How FEMA uses Waffle Houses in disasters

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The Savannah Hwy. Waffle House just over the bridge in West Ashley remains open - when we called this morning they didn't even offer a hello, but instead answered with "yes we are open with a limited menu so come on in!"

When a power outage in 2014 shut down several Cherokee County businesses - the local Waffle House cooked with gas and welcomed customers.

Waffle House is headquartered in Georgia, and has more than 2,000 restaurants, majority in the South.

"The Waffle House Storm Center is activated and monitoring Florence". In fact, the Waffle House is so hard to close down that FEMA uses a scale based on Waffle House closures to tell just how bad a hurricane and its aftermath actually are.

Hurricane Florence continues on its path toward the United States East Coast and is expected to sweep the Carolinas through Saturday. A green index means a Waffle House is open and offering a full menu.

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The Waffle House Index, also called the Waffle House test, can help officials determine how quickly a community might be able to get up and running again after a disaster.

The Waffle House posted on their social media Wednesday that they have active the Waffle House Storm Center in Norcross ahead of Hurricane Florence. If a Waffle House is closed because there's a disaster, it's bad. At the front of the room, three screens showed storm maps and news coverage of Category 4 hurricane's path. EHS Today explains that the Waffle House Index runs on a color-coded system. In Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, an employee of a still-operating Waffle House told a reporter that during 2016's Hurricane Matthew, the location closed only after the ceiling tiles began to fall.

For most restaurants, closing for a hurricane is done without the blink of an eye. They're not going to let a little Biblically strong wind stop them from slinging hash browns. FEMA noted it's rare for the index to turn red because "Waffle House is well-prepared for disasters".

Waffle House is used as an example of how quickly a business, and therefore a community, may recover from a storm. The sooner restaurants, grocery stores, and banks re-open - the sooner the local economy and recovery restart.

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