Chautauqua County Paramedics Stress Importance Of Learning CPR

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JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — The incident involving Damar Hamlin on Monday has stirred up some anxiety surrounding how to react during medical emergencies, as some may not know what to do in situations that require CPR.

Two Chautauqua County Paramedics spoke to us to break down the basics of CPR and explain why this knowledge is so important.

“What happens when you call 9-1-1, someone on the other side in Chautauqua County, we actually have certified CPR emergency medical dispatchers, they will walk you through CPR,” explained both paramedics Charlene Unger and Billy Furlow.

Being able to administer CPR quickly is crucial during an emergency, especially in a cardiac case like Damar Hamlin’s. 

“CPR is important because of the fact that it could take your local fire department between five to ten minutes to arrive on scene, if not longer. Every minute that passes by, 10 percent of cells to your brain actually dies,” explained Unger.

The first step to beginning CPR is simple, but important nonetheless.

“First, you verify that they are unresponsive. You want to actually get up and ask ‘sir, sir, are you okay’, and if they don’t respond you want to check for a pulse. You don’t want to check for a pulse any longer than 10 seconds,” said Furlow.

If no pulse is felt, the paramedics say it is time to spring into action.

“After you check for a pulse and there is no pulse, you want to first get them on a hard surface. Then you want to find your mid sternum and you want to put the heel of your hand and then take your other hand, you can either interlock your fingers or do hand by hand, and then basically you want to push,” Unger said.

The two explain that the goal is 100 to 120 compressions per minute, and you can use songs to help you keep count.

“What that can be if you think about songs, a song that comes to mind just because I have children, is Baby Shark,” said Unger.

In the end, urgency is the difference between life and death and knowing what to do in medical emergencies is crucial. Those interested can sign up for training at


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