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Berserker's avatar

What kind of precautionary measures would you take, if you planned on exploring something abandoned?

Asked by Berserker (33454points) January 4th, 2014

Something big and slightly far away from civilization. Like an abandoned hospital, factory, school, something like that. Or perhaps go to a higher level; abandoned mines, sewers, or an entire abandoned town. Let’s leave out small things like houses or graveyards.

Can you make a list of precautions you would take if you planned to explore something abandoned? Please keep in mind, I’m not looking for morality based answers, such as breaking the law by trespassing, or opinions on how one would never dare to explore something abandoned. I mean if the place is protected by the authorities, obviously, you don’t go. (and in that scenario, anyway, it’s not really ’‘abandoned’’)

This is my list, can you add to it, or comment on it? What would you do?

My first rule is, don’t go alone. A group preferably, so if something happened to someone, it would be easier to help them, or get help, if needed. Bring a phone, as well. (not just for taking cool pics, but also for help)
Bring water to drink. Bring snacks. (sealed, preferably)
Toilet paper, in case you gotta go. It happens, man.
Bring a flashlight, and a first aid kit. (band aids, pads, shit like that)
Wear gloves, especially if climbing is involved; but avoid climbing if possible.
Bring a whistle, not just for help, but to scare wildlife, if it’s brave enough to approach you. If the area you plan to visit is an obvious home to wildlife, then do not explore.
Pick a nice day, no snow or rain, and don’t go at night.
Just a little personal one for me, respect the place. Don’t start breaking everything just for the hell of it or anything lame like that.

I was going to add, bring a weapon of some kind, like a crow bar. Thing is, it’s probably not necessary. If anything though, the crow bar could be used on locked doors and such. (this kind of goes against my last rule, but at least it’s not completely pointless destruction) I’ve been in old factories and stuff as a teen, but we never needed anything to open any doors, and most of these places, the doors weren’t even there anymore, besides the main ones. (of course, there are tons of abandoned places everywhere, which all vary greatly)

What is your list? Whether you have experience in exploring abandoned sites or not, let me know what you got. What important steps would you take before undergoing the exploration?

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26 Answers

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’d make sure I had a couple of phone numbers memorized for when I got arrested.

Skip the crowbar. Breaking down doors is still pointless destruction, considering you don’t need to be rummaging through abandoned property.

Watch out for rotted floors and try not to die.

Smitha's avatar

Exploring abandoned places is potentially dangerous, dirty and unhealthy and we need to be really careful. In addition to the list mentioned above I might add some warm clothes,a duct tape, a camera, lighter, all in one folding knife and may be a stick. Better to carry a backpack. A P100 respirator would also be useful.
I would not go alone and would let my family know where I am. I would never do night time explorations, some places are more scary at night than others. l would also do a little extra research and learn a little about the history of the place I would be visiting.
Came across some rules online which would be worth following:
•Take nothing but pictures.
•Leave nothing but footprints.
•Break nothing but silence.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’d bring a compass and possibly a map. And make sure someone knows what you’re doing and your expected time of return. If you’re disabled they could save your life.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Smitha had a super answer and among those things you might want to consider steel shank work boots , for the risk of stepping on a nail seems quite high, and the boots would help prevent that.

filmfann's avatar

At my work, we carried air quality testers on our belts, to verify Oxygen levels, CO2 and CO levels, and explosive gas levels.
Often rotting vegetation will create lots of CO2, and you can pass out quickly if it is too high.

hearkat's avatar

In addition to the above, I would make sure I was up-to-date on my tetanus shots.

Strauss's avatar

I would also add a first aid refresher or update; a good strong rope (don’t know how far down the next floor is under the one that breaks through!); water and concentrated food bars; flashlights with extra fresh batteries.

johnpowell's avatar

Assume it will take you twice as long to get out than it did to get in.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

My will up to date, assume the owner has a shotgun ( true story at an old mine ), three people that know where you went and when to expect you back.

Berserker's avatar

Thanks for the answers, good stuff here. One thing I seem to have left out which is real important is letting someone know where you are going. I’m certainly adding that to my list. And yes, learning the history of the place would be essential. (and a big part of the reason that some people like to explore such places to begin with) Mind you, as a teen when I went through some of those old factories in Winnipeg, I never bothered to learn the history much, but I did get what I could as info from word of mouth.

@Tropical_Willie I’d love to hear the story behind that mine.
A lot of abandoned places that are IN cities or otherwise stand in populated areas might have guard dogs hanging around them, which means someone is still monitoring the place. These are the cases I wouldn’t go. Except one factory me and this girl went in had a guard dog on the grounds, and we had to work as a team to distract it so we could get in the factory. I admit it was completely stupid, those are the kinds of dogs that are so mean that rehabilitation is pretty much useless. Wouldn’t do that now, and I don’t know how we even had the guts to do it then. :/

Therefore…Assume it will take you twice as long to get out than it did to get in.

Truth. lol

Seek's avatar

I’ve seen way too many horror movies.

No beer or drugs, no sex, and stay far away from the black guy and the blonde bimbo.

Wear comfortable shoes.

If you hear something coming from the shadowy corner of the room, don’t “go check it out”.

Berserker's avatar

You should check out Friday the Thirteenth Jason goes to Manhattan. The black guy dies, but he’s one of the last ones to, and out of everybody, he’s the only one who puts up a fight.

Seeing somebody fist fight Jason is fucking epic. It has to be said, Jason won, of course. Punches the guy once in the head and decapitates him, lol.

Only138's avatar

A fifth of Vodka, a carton of smokes, a band aid and a candy bar. :)

Berserker's avatar

Lol, just one bandaid?

Coloma's avatar

Hah! I have had so many solo adventures/explorations. I am one that can easily be led by curiosity. I take long drives into remote areas by myself, walk in remote wilderness areas alone, take off on my own in foreign countries, always take the road less traveled. I have lived on a remote 200 acre property with no phone, no car, and only a horse for transportation to the nearest phone at a campground 10 miles away.

Just call me Sacajawea.
No, I didn’t give birth under a bush though. lol

GloPro's avatar

Most of the time, when I get called out to do a rescue, the subjects aren’t wearing enough clothing, didn’t bring a light source with extra batteries, and didn’t have enough water or food in the event of an unforeseen occurrence.
In addition to those things, I always have a Leatherman, a GPS, compass, my Lifestraw, a first-aid kit, fire starter, a large bright orange heavy duty garbage bag, a mirror, rope, eye protection (sunglasses, goggles, whatever).
So, basically, when I go out I always prep for survival anymore. It may seem excessive, but you can pack a moderately light weight bag and be ready for anything. Pack it once, carry it always.
If I were exploring a mine or cave I would add a helmet and a roll of string. Lay the string on your way in, because no matter how prepared you are, if you can’t find your way out you are royally screwed.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@GloPro Jeez, where are you doing the rescues. And if I need rescuing I’m calling you. You cover all the bases.

GloPro's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe It’s basic survival tools, really. It just sounds like a lot. I am on one of California’s most active Search and Rescue teams, so mostly just lost hikers, or people that have gotten “cliffed out” and need ropes assistance. Or they hurt themselves a few miles into a hike and someone has to go carry them out. Like I said, though, I’d say no light source, not enough water, and no extra layers are the three biggest ones to consider when you find yourself out there longer than intended.
In the winter it can be much more serious. This was my first year on the team, so I can go to some of the mountaineering rescue training, but not the actual calls. Unfortunately those can involve recovery, as opposed to rescue. The last thing you want to do is go anywhere unprepared and end up in trouble yourself.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@GloPro I know. I love the Adirondacks, but you better have a healthy respect for Mother Nature if you venture there. They lost 10 hikers up there, and they never found the bodies. I carry a lot of the same stuff as you do, but I picked up some good pointers too. Thanks.

GloPro's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe When I was a young girl I read the book ‘Hatchet.’ It’s about a boy that survives a plane crash and rigs up all kinds of survival things. I was hooked. I’ve only worn sensible lace up shoes on an airplane ever since, haha.

I love to read any survival stories because the will to survive is incredible. Some have it, some don’t. I’ll be damned if I give up on my last breath, though. People that depend on their phone to save them should keep their fingers crossed.

I did mean to also give a nod to the whistle. Mine is a piece of my compass, so it slipped my mind.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Added to the list. Did not carry that.:)

Strauss's avatar

@GloPro , I’d say no light source, not enough water, and no extra layers are the three biggest ones to consider when you find yourself out there longer than intended.

I agree! I used to work for an organization that required regular 2 or 3 day solo wilderness survival excursions, and those are definitely the big 3. I can improvise a lot, and find food in most wilderness situations, but it seems a fire would be the first objective.

Incidentally, when I read Jack London’s To Build A Fire in middle school, I took to heart the moral of the story: Respect Nature, because it is more powerful than you are.

Berserker's avatar

@GloPro People that depend on their phone to save them should keep their fingers crossed.

Haha yeah. Technology and human societies seem so fragile when compared to the nature that’s been here for centuries. Hell, I couldn’t live without electricity, and frankly, that’s just sad.

GloPro's avatar

@Symbeline We did have an injured girl lost out there one time that used her camera phone with flash to help the helicopter find her exact location. Bonus points that she has random pictures of the whole thing!

Coloma's avatar

I lived without electricity in the late 70’s for about 10 months on a remote 200 acre lake property in the Sierra Nevadas. At the time it was fun and was hardly a concern.
I used lanterns, candles, etc.
These days I’d be a fish out of water and drowning without my comforts. That’s what 35 or so years will do to an adventurous type. haha

Berserker's avatar

@GloPro Ha yeah, that’s good thinking right there. (didn’t think a phone glow would be visible from a helicopter, but woods or forests and whatever isn’t in a city is way darker than cities)

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