First of all :
- The list below is NOT a manual to Urban Exploration
- The list below is NOT an encouragement to start with Urban Exploration
It is posted here simply to prevent you from killing yourself should you ever feel the urge to UrBex... UrbanWalking.be and the people who run it can not and will not be responsible for your actions. Ever.
As UrBex is not a coordinated hobby performed in an organized way by those that have it, many groups and individuals have their own description and their own set of rules to go by. Here's what we try to abbide...
- First of all dont force your way into a building, even if it looks abandoned for many years it might still be in use in areas that you did not notice. Storage of all kinds of goods come to mind but I have walked into fully operational datacentres all of a sudden as well. It also makes things legally much more difficult if you force your entry - altho I am not a lawyer and dont claim to be one...
- Be aware that you are entering a HUGE grey area here when it comes to legality, even when the building had all the doors open and no sign of private property is visible. Someone always owns a location being it a person, company or government, and might not - and sometimes will not - be too happy with you on its property.
- Always do research about the location you want to explore. Google is your friend here with typing adresses, company names and such. If you're lucky and Google Maps (or Yahoo Maps for that fact) has a high-resolution image of the specific building and its surroundings it can help you to plan ahead and even show you places where not to go. Do searches on forums and UrBex websites about the location, read what people write about it.
- Team up... Never go somewhere alone in an abandoned building, certainly if its your first explore of the site. You'll be glad to have a friend around when you end up in trouble or when you should encounter people not sharing your ideas of UrBex'ing, but rather want to have a closer look to the gear you are carrying along. Its a good idea as well to tell a thrid person where you guys are going as well.
- Expect the unexpected. I've had people stepping out of elevators in buildings that I, wrongfully, assumed were abandoned and no longer in use. The specific elevator was spotted earlier on but was found 'too dodgy' to try.
- Your ears are your friend. Learn to listen and recognize the sound of the wind, footsteps, other visitors and wildlife equipped with teeth.
- Leave the place undisturbed. Dont take along any souvenirs but leave them in place. Take all the pictures that you want but that old 1940's vintage bottle has to remain where it is on that dusty shelf. Dont add anything to the place except your footsteps, even if a wall is full of graffiti and other tags.
- Take care of your own light. Many areas will be completely dark and even if there is some daylight you will not notice that iron rod in front of you or the 12 feet drop to the floor below if you are not carefull. Take a flashlight and a set of spare batteries and use it well and often. Light the path ahead of you as well as the walls and ceilings as all kinds of sharp clothing and flesh-ripping objects might be sticking out. Did I already mention to look down and watch for pits, holes, cables, debris and others ?
- Know when to go back. Dont risk an encounter with an unfriendly entity (man or animal) for that one special picture or thrill. Don't risk your life jumping over that hole or walking up those crumpling stairs.
- Be aware for hazardous materials such as chemicals and asbestos (old buildings tend to be stuffed with it). Remember that even bird-droppings can be hazardous to your health when inhaled.
- And finally : Use your brain and common sense