For shelter and supplies after a devastating storm, communities turn to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). But for a clear sense of how bad things are, FEMA turns to Waffle House.
Nearly a decade ago, Florida’s emergency management chief, W. Craig Fugate, noticed that when information was scarce after a disaster, the status of a 24-hour Waffle House restaurant often indicated whether an area had electricity, gas, and passable roads. So he created a three-color rating: green (fully open), yellow (limited menu), and red (closed). Then he brought it with him to his current post as FEMA’s administrator.