What Does FEMA Use As The Basis For An Informal Disaster Severity Scale?
Answer: Waffle Houses
While FEMA has a wide range of official scales and measures for disaster severity, one of the immediate and practical scales they apply to disasters (especially those located in the southern United States) is to assess whether or not the Waffle House restaurants in the area are still open.
The chain of restaurants is open 24 hours a day and, as most of the 1700 locations are within areas of the U.S. prone to disaster, they take disaster preparedness seriously. If the Waffle Houses are closed, that means that despite the company’s typical preparation that includes stockpiling food and fuel, the disaster was severe enough to interrupt their supply chain and make the locations in the region inoperable.
Image courtesy of Waffle House Inc.