This morning, at the North American Snow Conference general opening session, American Public Works Association (APWA) President William “Bo” Mills announced the Association’s adoption of a national Public Works First Responder symbol. The symbol is to be used throughout North America to recognize public works professionals’ federally mandated role as first responders.

President George W. Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 (HSPD-5), Management of Domestic Incidents, in 2003, in which a public works response to emergencies and disasters is recognized as an absolute necessity, and the federal government is directed to include public works in all planning and response efforts. The Public Works First Responder symbol is expected to increase recognition of public works as first responders throughout North America.

The Public Works First Responder symbol uses familiar colors—orange, black and white—and a design reminiscent of road construction, signs, safety cones and orange construction barrels.

By displaying the symbol wherever appropriate, public works agencies can raise awareness among all citizens, government officials, and other first responders about the critical role public works plays in emergency management efforts. To ensure the symbol has maximum exposure in as many settings as possible—such as on fleet vehicles, license plates, letterhead, hard hats, uniforms, public buildings, and offices—APWA is making the symbol available in multiple formats at no cost to all public works agencies.

Public works agencies can obtain free access to the symbol’s artwork, as well as APWA’s simple guidelines for use of the symbol on the web or in all print formats, at www.apwa.net/firstresponder. Items displaying the symbol also may be purchased in the APWA Store at www.apwa.net/store.

For more information about the Public Works First Responder symbol, or about APWA, please contact Jared Shilhanek, Sr. Marketing & Communications Manager, at 816-595-5257 or jshilhanek@apwa.net.