(CNN) – Friday marks six years since the heartbreaking day that 20 children and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
The mass shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, has had a lasting impact on American life in many ways, but behind the scenes it changed how law enforcement and everyday citizens approach similar tragedies.
After the shooting, the FBI partnered with a program called “ALERRT,” or Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, to help standardize the response to active shooters across federal, state and local levels.
"It was important to make sure everybody received the same training, knowing that if that response occurs, it's going to be a multi-agency response," said Col. Nathaniel McQueen with Delaware State Police.
Gordon B. Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Baltimore, said the training is meant to help minimize the time it takes for law enforcement to respond to an active shooter situation.
Another major shift after Sandy Hook, also tied to ALERRT, has been training everyday citizens on what to do in the initial seconds of a possible mass shooting.
That means strategies on everything from when to run to when running may not be an option.
The U.S. has experienced numerous mass shootings since Sandy Hook. That’s why special training programs continue – all stemming from a dark day in American history, and all in the hope that every possible step is taken to save lives.