Tent Towns, First Responders Can/Should Help

UPDATE: March 25, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opens up county fairgrounds to tent city dwellers!
As more Tent Towns, or homeless encampments spring up the greater society will have to pitch in to help our less fortunate neighbors.

The term Shanty Town originated during the Great Depression when unemployed had nowhere else to live. The article above points to the rapid growth of homeless by the swift growth of these makeshift cities.

Have a look at the video below. It’s hard to believe we are at a point where the working class are being forced to tents on the outskirts.


This situation will get worse before it gets better. Doing nothing is not an option. The “new” homeless cannot organize by blogging or Twittering but those of us that still have a roof over our heads can and should lend a hand.

First things first. Tent City residents need security and proper shelter. They need food, clean water and sanitation facilities. At a minimum they should receive the same attention a welfare mother of three living in section 8 housing receives.

How can first responders help? Police and fire/EMT should patrol these camps daily, maybe hourly. Firefighters can enlist local churches to donate canned goods, toiletries and clothes.

This is not the stereotypical drug addict/drunk/dropout homeless group that generally make up the homeless set. These are the new homeless and will appreciate a cop positioned in a squad car watching out for them.

To any firefighter reading this suggest to your crew tomorrow you take a ride around town and look for your homeless camp. You know you are the ones to do this. Take a look at the video again and ask how you or your department can help. Department leaders distinguish themselves at a time like this.

When it comes down to it most of us are a few paychecks away from Tent Town!

Update #2: It might be a good idea to tap into AmeriCorps NCCC based in Sacramento to assist these homeless citizens. To quote CNBC’s Rick Santelli, “Are you listening President Obama”?


  • Mike says:

    Hi Dave. My response to the firefighter killer’s execution is may he rot in hell.But first he will rot in a cell on death row because as you know we don’t really execute death row inmates in California.BTW I will link your website to the blog.Nice work.Thanks for the comments Dave!

  • Dave Egbert says:

    Hey, interested to here your take on the death penalty verdict for the arsonsit who started the Esparanza Fire that killed 5 firefighters in October 2007.The same IC there, Mike Dietrich for USFS was ours during the Basin Fire.Dave

  • Dave Egbert says:

    Yes, I think that there is alot we, as firefighters and ems, can do to keep these new tent cities safer and be able to get help to those who both need and deserve it. But of course, it may be hard to get larger departments to spend extra time patrolling such places for “preventative” help. Here on the coast, we have seen a jump in the homeless camping along the road. I find a quick check in not only makes sure they are safe, keeping them informed about not starting fires, etc, but also makes the “less honest” realize that the community is watching.

  • Anonymous says:

    Very well put!! Bravo!