A string of bizarre Waffle House robberies has put the South's most familiar chain of 24-hour diners in the spotlight. Alongside grits, toast, and (yes) waffles, Waffle House does serve up a serious point about disaster law and disaster management.
With total seriousness, FEMA has coined the concept of a Waffle House index for measuring the impact of a disaster on a community:
If a Waffle House store is open and offering a full menu, the index is green. If it is open but serving from a limited menu, it’s yellow. When the location has been forced to close, the index is red. Because Waffle House is well-prepared for disasters … it’s rare for the index to hit red.Waffle House therefore serves as an informal but readily assessed gauge of social susceptibility and resilience. Waffle House tends to be well-prepared for disaster. By extension, communities that host a Waffle House have at least one prominent actor taking account of catastrophic risk. And the presence of full service as usual at Waffle House signals the resilience with which that community has responded to disaster when it strikes. These are themes that permeate Disaster Law and Policy (2d ed.) and derivative works such as Law Among the Ruins.