Sunday, January 23, 2022

Why does FEMA monitor the Waffle House Index in times of severe weather?

(WYDaily photo/courtesy Waffle House Facebook)
(WYDaily photo/courtesy Waffle House Facebook)

The beloved Waffle House franchise has more than 2,100 stores in 25 states across America, with the majority located in the South.

Given their locations, many Waffle Houses have been through major storms and are known to stay open long after most have either evacuated and/or left.

An article written by Dan Stoneking of the Federal Emergency Management Agency explains why major companies such as The Home Depot, Walmart and Waffle House serve as role models in disaster preparedness.

According to the article, those companies have good risk management plans to ensure their stores continue to operate and provide basic supplies when disasters hit their community.

The Waffle House test, also known as the Waffle House Index, shows what condition the store is in.

If a Waffle House store is open and offering a full menu, the index is green. If it is open but serving from a limited menu, it’s yellow.

When the location has been forced to close, the index is red.

Because Waffle Houses are well-prepared for disasters, it is rare for the index to hit red.

For some context, the Waffle House in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has been closed ahead of Hurricane Florence’s landfall.

In addition to serving the public with waffles during a storm, the Waffle House Index can tell us how quickly a business might rebound after a particularly large storm and how the larger community is faring, according to FEMA’s article.

The sooner restaurants, grocery and corner stores, or banks can reopen, the sooner local economies will start generating revenue again — signaling a stronger recovery for that community.

FEMA does want the public to know that while the Waffle House Index is monitored, people should heed the warnings of officials when asked to evacuate instead of relying on a Waffle House to hit red.

According to a tweet from the Waffle House, the company’s storm center has been activated and is monitoring the locations that may be affected.

There are several Waffle House locations across Hampton Roads, and Waffle House has said people should monitor their twitter feed for updates.

To find a Waffle House near you, click here.

This story is being published in cooperation with our sister publication

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Bryan DeVasher
Bryan DeVasher is the managing editor-digital of WYDaily. A resident of Hampton Roads for more than two decades, he has worked for news organizations in Virginia, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana. He most recently was a member of the public relations staff for Virginia State Police.

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