I don’t know what’s worse: That FEMA does this . . . or that they ADMIT they do.
When FEMA arrives on the scene after a hurricane makes landfall, they need to get a quick read on how bad the damage is. And one of the ways they do that is . . . by visiting the local Waffle House.
There are 1,600 Waffle Houses from the mid-Atlantic down to Florida and the Gulf Coast, and they have a reputation for staying open no matter what: They’re small, they’re everywhere, and they can survive almost anything.
FEMA has an unofficial “Waffle House Index”, complete with a color-coding system: If they arrive and a Waffle House is CLOSED . . . that’s a Code Red. That means the storm damage is extensive and conditions are unsafe.
According to FEMA administrator Craig Fugate, quote, “That’s really bad. That’s when you go to work.”
Code Yellow means they’re open, serving a limited menu, and have power from a generator. If they’re up and running with full power, that’s a Code Green.
Hurricane Irene hit Weldon, North Carolina hard on Saturday, but by 6:30 Sunday morning, the Waffle House was operating at Code Yellow. In Virginia, 21 of the 22 Waffle Houses hit by Irene were back to Code Green within three days.