What do Waffle Houses have to do with risk and disaster management?
As anyone who has heard Administrator Fugate speak once or twice knows, more than you might think. During his days as the head of Florida’s Department of Emergency Management, Craig began to use a simple test to determine how quickly a community might be able to get up and running again after a disaster: The Waffle House test.
If this comparison seems odd at first, think again.
Yesterday, EHS Today, a magazine for environment, health and safety leaders, explained that major companies such as The Home Depot, Walmart, and Waffle House serve as role models in disaster preparedness. They’ve taken necessary steps to prepare. These companies have good risk management plans to ensure that their stores continue to operate when a disaster strikes, and also provide basic supplies to people in their community. As the article explains, the Waffle House test is:
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.
As Craig often says, the Waffle House test doesn’t just tell us how quickly a business might rebound – it also tells us how the larger community is faring. The sooner restaurants, grocery and corner stores, or banks can re-open, the sooner local economies will start generating revenue again – signaling a stronger recovery for that community. The success of the private sector in preparing for and weathering disasters is essential to a community’s ability to recover in the long run.
EHS Today’s article serves as a good reminder that businesses should get ready. Up to 40 percent of businesses affected by a natural or man-made disaster never reopen, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Keep your business out of this statistic. As we’ve said before, learn about the resources available to help your company prepare for a disaster – and stay in business.