Based on an original post on the forums by @Obscurity
Firstly, if you are reading this as a new member to Oblivion State, a very warm welcome to the forum.
So you've signed up to the forum, what now?
So you're new to Urban Exploring, you've just discovered this website and you've got a million places you want to visit, Great! Before you go running out the door to your first explore, have a read of the following.
Urban Exploring can be fun, but it can also be dangerous. Explorers have been injured, sometimes seriously, when visiting places so exploring anywhere should not be taken lightly. Remember quite often you will be entering places which have been empty for a long time, and may not have seen human habitation for a number of years. Floors, ceilings and even walls can and do give way when they are badly decayed and there are many other hazards to be aware of.
- Always be aware of your surroundings
- Do your research on a place before you go
- Be aware of hazards such as asbestos, chemicals or even pigeon excrement. All these can affect your health either short term or long term and could have serious effects.
- Always go with someone or make sure someone else knows where you are
- Make sure you don't have an incriminating items such as tools with you, even accidentally
- Exercise extreme caution in abandoned buildings that have advanced levels of decay. That floor which looks fine may be deceiving.
Urban Exploring and the law (in the UK)
The advice below is general advice and is not authoritative. We strongly suggest you read up on trespass law where you live prior to entering any site.
Trespass in the UK is a civil wrong. That means it is generally not a criminal offence and you cannot normally be arrested for straightforward trespass. There are exceptions to this including sites covered by bylaws (like railways) sites covered by specific criminal laws such as nuclear sites and other specifically named sites within the UK. There also exists an offence of aggravated trespass which may be invoked on a trespasser who has been asked to leave a location but refuses to do so. The trespass laws in Scotland are different, we suggest you read up on these if you are planning to visit places in Scotland.
If you are caught as a trespasser by a security guard or the Police they will normally ask you to leave the site and may walk you to the nearest exit. The police may also perform a stop and search on you if they suspect you may have stolen goods or items on you that could be used for committing a crime. It is best to co-operate with the Police in these matters which is why you should never carry anything that may incriminate you. Even if you don't intend to use it for anything, you may have a hard time persuading the police of this. It is important to realise that a security guard has no more rights than any other civilian to detain you, but they may do so if they suspect a crime has been committed. Security guards have no right to search you or take your property from you.
Things to bear in mind to stay within the law
- Do not damage anything! Even if that bit of wire can be un-picked on a fence, be aware that the law may see this as burglary or criminal damage.
- Do not carry on your person any tools of any description. Even that alan key set you use on your bike, leave it at home!
- If you are asked to leave a site then do so at once. You can even be cheeky and ask to be let out the front gate, it's often easier.
- Be nice to the Police, generally speaking they are pleasant to deal with and most Police forces are quite aware of Urban Explorers. If they believe you have done nothing wrong, you will get away with just a stop and search and maybe not even that.
- Sometimes you will get the "delete your photos and we'll let you go" line from security or even the police. While they have no absolute right to ask you to do this, sometimes is it better to co-operate and delete the photos, then recover them later with recovery software that is readily available online.
What kit do I need to explore with?
This varies depending on the site(s) you are visiting, but generally speaking most explorers kit consists of (at the bare minimum)
- Camera and Tripod
- Food and Water
- A torch and spare batteries
- Good pair of boots
- Suitable clothing (normally old as it get damaged often)
Quite often it is sensible to carry a mobile phone and basic first aid kit with you.
How do I get information on places I've seen on the forum?
What we don't recommend you do is sign up to the forum and straight away ask for information on everything you see posted up. People won't hand out their sometimes extensively researched access details to people that they don't know, so if you ask questions such as "how do I get in" on the public forum you won't get anywhere. You have to establish yourself into the community before that sort of information is forthcoming. The best way of gaining peoples confidence is to post up some reports of your own from the places that are closest to you or easiest for you to go and do. We don't mind if it's somewhere already featured on the forum, it's nice to see places from someone else's point of view. Your first reports don't have to be epic or even amazingly long or detailed, but we do appreciate if the photos are of interest and are at least in focus.
Once you start talking to people on the forums there's a pretty good chance you'll start meeting other explorers who are local to you and you'll start gaining peoples trust. It's at that point when people will start sharing information with you and you'll probably start to really enjoy being part of this community.
- Join the Facebook group and get to know people
- Chat to people in the chat box
- Participate in the general discussion threads
- Comment on other peoples reports
- Read all the FAQ's and other advice posted here
- Message a Moderator or Admin if you have any questions
How to have a good time exploring
The whole point of Urban Exploring is to get some enjoyment out of it (we hope) so with that in mind try doing the following
- Allow plenty of time for your visit, then you can take your time and really enjoy the place you are in
- Research the place you are going so you know what to expect
- Have a backup location (or two) in case your original location is not possible, or has been demolished (it happens!)
- Take food and drink with you, there's nothing worse than being hungry or thirsty halfway round an explore
- If you're somewhere where noise doesn't matter, some music on a speaker or phone can be good
- Don't worry too much about your photos, sometimes it's nice to just have a good look around you and take in your surroundings. Remember we are not a photography forum, we are an exploring forum.
Most importantly of all, stay safe and make sure you are staying within your own limits of what you feel comfortable and safe doing. It is very likely if you take to Urban Exploring regularly, that your boundaries will shift as you get more experience and before you know it you'll be doing things you never even dreamed of!
If you have any questions, please feel free to start a new thread in the discussion forums.