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Emergency preparedness officials applaud advance planning measures

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CANTON - More than 250 north country residents learned how to prepare for disasters at the Citizen Preparedness Corps training hosted at SUNY Canton on Saturday.

New York State Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo started the trainings with a goal of preparing 100,000 New York residents to protect themselves, their families and their neighbors if an emergency strikes. Members of the state’s National Guard presented a variety of ways to help residents to be proactive.

New York State Assemblymember Addie J. Russell said, “This initiative is about teaching New Yorkers what they can do in their own homes and for their neighbors to prepare for and respond to future emergencies. This is a truly visionary approach when you think about it - building a smarter, safer New York from the ground up.”

Among the emergencies that attendants learned about included natural, man-made and technological. The National Guard members recommended advanced planning with all family members before an emergency strikes.

“It is important to get the message out that anyone can prepare for emergencies,” said Michael J. LeCuyer, St. Lawrence County Emergency Services director. “Some things will be beyond people’s control and they may need assistance from emergency services, but we want to empower people to take care of emergencies on their own. By doing so we can provide better services to those who need it the most.”

Additional tips from the two-hour training included stocking up on food and water for at least 7 to 10 days. Typically, residents should save a gallon of water per person per day. Additionally, trainers advised photographing personal items of value and have important documents on hand and safely protected from water and fire.

“The importance of this training is neighbors taking care of neighbors,” according to St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin M. Wells, who is a 1980 graduate of SUNY Canton. “If we don’t help each other, what are we going to do? We are in an isolated part of the state and we need to take care of ourselves.”

SUNY Canton has majors in Emergency Management and Homeland Security. It is also home to the North Country Emergency Medical Services Program Agency. The Citizen Preparedness Corps training fits well within the scope of the programs and services offered at the College.

The College is vying to house the State’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cyber Security through a partnership with Clarkson University. The colleges would become the first in the nation devoted to homeland security and would establish integrated education, training and research in a comprehensive public-private partnership.

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