Diandra Hayban: Keeping New York City Prepared

Diandra Hayban: Keeping New York City Prepared

Diandra Hayban is the logistics shelter support program manager for NYC Emergency Management, a coordinating agency for the City of New York that plans and prepares for emergencies and coordinates emergency response and recovery, among other functions. She has been with the agency since 2013.

Responsibilities: Managing logistics for NYC emergency shelters, including the agency’s 3PL contract, its all-hazards Emergency Supply Stockpile (ESS), and feeding strategies.

Experience: Emergency management consultant, Hagerty Consulting; emergency management specialist, Peace Corps.

Education: B.A., criminal justice, George Washington University, 2010; law school student, Brooklyn Law School, expected graduation in 2017.

I’ve always been interested in public service and find a great sense of accomplishment in helping people during some of the hardest moments of their lives.

I’m also a planner and logistician at heart. I plan all the time, from family vacations to outings with friends. This field also allows me to foster my love for spreadsheets and developing strategies. It’s like building a new puzzle every day.

One part of my job is managing the stockpiles of supplies that are used to help shelter New York City residents during emergencies. I work with our third-party logistics provider to develop plans for getting supplies where they’re needed in an emergency. We have two main supply stockpiles. They’re on opposite sides of New York, making it possible to approach the city with supplies from separate directions.

New York is a unique city. It has a population of about 8.4 million, but many don’t have cars they could use in an evacuation. The city has identified approximately 500 facilities, mostly schools, that can serve as shelters for New Yorkers who may seek accommodations during a coastal storm emergency.

I was hired by NYC Emergency Management to work on post-Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. In the days leading up to the hurricane, the city opened approximately 80 shelters. Our team coordinated efforts to replenish supplies at each shelter, and to scale down resources prior to the shelters’ ultimate close.

After Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, the team worked to boost the efficiency of deploying the stockpiles. We assessed every shelter to determine its size and capacity, the number of loading docks, and even the sizes of the doors. We try to predetermine what supplies, and how many, we’ll send to each facility.

We make it easy for shelter managers to identify the items they’re receiving and how to use them. To streamline this process, we created a catalog of items in the stockpiles. Today, an employee at the command center can tell a shelter manager, "You’re getting this box, and these are the supplies in it."

In addition, we’ve worked to integrate the stockpile with other emergency support programs, such as our Commodity Distribution Point (CDP) program. If a disaster limits a community’s ability to access essential supplies, we can open the CDP to provide meals, water, and other supplies to residents.

One of our biggest accomplishments has been formalizing our donation program. We have always strived to donate soon-to-expire supplies from the stockpile, but now we’ve formalized the process. I work with a network of area agencies and non-profits to ensure all stockpile products that are nearing their expiration dates, but still have at least three months of shelf life, go to people in need.

While there are always unknowns, I try to create plans for any scenario and think through the steps needed to get supplies to the community. I aim for easily executed, well-tested plans that are flexible enough to meet the needs of the community during any emergency.

The Big Questions

What skill or craft would you like to learn?

I randomly tap dance (poorly) when I get nervous, and I’d love to learn to do it right.

If you could visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World, which would it be?

All of them! With all the time I spend figuring out how to deliver supplies to hundreds of facilities, I hope I can figure out how to get myself to all seven.

If you could have dinner with any two people, who would they be?

Madeleine Albright and Beyoncé. It would be awesome.

What’s your mantra?

Don’t be afraid of failing. When you do fail, pick yourself up.

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