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Sludge in Our Emergency Management Systems

“Sludge” means “red tape.”

I’m reading the book Nudge: The Final Edition, which is about how to motivate people to act in certain ways, both for good or evil. Nudging them to make the right choices.

The topic I’m reading about now in the book is what they call “sludge.” You can follow that topic on Twitter at #sludge. Another term for sludge is what we call “red tape.” Bureaucratic fiery hoops to be jumped through to get something accomplished. Sometimes these hoops are put there deliberately to keep people from accomplishing their desire — enrollment at a college, or to gain an opportunity to immigrate to a country.

Sometimes, and this is the point I want to make, attorneys are in control and they want to eliminate any possibility of a mistake being made where someone can come back and point a finger at the agency. I’m thinking about the Building Resilient Infrastructure Communities (BRIC) program and other mitigation programs. These are very complicated to apply for. The goal appears not to be to promote disaster mitigation, but to make the process so arduous that the granting agency cannot be blamed for wasting money.

Be sure and look at your own programs to see if you are inserting “sludge” into the works that does nothing to promote what you want to accomplish — instead, it is only gumming up the works.
Disaster Zone by Eric Holdeman is dedicated to sharing information about the world of emergency management and homeland security.