Polaris and The Salvation Army Partner at DARPA

Polaris and The Salvation Army Partner at DARPA

Polaris and The Salvation Army Partner at DARPA

Polaris and The Salvation Army are showing the value of partnership while DARPA shows the advances in using Technology to help in times of disaster. Many of the tools that are manufactured by Polaris are perfect for taking The Salvation Army closer to where the need is the greatest. At the DARPA Robotics Challenge, Teams from around the world demonstrate diverse approaches and expertise while collaborating toward a common goal: improving robotics for disaster response.

Recently in response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Sandy and the Oklahoma tornadoes, Polaris donated a number of off road support vehicles to assist The Salvation Army in disaster response. Demonstrating this partnership while DARPA continues to find ways to support disaster response is a natural fit.

The units on display walk, crawl and roll. They take inspiration from humans and animals, and come in sizes tall and small, skinny and wide. They represent five countries around the world. They are the robots of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials, and they and their human operators have all been practicing very, very hard. (

The teams scheduled to compete in the DRC Trials—taking place December 20-21 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida—are a mix of government, academic and commercial organizations from around the globe. They vary from each other in many ways, such as team size and experience, focus on hardware and/or software, and the design and capabilities of their entries. What all teams share, however, is commitment to a common goal: to speed development of robots that could aid in response efforts after future natural and man-made disasters.

Kevin Smith, Director and Lance Rocks, Assistant Director of The Salvation Army, Emergency Disaster Services, Florida Division as representatives.

“Its perfect to be in Homestead, Florida watching how robotics are being used to make disaster response more efficient and less dangerous for responders when conditions may be too dangerous.” said Lance Rocks. “Homestead really was the starting point for modern day emergency management and seeing that robotics are now being introduced into the response field here gets you excited. Especially if the exponential growth is duplicated.”

The Salvation Army is very grateful to Polaris for its support. The Salvation Army is recognized because we serve at the time and place of the greatest need. Polaris's products takes us even further, and that is critical for our relief. Representatives from Polaris and The Salvation Army will be at the DARPA Challenge Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Reaching the Unreachable: Donated Vehicles Allow Salvaton Army to Expand Tornado Relief Operations


Ten military vehicles donated to The Salvation Army have arrived just in time for Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services personnel to begin making house visits to families in remote areas affected by a second round of heavy winds and tornadoes in the Oklahoma City area on Friday, May 31.

Off-road vehicle maker Polaris provided military ATV, Ranger, and RZR (“razor”) vehicles with tires that will help The Salvation Army cross terrain covered with debris and inaccessible to other vehicles to deliver food, water, and other essential supplies.

Two different styles of tires will help The Salvation Army in getting relief supplies and workers to survivors and first responders as quickly as possible. The Ranger vehicles are equipped with Run-Flat tires that are designed to resist deflation when punctured so that drivers can keep going without delay to change tires. The ATVs and RZRs feature non-pneumatic, honeycomb tires, which are built to never go flat at all.

The debris from destroyed homes and businesses is a significant hazard, and the Polaris vehicles are allowing The Salvation Army access to areas where canteens (mobile kitchens) cannot reach.

“Being able to reach families and deliver a warm meal is critical in the days following a disaster such as this, as people make salvaging personal items from their home a priority,” said Major Tom Louden, Incident Commander for The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services team.

Since May 19, 2013, The Salvation Army has provided 44,573 meals, 62,915 drinks, and 54,479 snacks, 22 Canteens (mobile feeding units), 3,619 Clean Up and 3,439 Comfort (hygiene) kits, and prayer with 7,115 persons. More than 11,823 hours have been logged by volunteers, employees and officers.

For the latest updates on The Salvation Army’s response to this disaster, there are many options to follow:


About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a broad array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to