While many hope and pray that the horror seen in Connecticut will never affect their lives, more and more people are seeking the advice of experts should an emergency situation develop at their workplace or other public setting.
The Department of Homeland Security and experts like Richard M. Santoro with interbreif.org encourage people to become familiar with their surroundings and be aware of emergency exits.
"When we are in these settings we should be visualizing all the alternative exits. All the fire exits that are marked with signs we should know where they are and we should take it a step further just a time or two. Go right up to the door, touch the door look at the sign and burn that into our memory bank," said Santoro, a security and risk management consultant.
The Department of Homeland security developed three possible options when dealing with an active shooter with evacuation being the first and preferred course of action.
Experts say if evacuation isn't possible, find a safe place to hide out.
"If the door locks, lock it, if it doesn't lock barricade it with furniture. Tables, chairs, push things up against the door. Be prepared to move in that space if you have to and remain quiet in the space," said Santoro.
The third and last resort is to attack the shooter.
"The reason it's recommended by the United States of America is because it works," said Santoro.
"Many situations have been resolved by groups of unarmed civilians attacking and overcoming a shooter"
Santoro says New Jersey is on the forefront of proactive safety measures.
At Belhaven Middle School and schools across the state, the law requires students and faculty to practice safety drills at least once a month.
"Active shooter, bomb threat evacuation, off-site evacuation, etc. So our kids are accustomed to those kinds of drills and should something happen, we would be prepared so we have a proactive approach," said Principal Frank Rudnesky.
Experts say these events are typically over before law enforcement arrives and people need to be prepared.
While the loss seen in Connecticut is staggering, thanks to the bravery of staff and the following of safety plans, experts say further loss of life was prevented.
"We cannot quantify what could have been the affect in Connecticut but we know that many, many teachers took heroic action and followed their procedures," said Santoro.