A number of first responders from York County are preparing to head to New Jersey to aid with relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy a few days after others returned from the storm-ravaged state.

Dennis Reigart, president and CEO of West York Ambulance Co. in West Manchester Township, said a paramedic and an EMT, along with an ambulance, hit the road on Wednesday.

That's on the heels of a paramedic and two EMTs who returned from New Jersey on Monday after six days in the state.

While there, the West York Ambulance employees -- paramedic Nick Laughman, who is being redeployed, and EMTs Scott Hoff and Brian Tancraitor -- responded to emergency calls.

"They assisted in 911 calls," Reigart said. "They were basically doing what they were trained to do."

West York Ambulance Co. members Brian Tancraitor, left, and Nick Laughman, center, show Dennis Reigart photos the two men took while providing emergency
West York Ambulance Co. members Brian Tancraitor, left, and Nick Laughman, center, show Dennis Reigart photos the two men took while providing emergency medical service in storm-damaged areas of New Jersey last week. (Bil Bowden photo)

No cots: West York medics racked up about 1,000 miles traveling to New Jersey and responding to calls during their deployment, Reigart said.

Their primary area of focus was in the central and northern parts of the state, said Laughman.

The three medics worked 12- to 18-hour days and lived out of the ambulance for a few days because there weren't enough cots to go around, Reigart said.

Being a close-knit crew helped make the living conditions more bearable, Laughman said.

"We know the people we work with," he said. "Everyone we work with is more like family than co-workers."

The medics ate military meals ready to eat and, at one point, went three days without a shower, Reigart said.

They also witnessed the water and wind damage first hand. In some places, all that remained were foundations where homes once stood.

"They had never been in a hurricane situation before," Reigart said. "We're pretty proud of them here."

Contingent: The first responders from West York were part of a 10-member contingent of medics from York County who traveled to New Jersey, said Shannon Fouts, director of operations with White Rose Ambulance in York City.

Nick Laughman of West York Ambulance Co. took this photo near Toms River, N.J., while helping out in the devastated area last week.
Nick Laughman of West York Ambulance Co. took this photo near Toms River, N.J., while helping out in the devastated area last week. (Submitted photo)

Five White Rose employees and two medics from Wellspan Health recently returned from the state.

An additional four White Rose medics left for the coastal state on Wednesday, Fouts said.

West York medics were previously deployed to the state for a day last year in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and were slated to go to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, but that trip was canceled, Reigart said.

Rod Drawbaugh, chairman of the West York Ambulance board of directors, said the company is always ready to help fellow first responders in the wake of natural disasters.

"It's good to be able to help," he said.

-- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.