SUNY Potsdam & SUNY Canton Leadership Take Part in Emergency Management Drills


L to R: Susan Hauer, Torey Russell, Guy Swartwout, Calvin Smith, Dennis Hefner, Joseph Hoffman, John Kaplan, Scott Edkin, Alan Mulkin and Timothy Ashley II before the training drills began.

The Emergency Response and Resource Groups from both SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam took part in a day of off-campus training sessions and tabletop drills hosted at the St. Lawrence County Fire Training Facility in West Potsdam on Sept. 24. The training was timely; September is National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Two officials from the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control were on hand to teach the college officials about the incident command system for responding to crises. Deputy Chief Guy Swartwout from the Inspection and Investigations Branch, and Fire Prevention Specialist Scott W. Edkin, from the Fire Operations and Training Branch, both spoke to the groups.

"I am thankful for the opportunity to work with the colleges to help prepare these aspects of their operations," Swartwout said. "The incident command system allows everyone to understandhow they fit into the picture in the event of an emergency."

SUNY Canton Acting President Joseph C. Hoffman and SUNY Potsdam Interim President Dennis L. Hefner kicked off the day by thanking the partners for their assistance with the training.

University Police Chief John Kaplan and Environmental Health and Safety Director Calvin Smith organized tabletop drills, with the help of team members from both campuses. Kaplan and Smith serve both SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam. They asked the two Emergency Response and Resource Groups to hone their skills by practicing what response they could make in a given scenario—in this case, if a microburst hit the region and flooding and high winds damaged a residence hall and an academic building housing computer servers on both campuses.

"Each campus has a team of individuals prepared to respond to emergencies," Smith said. "The training allowed us to see how each role will come into play while responding to an emergency on campus."

Photo caption: From left, Susan Hauer (assistant director of Environmental Health & Safety, SUNY Potsdam), Torey Russell (EH&S coordinator, SUNY Canton), Guy Swartwout (deputy chief of inspections and investigations, state Office of Fire Prevention and Control), Calvin Smith (director of EH&S, SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam), Dennis L. Hefner (Interim President, SUNY Potsdam), Joseph C. Hoffman (Acting President, SUNY Canton), John Kaplan (chief of University Police, SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam), Scott Edkin (fire prevention specialist), Alan Mulkin (deputy chief of University Police, SUNY Canton) and Timothy Ashley II (deputy chief of University Police, SUNY Potsdam).

About SUNY Canton:

SUNY Canton offers a variety of career-driven bachelor's degrees in addition to its associate and certificate programs. In the past year, the College added two new bachelor's degrees and expanded its facilities with a new athletic center, nicknamed Roos House, and the Grasse River Suites Residence Hall. The College's faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to their academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers flexible and convenient online courses and programs. The College's 14 athletic teams compete as provisional members of the NCAA Division III as well as the USCAA. For more information about SUNY Canton, visit

About SUNY Potsdam:

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts. For more information, visit