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Pound Ridge (NY) Fire Department Puts its Polaris RANGER to the Test


When your community’s backyard is a wildlife reservation, ensuring the proper equipment in your emergency response toolkit is crucial. For the Pound Ridge Fire Department in New York, one crucial piece of equipment – the Polaris RANGER – came into their fleet in 2019. Battling rough terrain and often adverse weather conditions of the Northeast, the department knew they needed a vehicle that wouldn’t just help them get to areas off the beaten path without worry, it’d also get them back safely and efficiently.


Picking Polaris                                                                                                                   

With a military background and experience with the Polaris DAGOR, Pound Ridge Fire Department Assistant Chief Vincent Zafonte immediately turned to Polaris Government & Defense for help with the search for a new off-road vehicle. While the Polaris RANGER was always a part of their consideration, the ultimate selling point was the Fire and Rescue accessories package that ensured the RANGER was fully equipped for emergency calls. The fire-fighting kit they selected included a water tank and foam system, plus a stokes basket, emergency lights and sirens, and even custom vehicle decals. They also selected the NorthStar Edition RANGER, which has a full cab, heat and air conditioning. Additionally, being a sole source purchase created a buying ease that was especially helpful when it came to the often-lengthy process of board approval on equipment procurement.


Training to Maximize the RANGER’s Capabilities

While the RANGER has been used regularly since its purchase, the department recently uncovered the full potential of the utility task vehicle (UTV). To fully understand the ins-and-outs of the RANGER and to aid in vehicle driver training, ten firefighters took part in all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and UTV vehicle manipulation and operation trainings, as well as night driving operations. The goal of the two-day, hands-on training from Polaris was to ensure understanding of every detail of the vehicle, how to keep all occupants safe during operations and how to drive the vehicle safely and efficiently through any terrain.


“We conduct the training in a crawl, walk, run process,” said Van May, Polaris Government & Defense Master Driving Instructor. “After getting the team completely familiarized with the vehicle, we head to a very controlled, closed cone course. However, the meat of the training is on the trails. It’s there that teams really see what the RANGER is capable of.”


The Pound Ridge firefighters learned how to manipulate the daunting wildlife reservation trails both in the daylight and at night, how to conduct vehicle maintenance, how far the RANGER can go without harm or damage, and vehicle recovery. For the department, “the training exceeded all expectations,” said Assistant Chief Zafonte. “The training courses instilled confidence in operating the vehicle and showed us exactly what our teams can achieve with the RANGER – specifically when it comes to search and rescue operations in the wildlife reservation.”


Real-life Rescue

Equipped with the Fire and Rescue package, the RANGER is turn-key and ready to go for any operation, reducing response time and making rescues as smooth as possible. In fact, shortly after the training, the department’s vehicle knowledge and night operation capabilities were put to the test when they were called to aid county police officers who were conducting a rescue. Department firefighters answered the call efficiently and successfully – all the while ensuring everyone’s safety. While initially purchased for search and rescue operations, the versatility and flexibility of the vehicle has made it a go-to-option for several other jobs such as responding to power outages and storm damage calls throughout the community. Since its purchase, the Polaris RANGER has become one of the most used vehicles for the department, second only to the fire truck.


“Every Fire Department should have a RANGER – it’s an absolute asset,” said Assistant Chief Zafonte.


Visit the Fire & Rescue application page to learn more about available accessories and packages for the Polaris RANGER.