There are all sorts of ways to measure the impact of natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes but I had never heard of the Waffle House Index:

When a hurricane makes landfall, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency relies on a couple of metrics to assess its destructive power.

First, there is the well-known Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. Then there is what he calls the “Waffle House Index.”

Green means the restaurant is serving a full menu, a signal that damage in an area is limited and the lights are on. Yellow means a limited menu, indicating power from a generator, at best, and low food supplies. Red means the restaurant is closed, a sign of severe damage in the area or unsafe conditions.

“If you get there and the Waffle House is closed?” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has said. “That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work.”

As the article explains, Waffle House goes to great lengths to remain open all the time. They have what is arguably one of the best disaster plans I have ever seen.

Hats off to the folks at Waffle House for going to such tremendous lengths to make life a little more normal for those affected by disaster.