That reaction is no different for first responders who train for extreme situations everyday.
They say through every tragedy ....there's a lesson.
And Joplin fire Chief Mitch Randles says he and his team have learned a big one.
Chief Randles says, "The words 'It can't happen here'...we don't do that anymore. Even with the best of response you can always make it a little better."
One of the biggest changes the fire department has made? How often firefighters train for disaster situations.
Chief Randles says, " We dotraining for structural collapse, rescue collapse. It used to be once a year we would talk about it now its on a monthly basis."
Crews have also developed stronger relationships with neighboring emergency personnel
Chief Randles says, You're really dependent on your outside resources."
Chief Randles also found himself working more closely with Emergency Management.
Director for Emergency management in Joplin and Jasper County Keith Stammer says,
"The storm has caused us all to work more closely with each other and realize how much we depend on each other."
Keith Stammer says the lesson he's taken from the storm is to have a bigger imagination.
Stammer says. "Weve learned to look a bit beyond ourselves. We never exercise a disaster on this scale. We always thought this can't happen to us...now we know differently."
As we approach the 1 year anniversary of the May 22nd tornado many hope the future will bring them peace.
Stammer says, "There's going to be a lot of closure, understanding, and also going to be some changes."
But for others like Chief Mitch Randles...these painful memories will be hard to forget.
Chief Randles says, 'I don't care how much we rebuild you'll be able to drive through Joplin and see the path of the storm, and i'll see that for the rest of my life."