TOWN OF TONAWANDA N.Y. (WIVB) — A local CPR instructor was at the right place at the right time. During a training course Thursday night in the Town of Tonawanda, Karen Mayfield went from teaching how to give CPR, to saving someone’s life with it.

“It was wild, and it just, to me, is just a great example of why we take these classes,” said assemblyman Bill Conrad, who was attending the class. “Here’s the instructor, who in her own words said I’ve never done this on an actual person before, and we were in the training and just these simulations and so on are so real. It prepared her and she did a fantastic job and saved that woman’s life. She’s alive today.”

The CPR class was held at Saint John the Baptist Church in Tonawanda.

Conrad said he noticed someone stop by, watch part of the training and then leave.

“He happened to stop in about halfway through the class, and then came back about 20 minutes later,” Conrad said.

The man said his neighbor was unresponsive and he needed someone who knew CPR. That’s when Mayfield ran out of the room, and over to an apartment building next door.

“Someone made sure 911 was called, one of the parents was making sure of that. I kinda jolted over there to help, and then was in the apartment watching the compressions, holding the door open for the paramedics,” Conrad said. “It was crazy.”

“Out of hospital cardiac arrest is a very difficult situation to begin with and survivability isn’t that high, anything we can do to make that better, benefits the patient at the end of the day,” said Matthew DeRose, the Town of Tonawanda Police Department Paramedic Supervisor.

DeRose says ever since Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest, there’s been a rising interest in people wanting to take a CPR class.

“Having the knowledge and the skills helps to save lives,” DeRose said.

“She’s a hero to me, and to this woman,” Conrad said. “It just shows you how important these classes are, that literally we’re taking it, and it was spurred by what happened to Damar Hamlin, but it’s just amazing to see that it works and it’s real. It happened literally the same night as the training and how crazy that is.”

Mayfield is a little shaken from the whole experience, but she did send News 4 a statement:

“I hope this story can serve as yet another reminder of how invaluable a familiarity with CPR can be, and that it inspires others to pursue the training. I commend the efficiency and expertise of the town paramedics and police, who every day on the job endure the stress of critical events and emergencies.”

Karen Mayfield, Assistant Director for CPR, Risk Management & Student Employee Development Recreation at UB  

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.