Saving a Life at a Monitoring Station

Sometimes, all you need at work to get you through the day is a paper bag lunch and a pat on the back.

Just ask Marti Kannemann. Because of those two things, some quick thinking and a cool head, she's now being hailed by some as a hero.

"You know, I don't really see myself as a hero," she said. "I was just there at the right time and knew what to do."

Kannemann, who works in the call center of the Guardian Alarm offices at 20800 Southfield Road, typically spends most of her time at work taking calls from customers across the states of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana when their safety alarms go off.

But the 23-year-old Wyandotte woman saved a life when the call for help came from just down the office hall.

Kannemann was working in the call center on Nov. 7 when she heard the announcement over the intercom for someone to call 911. Seeing that the shift supervisor stepped out of the room to respond, Kannemann followed him into the lunchroom, where 33-year-old Jackie Rice of Taylor had turned blue from a combination of asthma and hyperventilation.

"I was at my desk working when I started coughing, so I left the room" and went to the cafeteria, Rice said.

"When I couldn't breathe, I went from coughing to asthma attack to panic attack."

Borrowing a paper lunch sack from another coworker, Kannemann gave it to Rice to put over her mouth and gave her a slap on the back. When Rice breathed into the bag for a few moments, she stopped hyperventilating and was able to recover until paramedics arrived.

"I just looked at her and remembered what I have done when I have started to hyperventilate," said Kannemann, who has been with Guardian for two years.

Kannemann said she suffers from exercise-induced asthma and has had episodes that caused her to hyperventilate in the past.

Her supervisor, Gene Hall, said Kannemann's intervention saved Rice's life.

Hall said Rice "had fallen back into my arms. I thought she was a goner."

"We are very proud of what Marti did," said Jeff Prough, president of Guardian Security Services. "We train our people to respond calmly to emergencies that are far away and over the phone. It's terrific when someone like Marti can respond the same way when the crisis is happening right in front of her."

Rice said she "feels great now," but doesn't know what would have happened if Kannemann hadn't been there and reacted as quickly and calmly as she did.

"I thanked her for the paper bag and being there when I needed her," Rice said.

As for Kannemann: "Sometimes you're just grateful for the small things. If someone didn't have a paper bag, I wouldn't have been able to do what I did."