Urban Safety: Disasters Lurking in Abandoned Buildings

If you live in an urban environment long enough you will eventually come across an abandoned building or two. In some places these buildings are the exception; in some they are the standard. While lurking around abandoned buildings is probably not the wisest way to spend your time, if you ever have to enter one or are in some other way enticed to pass through one, there are some very real risks you should be aware of going in. From the occasional vagrant camped out to a potential disaster in a collapsing roof, abandoned buildings are ruinous places filled with nefarious prospects. Though best to avoid, being acutely aware of the dangers is never a bad thing. Here are some disasters lurking in once thriving but now abandoned structures that surround us.

Insecure Walls, Ceilings, & Floors

Damaged Wall Restoration

The most obviously risky elements of abandoned buildings are likely the walls, floors, and ceilings–in essence, the basic structural components of the building. Depending on the age and condition of the building, the risk for disaster may vary. Abandoned buildings quickly succumb to the environment and can deteriorate fast. Unstable structural elements are a big concern when passing through an abandoned building, so be careful where you step and what you lean on. While structural elements such as these were designed to withstand wear and pressure, the point is that you never know if and when such elements will collapse from deterioration.

Broken Glass & Construction Hazards

broken glass shards

If the building has vastly deteriorated, there are likely to be vestiges of one time greatness along the ground. Building materials, construction debris, glass, trash, and other assorted treasures may present additional hazards when passing through the abandonment. These hazards all work to create potentially dangerous circumstances within an abandoned building. Instability–in contents, structure, or both–should be presumed when entering any abandoned structure. This also concerns things like lights and other items along the walls that could potentially fall and cause injury. In general, these hazards represent serious potential for injury in abandoned buildings.

Exposed Wiring & Electrical Fire Damage

exposed wiring repair

A serious hazard in abandoned buildings is exposed wiring. The risk of electrical shock or fire is significant, so you should treat any exposed wiring with extreme care. Avoiding anything resembling a wire and under no circumstances touching it are the best ways to reduce the potential for electric shock. In addition to personal electrocution, fire risks increase in abandoned buildings where wires and combustible substances and materials abound. If you find yourself in an abandoned building, consider getting out as soon as possible to mitigate the risk to personal injury and disastrous occurrences.

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