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Intersection: Craig Fugate & The Waffle House Index

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How do you like your hashbrowns- scattered & smothered with a side of catastrophic flooding? Former FEMA administrator Craig Fugate coined the 'Waffle House Index' as a way to measure the impact of a storm on a community. Photo: Yonikasz / Wikimedia Commons

Before he was appointed head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Obama, Craig Fugate directed Florida’s response to hurricanes and natural disasters.

Fugate is now a senior adviser with Blue Dot strategies, and joined Intersection to talk about hurricanes and flood recovery.

After the 2004 hurricane season Fugate created something he calls the “Waffle House Index” to indicate the severity of a storm.

“If they’re open and they have a full menu, they’re green, things aren’t that bad, if they’re open but have a limited menu, which generally means they’ve lost power there’s probably mass care issues, and if you get there and the waffle house is closed it’s pretty bad,” Fugate said.

“For a lot of people right after a big storm just getting to an open restaurant and sitting down and getting a meal is a lot of times one of the first big reliefs they’re gonna get.”

This is an excerpt from an interview that first aired on Intersection in August 2017

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Matthew Peddie

About Matthew Peddie

Host of WMFE's Intersection & Assistant News Director

A recent transplant to the Sunshine State, Matthew Peddie grew up in New Zealand and studied journalism at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating with an MA in Journalism he returned to Christchurch, working as a reporter for Radio Live and Radio New Zealand. He’s reported live from the scene of ... Read Full Bio »