Condition RED: What U.S. Waffle House closures tell FEMA about the U.S.?


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FEMA uses a unique scale to determine the effect of a storm.  Usually, this is in reference to hurricanes and various weather events.  “If you get there and the Waffle House is closed?  That’s really bad…” said Craig Fugate, Former Head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Today, Waffle House closed 418 of its U.S. locations. Most of those closures are direct results of Gubernatorial orders from a variety of states with bans on gatherings.

Over 1,574 Waffle House locations now remain open.

The company got the attention of FEMA years ago due to a reputation for being prepared for a disaster and staying open during extreme conditions, even having “The Waffle House Index” an informal metric FEMA uses to this day, named after them.

“The Waffle House test doesn’t just tell us how quickly a business might rebound – it also tells us how the larger community is faring.” Dan Stoneking told FEMA News of the Day, “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 House is well-prepared for disasters… it’s rare for the index to hit red.”

By those FEMA standards, it is now RED for the entire United States.

Shane Saathoff
Shane Saathoff
An active writer for two decades, Shane's focuses on local news and events throughout the area, Shane is an active historian, science nerd, and tech geek. Shane is a native of Bourbonnais, IL, and alumni of Olivet Nazarene University.


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