive Director of Public Safety Stephanie Y. O’Malley. “Many of our residents communicate via mobile phone or text, making it imperative that they sign up for this service and get the information they need to keep themselves, and those they care for, safe.”

The final 911NOW tool – Text to 911 – supports residents who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired. It can also be used when residents are:

  • Unable to speak as a result of an injury or medical emergency
  • Facing a threatening situation where a voice call could increase the threat or compromise safety
  • In an area where a text message is the only option to request emergency services due to limited coverage
  • In an area where phone lines and cell towers are overwhelmed and only a text can get through to request emergency services

Together, these three tools will help Denver’s first responders – Save time. Save lives. To learn more visit



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