Gov. Andrew Cuomo this afternoon declared a state of emergency in advance of Hurricane Sandy possibly slamming in to parts of New York in the coming days.

“We want to make sure we’re ready just in case. There’s no reason to panic… we’d rather err on the side of caution. National Guard is on alert,” Cuomo told reporters on Long Island.

The governor, who had touted the state’s response to the tropical storm and hurrricane that hit last year, said he will be monitoring the response of utilities after poles and downed power lines made it difficult to restore electricity.

“We’re going to have a state official who will go to LIPA to monitor LIPA’s response to the storm,” Cuomo said. ”We want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

The governor also announced he was cancelling his trip to Florida to campaign for President Obama and also a homeland security summit for first responders that was scheduled for Monday.

“I will be all over the state,” Cuomo said. ”I will primairly be based out of New York City and Albany, depending on where the storm hits.”

The activation of the emgergency declaration allows the state to be eligble for federal funds and relief. Cuomo is also preparing flood control, disaster relief and transporation alternatives should the storm get out of hand.

“I’d rather be prepared than unprepared,” he said.