Long Beach firefighter Jake Heflin also known as the public informations officer (PIO), visited Long Beach City College to discuss information about public safety followed by a tragic story of the death of his fellow firefighter, David Rosa.
Heflin’s job is to be “responsible for community outreach to make sure that [others] can learn about different things that are relevant to [his] job” as a firefighter such as preventing crises and taking care of the public. However, one day, his fellow firefighter being in his line of duty at a retirement home, was shot to death during the recent incident located at Long Beach.
“The loss of any firefighter is a major loss to the fire service,” said Heflin. “David was somebody who was committed to the community. He was a person of tremendous faith.” Indeed, even before becoming hired by the Long Beach Fire Department, Rosa worked as an emergency medical technician in relation to becoming a future paramedic.
As the PIO, Heflin had some responsibilities over the tragic event that had occurred, simultaneously thinking about how to respond to and at the memorial. He wanted to make sure “[he] represented David, his family, and the fire department to the best of his ability.” Heflin added, “My job was to communicate the facts.”
While answering questions from reporters before the memorial, some reporters were crying and Heflin decided to call a reporter to see how he or she was doing. As a final message, Heflin said “It’s about us taking care of each other [and] working together to spread [a] message because the message matters.”
Yuna Baek, Grade 11
Sage Hill School