I am trying to respond to a co-worker who sent an email to all staff to warn us to lock our cars and close windows tightly because her car got broken into the night before and she had left her windows down a crack. I wanted to send an email to thank her for the warning but sorry she had to be the “____”. “Guinea pig”, “first victim”, “example”, don’t feel right in this context. Any other suggestions? I thought there was a word for someone who has something happen to them who then alerts others to be on the look out.
"Bellwether" may work. Lexico defines it thus:
1.The leading sheep of a flock, with a bell on its neck.
1.1 An indicator or predictor of something.
‘college campuses are often the bellwether of change’