Urban exploration is both an exciting and dangerous hobby to have. The exciting part is when you’re inside an abandoned building wandering around and exploring. The dangerous part is also when you’re inside an abandoned building wandering around and exploring.
Get what I’m trying to say? The fun and dangerous aspects of urban exploration come hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here again for you, urban exploring is NOT a safe hobby to have. I don’t say that to discourage you from exploring. Not at all.
I want you to go out and explore. But if you’re new to urban exploration, you should be conscious of the fact that this hobby carries many dangers. There are rules to urbex you can follow, but anything can happen when exploring abandoned buildings. Keep on reading, below I’ll list a couple of the dangers of urban exploration you should be on the lookout for when exploring abandoned buildings.
Falling Through Structures
One of the obvious dangers of abandoned buildings is the possibility of walking on unstable ground and falling through it. It happens more times than you think. Explorers have died because of this very reason.
When you’re out exploring you have to remember that you’re in an abandoned building. These places are not being taken care of so the possibility of structural damage being present is highly probable.
Rooftopping is especially dangerous since it requires making your way through each floor of the building to reach the top level.
Are Abandoned Buildings Dangerous
Always be on the lookout for any structural damage the building may have. Avoid areas that you suspect may be unsafe to explore.
Listen to your instincts and walk away from unsafe areas. Don’t risk injuring yourself for a cool photo.
Exposure To Asbestos
One of the most overlooked dangers of urban exploration is exposure to asbestos.
It’s understandable why new explorers wouldn’t bother wearing a respirator mask when urban exploring.
It’s because they’re blissfully unaware or uninformed about the dangers of asbestos, which is a substance commonly found in abandoned buildings.
I wrote an entire post on how to identify and protect yourself from asbestos when urban exploring. If you’re new to urbex and don’t have the slightest clue what ‘asbestos’ is, go read that article.
One thing that I can say with certainty, is that you will one day come across asbestos when exploring abandoned buildings.
Knowing how to identify it and protect yourself from it will be incredibly helpful and beneficial to your health.
Even though asbestos is only harmful when you’ve been around it for long periods of time, there are still some dangers to inhaling it in small quantities. Which is entirely possible for us urban explorers.
I urge you to go and read that post and familiarize yourself with asbestos. Know where it is most commonly found, what it looks like, and how to protect yourself from it.
Coming Across Dangerous People
Abandoned buildings attract more than just us urban explorers. They’re not safe havens like some Instagram urbex quotes accounts would have you believe. Homeless people, junkies, squatters, and criminals all can be found in abandoned buildings.
You’re very likely to one day come across some of these people. The danger in that is you don’t know how they will react to seeing you in the same place they’re in.
Some could act aggressively towards you. Others might ignore you and not bother you.
Either way, you don’t want to be in the same building as these people. You especially don’t want to be seen exploring alone. This is one of the biggest dangers of abandoned buildings.
You’re more likely to be approached/attacked if you’re exploring alone in an abandoned building.
It’s always a good idea to explore with friends. At the very least 1 of them. There’s safety in numbers.
I wrote a post titled 7 types of people you’re likely to encounter inside abandoned buildings.
I suggest you read it and familiarize yourself with the types of people you might one day come across. That way you’ll know who to avoid and who to be less intimidated by.
Urban explorers have told of stories when they were attacked, robbed, or chased out of abandoned buildings. This sort of thing does happen.
Your safety should always be your number 1 concern when urban exploring. Although I don’t recommend you take a weapon, you should at least have something to protect yourself with.
Being Caught By Owners Or Police
I’ve personally only been caught once while urban exploring. Thankfully I was let off with nothing but a warning and was told to not come back. Honestly, I got lucky that day.
Other urban explorers have not been so lucky. It happens all too often. Explorers get caught in places they shouldn’t be in and they get into serious trouble with the law.
You have to remember that when you’re urban exploring, most of the time you’re also trespassing. Being in private property without the owner’s permission is against the law.
If you are caught urban exploring by the owners of a building you’re exploring, there’s a chance you might be able to get away without any trouble.
You have to be honest and explain that you weren’t doing anything illegal. Apologize and say you’re leaving and not coming back. If the person who caught you isn’t in a bad mood they might let you leave.
But if you were to be caught by the police it may be harder to get away from trouble. The way the police see it, you’re trespassing, therefore, you’re breaking the law.
In a different post, I gave a few tips on how to stay out of trouble if you are caught urban exploring.
Go read that post. It might one day help you get out of a tough situation.
If You’re Exploring Drains, They Can Flood
Entering and exploring storm drains is another form of urban exploration.
Drains are the most dangerous places you can explore.
For one, they can easily flood if it’s raining. You can also be exposed to dangerous gases such as methane and hydrogen sulfide. These are dangerous elements that when inhaled can cause serious health problems.
You can also come across rats that could be carrying diseases. If one of those f*ckers bit you, they could infect you with whatever diseases they’re carrying.
I don’t think I have to mention that drains are incredibly dirty places.
If you’re going to be exploring drains you should always remember the number one rule of draining: “When it rains, no drains!”.
Exploring drains is definitely a unique form of urban exploration. But if you’re going to do it, you have to be with someone who knows what they’re doing and has the right gear for it.
Tips To Stay Safe When Urban Exploring
I could go on and on listing the many dangers of urban exploration. But I think you get the idea that urban exploration is an incredibly dangerous hobby.
That said, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. As long as you’re conscious of the dangers and you know how to avoid them or protect yourself from them, you can safely explore.
There are a couple of safety tips I’d like for you to remember. These will help you not only stay safe but out of trouble. Those tips are:
- Never explore alone
- Avoid unsafe areas of a building
- Carry the proper urbex gear
- Don’t push your luck
- Exploring during daytime
- If it rains, no drains!
- Let someone know where you’re going
- Take a flashlight (you can’t explore if you can’t see)
- Make sure your cellphone is fully charged
These are only a couple of tips to help you stay safe when urban exploring.
One other thing you should also do before visiting any location you’re going to explore is to make a plan.
Properly planning your visit to an abandoned building should be something you always do. Get on Google Maps and scout out the location.
You get to see a complete overview of the area you’ll be exploring before you actually go in. This can help you spot certain entrance/exit areas.
You’ll see what’s around the building, where to park, what places to avoid, etc…
It’s a simple thing that takes less than 10 min to do and will be of tremendous help to you. Don’t skip it.