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As Hurricane Ian slams Florida, 'Waffle House Index' aims to help communities measure disaster's impact
FEMA’s ‘Waffle House Index’ meant to ‘help communities’ the restaurant serves: CEO Walt Ehmer
Waffle House CEO Walt Ehmer says managers are ‘making calls on the ground’ as to whether or not it’s safe enough to operate during a hurricane.
As powerful Category 4 Hurricane Ian threatens Florida, the Waffle House restaurant chain, which prides itself on operating 24/7, is helping FEMA identify the storm's hardest-hit areas with their decision on which restaurants to close.
Founded in 2004, the "Waffle House Index" has been used by FEMA to measure the severity of a storm or hurricane. The "informal metric," according to the emergency agency, determines the impact of a storm and the likely scale of assistance required for disaster recovery.
"We don't think about it from a PR standpoint," Waffle House CEO Walt Ehmer said in an interview on "Varney & Co." Wednesday. "We're really trying to make sure that our people are safe and we're doing what we can to help the communities that we serve."
Within the index are three safety codes: green, which indicates a full Waffle House menu is being served; yellow, which means there’s limited food or power; and red, which means the restaurant is completely closed.
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