Urban Exploration, Urbex: risks during exploration

Dangers during abandoned places exploration.

Explorer at the highest level of an abandoned gasworks
Explorer at the highest level of an abandoned gasworks

Exploration is not cycling. While visiting the abandoned buildings we come across a lot of different hazards: crumbling ceilings, holes, dangerous substances or tetanus. I think this article should be read by anyone who wants to visit abandoned places. It will also reduce the possibility of injury to a minimum.

Explorator on the roof of the 24th floor building
Explorator on the roof of the 24th floor building. Yekaterinburg, Russia.

Homeless, natives, metal scrappers, youngs, police

I was visiting abandoned buildings for over seven years. I would never have thought that after years the most dangerous thread will be human. When I walk inside an abandoned building, the first thing I do is to find out is someone else is in the building.

Homeless and metal scrappers - I also do not recommend to meet with them. I also do not recommend to be caught by police :-) But if you cannot get inside a building you can always consider to talk to security, they might have to let you in if you will give them some money.

Teenagers are usually not harmful - they are most probably inside the abandoned building same illegal as we are. We also need to watch out for the neighbours or random people - they may call the police.

In summary, I recommend avoiding anyone.

Welded passage in an abandoned hospital
Welded passage in an abandoned hospital

Threats in the air: asbestos

One of the dangerous, which we will find is asbestos. It is a mineral that was used in the second of XX century. Asbestos may causes asbestosis and mesothelioma, can also cause cancer, including malignant. If we are going to stay in dusty rooms, we must necessarily obtain the mask with sign Safety B.
Note: ordinary dust masks do not protect against asbestos!

Threats in the air: mold

While visiting an abandoned places we should pay attention to the walls, especially to weave formed there. Very dangerous for human healthy is blab black - it can cause infection of the lungs and skin, as well as damage our internal organs. We can protect ourself by breathing through a simple paper mask and remembering to eat nothing until we wash hands and face.

Doubtful building construction

No matter what object you choose to explore, as you move through it, you must take special care. The technical condition of such places often leaves much to be desired: rotten boards and stairs, worn floors, unsure floor... These are just a few of the dangers that we can face. When you entrance to any room you should look around you, pay attention to the ceiling, floor, walls and roof. Remember that you risk your head, so if you have any doubts about the technical condition of the building, it is better for you not to enter or try to find another way in.

Dangerous abandoned building
Abandoned building in danger of collapsing (already partially collapsed).

Birds and other animals

In abandoned buildings often we come across, especially at the highest levels of objects on bird droppings. You have to remember that they may contain not only bacteria, but also a lot of virus dangerous to humans. You should avoid such rooms if possible. Watch also for a dead animals, which are habitat for bacteria and viruses or for a wild animals, because they can be aggressive.

Injuries

Remember that you won't be able to to get to every building "just like that". It may happen that we will have, for example, to jump over the fence (with wire). Another issue are the nails: if you walk around the building, which has partly collapsed roof, walls or just the floor boards are scattered, it is worth to notice that you can not see protruding nails. Shoes with thick soles also can be useful.

There is one important explorer's rule: safety. There is another, even more important: security. Unfortunately, a third, equally important, is: MADNESS.

Electricity

This is a topic often ignored by novice explorers - mainly because we can find quite rarely (but not never!) working electricity in an abandoned buildings. If the place has been abandoned recently, especially when it is a private object, then we better make sure that the electricity was turned off. Besides, even if the power in the facility has been switched off, then still pipes can be energized; therefore never touch exposed cables or wires. Keep attention in basements or flooded areas: it may happen that the water flooded the electrical and every contact with it may end up by death.

Geiger counter, abandoned factory. Chernobyl.
With a Geiger counter in an abandoned factory. Chernobyl.

Chemicals

In old factories, hospitals or industrial plants can happen that we find the various chemicals that can harm us - from heavy metals to acids. The two most important things: never light a fire in such places and never touch anything with bare hands. Also try to note the state of the air and check if the room is ventilated.

Radiation

During normal exploration you probably won't have contact with radiation but, for example, during the trip to Chernobyl you should purchase a Geiger counter - which show us when we approach the heavily radiated site. Take also strong shoes and long trousers - radiation often intensifies holes or deposited on the grass (it is better to throw away irradiated pants or shoes than irradiated leg).

Of course there can be more risks during exploration of an abandoned objects - I shared here only my own experience.

 

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