FEMA’s Waffle House Index On Sandy Directs Aid To Eastern PA

FEMA’s Waffle House index for Hurricane Sandy is in play, though not as much as it has been in the past when areas where the iconic waffle joint is a staple.

Hurricane Sandy left a trail of devastation in her wake, and the Waffle House index is an actual tool FEMA uses to assess the damage and operational aspects of an area when natural disasters strike. It goes something like this.

If Waffle Houses in an area are up and running as normal, that’s a green and the region is probably not too badly affected. Waffle Houses running on a limited menu and perhaps using a generator are yellow, and food supplies may be low. If Waffle Houses are closed in a disaster, FEMA considers the area red and indicative of dangerous conditions and extensive damage.

Before Hurricane Sandy, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate commented on the Waffle House index during Irene, confirming red was a bad thing:

“If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work.”

Waffle House spokeswoman Kelly Thrasher commented on the “flattering” Waffle House index devised by Fugate back in 2004 after observing the Waffle House tells in Florida after a disaster, but she also said that the barometer is an illustration of the restaurant’s aims:

“This is what we do all the time: to be there for our customers and associates on an everyday basis.”

The Waffle House index used by FEMA has been a subject of discussion in the past few days on Twitter, from both the official Waffle House account as well as others. Waffle House index tweets during Sandy and after include:

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Was your local Waffle House affected by Sandy?