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Chattanooga Fire Department seeks funding to counter violent extremism

The Chattanooga Fire Department is planning to apply for a federal grant on countering violent extremism from the Department of Homeland Security.

Gunmen have targeted officers in Dallas and, most recently, Baton Rouge, but police aren't the only ones who respond to emergencies: firefighters are often on scene as well.

Now the Chattanooga Fire Department (CFD) is trying to apply for money to "counter violent extremism."

CFD Special Operations Chief Daniel Hague says the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently created a new program to help local communities respond to threats from violent extremism, and firefighters need to be prepared if they are caught in active shooter situations.

The department will request $133,000: $83,000 for equipment, such as bulletproof vests, and $50,000 for training.

"We need to make sure we try to protect our firefighters the best we can using every opportunity we have to get the equipment to protect them," Hague told NewsChannel 9. "We're not getting into the tactics of law enforcement or anything, but an awareness of what to look for, watch out for and how to protect themselves in the event of a shooting incident."

Firefighters wouldn't wear the bulletproof vests all the time, only when they know they're heading into a potentially dangerous situation.

While the department already has a few vests, they want more of their firefighters to be prepared.

"This gives them extra coverage," said Hague.

This comes just two days after Chattanooga marked the anniversary of the July 16th attack, when a shooter inspired by a foreign terrorist organization killed 5 service members.

The Department of Homeland Security says whatever the extremist threat, from home or abroad, from a lone wolf or several people, addressing the root causes has to begin on a local level.

CFD must get approval from the Chattanooga City Council on Tuesday to apply for the grant.

If awarded the grant, there's no local match requirement so it would all be federal funding.

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