Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Hometown Heroes: YMCA staff members, off-duty volunteer firefighter saved man's life

By Lisa Walton, lisa.walton@gazette.com - Updated: March 18, 2014 at 6:48 am

On Jan. 30, 74-year-old Bill Temaat started his day off like any other - with a cup of coffee and drive from his Monument home to the Briargate YMCA to play racquetball.

But less than an hour later, he was slumped over in a chair having a massive heart attack.

"They told me I was dead for 3 minutes," said Temaat, who had experienced minor chest pain and some shortness of breath that morning, but nothing that was alarming enough to put him off his daily routine.

YMCA staff members and an off-duty volunteer firefighter are credited with saving his life. "Thanks to my guardian angels, I'm still here," Temaat said.

Volunteer Black Forest firefighter and software engineer Fred DeKeyser arrived at the YMCA for a workout just as staff members were reporting that a man was having chest pain. He rushed over to help Temaat, who didn't have a pulse. "By the time we got him to the floor, he had stopped breathing," said DeKeyser, a certified EMT who said he just happened to be at the right place at the right time.

Alycia Kibby, a health and wellness staff member at the YMCA, helped DeKeyser move Temaat to the floor and started administering CPR. When she heard the call over the radio, she had sprinted down the hallway to Temaat - a man with whom she talked with nearly every morning since she started working at the YMCA two years ago. "I got there just as Bill's head was tipping back," Kibby recalled.

Mary Ritchie, who opened the YMCA that morning, grabbed the oxygen machine and rushed to help Kibby and DeKeyser,

"By the time I got there, Fred was taking the AED machine and preparing it for use, and Alycia was at Bill's side doing CPR," she said. Under DeKeyser's direction, she and Kibby took turns administering compressions.

Before helping save Temaat's life, Kibby, had never used her CPR certification.

It's something that highlights the importance of being CPR-certified, said Ritchie, who is grateful to the YMCA for insisting that the staff get certified every year in CPR, in addition to the automated external defibrillator and the oxygen machines.

That knowledge allowed the women to respond quickly.

"There was no hesitation. We knew when the code comes in, you make the calls, you get the equipment, and you don't wait. You get on the job," said Ritchie.

Effective and life-saving bystander-administered CPR is rare on a patient experiencing a massive heart attack, said American Medical Response paramedic Jay Bruchis. By the time he and his partner arrived, Temaat had started breathing and had regained consciousness.

The man who minutes before didn't have a pulse was talking and looking up at him, he said. "Seeing something like this is very, very rare ... and especially seeing good bystander CPR," Bruchis said.

"The key to a good arrest save is high-quality CPR, early defibrillation ... which everybody here provided," he said. "They did it well and all the credit goes to them."

DeKeyser, Kibby and Ritchie will be honored for their actions April 1, when they are presented with the Pikes Peak Red Cross Hometown Heroes adult award at the Antler's Hilton Hotel.

They were nominated by AMR spokeswoman Laura Saenz.

"That these people were at the right place at the right time and had the appropriate certifications is incredible," she said.

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