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It's a topic of discussion among the emergency response field. How do first responders work more effectively during an active shooter incident? After years of discussion, the Missoula Office of Emergency Management decided it was time to stopping talking about "what if," and to start training local first responders. 

The Office of Emergency Management applied for and received a $300,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to help fund active shooter trainings for Missoula law enforcement, fire departments and emergency medical services. 

Office of Emergency Management Director Adriane Beck said the grant money will be used to prepare all local first responders to work more effectively in a coordinated and integrated response to an active shooter incident. 

"This money first and foremost will provide training and equipment for all our first responders, and the ability to continue to put on that training locally for many years to come," Beck said. 

The Office of Emergency Management says the grant money will be allocated into three parts. The first part will train first responders on how to train other agencies involving active shooter events. The second phase is to buy the equipment to train the first responders. 

"We'll spend a chunk of the grant money to buy the equipment that can be recycled from training program to training program, as we work with the individual agencies to carry out this training," Beck said.

The Office of Emergency Management said the last part of the grant will be used to orchestrate realistic trainings for first responders to prepare them.

"Part of the identified gaps in our community was doing some of these coordinated trainings. That's one of the main reasons we've written this grant and thought to apply for this money so we can beef up our capacity as a community as response to these type of events," Beck added. 

The Office of Emergency Management says addressing these gaps will better protect the lives emergency service workers and members in the community. The grant money will be awarded on Monday Oct. 1. 

Beck says training starts in the second week of October.

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