Why Five Lights?

The topic of urbex equipment is often a subject of debate. Some explorers prep like they are going on a moon shot while others will show up empty-handed in shorts and flip flops. Every aspect of explorer equipment is debatable with one exception: Light. This short article is meant to help get your mind right about one of the most valuable tools in all of exploring and survival.

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Solvay Coke Photojournal

Solvay Coke is (probably) Milwaukee’s most visited UrbEx site. Opened in 1906, the plant processed coal to create coke, which was used to heat homes. After closing its doors in 1986, the buildings have experienced some major decay, with many being demolished, multiple fires, general vandalism, and some arson, too.

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The Scout

Our first glimpse appeared on a Google map where a curl of whitewater was spotted extending into the river. Comparing the same spot with a Bing bird’s-eye view confirmed the hunch: There is a significant outfall. Another cross-reference reveals trenching in an old photo of the area.

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What If: The Cops Come?

Oftentimes, explorers will find themselves in places they shouldn’t be in. No matter the intention, building owners or operators, random passerby, and employees of nearby institutions will see people that they know should not be there and call the police. Obviously, this is detrimental to the purpose of exploring and can lead to some pretty hefty fines if not avoided.

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What If: Someone Gets Hurt?

Has it happened to you? Someone takes a fall, rolls an ankle, or suddenly gets very sick. The hazards of urban exploration can include everything from rusty nails to unseen hazardous gases. A little preparedness can prevent small accidents from becoming an unwanted odyssey of survival. Make sure others in your group have these skills too. After all, you might be the unconscious victim!

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