BETHPAGE - As governors from across the country converged on Washington for their annual policy meeting, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was instead on Long Island today to promote a program that aims to prepare for natural disasters.

The so-called Citizens Preparedness Corps is out to train residents on preparedness for extreme weather events, like Superstorm Sandy. The governor hosted a meeting at Bethpage High School, where hundreds of residents came out to learn about ways to prepare.

Cuomo says severe weather events are becoming more frequent and more extreme, so he says it's more important than ever that New Yorkers brace for potential emergencies.

"We want to make sure that people have the right training, the right equipment," the governor said. "I use the expression that you are the first responder in your own home. Before anyone gets there, you are the first responder."

The governor also spoke about starting the first college in the country dedicated to emergency management, which would include courses on terrorism and cybersecurity.

After the training session, each attendee received a backpack filled with emergency items such as flashlights, radios and first aid kits.