The Mission of First Responder

NEW sections are rare in this magazine. During my seven years as its editor, just one has launched--Workplace Ergonomics--but it was not new. It is the legacy of a separate magazine we published in the late 1990s, waiting and hoping for a federal ergonomics standard to ignite that market. For a few months, anyway, there was a standard.

Now, making its debut in this issue, comes First Responder. What is it, and why are we doing it? The monthly section is intended to fill an enormous need for information resulting from the 9/11 terrorism and the mailed anthrax attacks that followed it. More than one year after those events (an insider's account of the anthrax response and cleanup is featured in this month's FR), much has been accomplished in airport screening and respirator certification. Yet the new Department of Homeland Security has yet to be formed; billions of dollars in federal training and PPE funding have yet to be authorized; and many tough issues are up in the air, such as equipment and communications interoperability, seaport security, and emergency responder smallpox vaccinations. Readers and advertisers have told us this section responds directly to their needs in this new, unfamiliar environment.

First Responder will consist of news, expert analysis, case studies, feature articles, and new products across the entire emergency preparedness and response spectrum: protective apparel, respirators, monitoring equipment, courses and training programs, response kits, and many more. Weapons of mass destruction and terrorism will be major concerns in the section's editorial, but you should look to First Responder for hazmat, fire safety, defibrillation/CPR, and related topics that are of interest to this community.

In conjunction with this launch, Occupational Health & Safety has increased its circulation by adding 6,750 individuals-- fire and police chiefs, state emergency directors, airport fire and emergency personnel, EMS directors, hazmat teams, and others involved in emergency planning and funding decisions. Their work may be more critical to our safety, to our very survival, than ever before.

We intend to help all of you better prepare for the threats and the opportunities of this new age of anxiety.

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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