Above the Call

Off‑duty staff Ursenbach, Taylor save neighbor’s life

Correctional officer Taylor and lieutenant Ursenbach photo collage.
Correctional Officer Taylor, left, and Lt. Curtiss Ursenbach helped save a neighbor's life.

Two off-duty CDCR employees, Curtiss Ursenbach and Rory Taylor, recently saved a neighbor who stopped breathing.

Acting quickly were Ursenbach, a lieutenant with Avenal State Prison, and Correctional Officer Taylor, with Central California Women’s Facility.

At 6:20 p.m. on Friday, April 21, Ursenbach was off duty at his personal residence when he heard screaming coming from his neighbor’s apartment.

Ursenbach went to check out the situation. When he reached his neighbor’s door, he saw his male neighbor laying over the back of the couch, unresponsive and turning blue.

The victim’s girlfriend was attempting to perform rescue breaths. Ursenbach turned to his wife, asking her to call 911, then moved the victim off the couch and to the floor.

Taylor, who is also a neighbor, heard the commotion and jumped into action to help.

The victim wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. Ursenbach retrieved his CPR mask and began CPR, with Taylor’s assistance. The pair continued CPR for five minutes when they felt a slight pulse.

However, the victim was still not breathing so Ursenbach continued to perform rescue breaths.

The Fresno Fire Department and ambulance personnel arrived, taking over treatment.  The victim was transported to a local hospital for further treatment and evaluation.

It was later determined the victim had accidentally overdosed on prescription medication.

Hospital medical staff credited Ursenbach and Taylor for saving the victim’s life. They said without their quick thinking and ability to perform CPR, the victim likely would have died.

By Lt. Mike Tuntakit, AA/PIO
Avenal State Prison

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