Emergencies on the Road
Every day thousands of wild animals are hit by cars and left to die by thoughtless drivers. Chances are someday you will encounter one of these injured animals. Hopefully you will want to help.
The first thing to do is come prepared. There is nothing worse than encountering emergencies on the road but you are helpless because you don’t have the right equipment or skills to help an animal in distress. Today you can outfit your car with the necessary items that one day, perhaps many years from now, you will need.
Emergency Supplies to keep in your Car
- cell phone.
- shovel for (gently) picking up an injured animal so you don’t get bitten;
- thick gloves for your protection;
- thick sheet or blanket that does not have any loose ends or holes. These can be used to wrap a struggling animal.
- paper towels.
- towel BUT remember not to use a towel (or similar material) if it will come in contact with the animal. Towels are great for wiping your hands but not so great wrapped around an animal because the animal’s nails and appendages can get caught in it.
- first aid kit geared toward wildlife patients.
- wire cutters if you find the animal trapped in a fence, fishing line, or trap.
- phone numbers of local wildlife caregiver or humane society and their address.
- strong ventilated covered carrier/container. You can use a thick cardboard box but this should not be used for animals that are healthy enough to bite through it. Pet carriers are best because they are built to withstand abuse from animals. Furthermore, they can be used to store many of the items in this list when not being used for an injured animal. Thus the carrier will keep your car neat and everything will be easy to access during an emergency.
- soft duffel bag or blanket to cover container holding the injured animal while it is being transported. This will keep the interior of the container dark and reduce stress on the animal.
Additional ways you can Prepare
Keeping a well-stocked first aid kit is paramount. Have one in your car, another one in your house and take a smaller one with you if you hike in the woods. Finally, if you have a second residence, such as a cottage, keep a first aid kit there too. You never know when an unfortunate animal will need your help.
Drive slowly! Don’t be in a rush. Leave lots of time to get where you are going. Wild animals often do not act the way you think they will. You may know, for example, that squirrels tend to dart out into the road and then retreat when they see an approaching car, but deer tend to dart out and continue forward. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that the animal you meet on the road will act in the ‘expected’ manner, even if you are aware of the ‘norm’ for that species.
Additionally, you will find taking a defensive driver’s course that teaches object avoidance techniques very useful too.
Here We Go …
Park your car where you will be safe exiting it. You will need a clear head and your confident attitude will help calm the injured animal.
You have all the necessary training. Furthermore, the items you will need are in your car including phone numbers of people that can help this animal. Now you can handled wildlife emergencies on the road that you encounter.
You are ready !