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Thread: Abandoned mine safety

  1. #81
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Yuma, AZ/Las Cruces, NM
    Posts
    16

    Default

    Great website on mine exploration and safety: http://www.mojaveunderground.com/forum/portal.php

    Ron

  2. #82
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    I live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
    Posts
    15

    Default

    BB.... I worry about you sometimes lol... (Cactusman)
    "Give me a fish and I'll eat today. Teach me to fish and I'll eat tomorrow." Samuel Clemmins

  3. #83
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    I live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
    Posts
    15

    Default

    It’s been a while since I frequented this board. I ‘m glad to say that no matter how busy I get, I just can’t seem to stay away from here. Now that we have that out of the way, I have been seeing some questions re-surface from years ago. I’ve been caving and crawling around in environs that were better left alone for over 40 years. I’ve learned a thing or three along the way.
    Underground safety: First… Stay above ground. These places were closed for good reasons. Some gasses can displace oxygen. When this happens, the first thing to go is good judgment. After that is your balance, discipline, and memory. The effect is like getting drunk without the fun parts. Assuming you don’t pass out, you are now in a position to stumble into the physical hazards. There are plenty of fun things to do underground like wander up on a critter that calls the place home, Stumble head over heels into a vertical shaft , or just plain get lost underground while you are impaired. Dry rotted timbers don’t get better with time and unless you have taken proper precautions, nobody knows where to look for your body.

    If all that was not enough to scare some good judgment into you, let’s get started with being safe underground. A great first step would be to join a caving club near you. They can teach you far more in person than I ever could over the net. They will show you the equipment you need and how to use it. More importantly, they will be a source of fellow adventures. Here’s a good rule for you. Never ever consider going underground alone. Going underground with someone inexperienced or untrained is even worse. That puts you in a position to think for both of you. If you are considering taking a child, just call C.P.S. now and get it over with. In spite of my own stupidity as a kid, closed down mine shafts are no place for a child. It’s just too dangerous. My personal experience as a child was mostly in natural caverns. Nature is a much better engineer than man.
    Observation :
    There are six basic directions with which to concern yourself. You need to watch forward, behind you, to your left, to your right, up and down. Hazards come in many forms and can be in any direction including occupying the same space as you. You need to use all of your senses all of the time. You need to look, listen, feel, smell, taste (The air…not the rocks), and pay attention when that little voice in your head tells you that you have a problem. Be aware of your surroundings. Know where the solid floor seems to be. Know where the beams are. Know where the holes are. Know where the wildlife is. Be aware if the place is a protected are for the bats with “white nose syndrome”. You can’t catch it but you can carry it to other bats in other areas. This stuff is a killer to them.

    Lighting:
    The days of carbide lamps are long and gladly forgotten! The flame can be a source of an unwelcome kaboom in the cave gas and the shaft can come tumbling down. At least you get a free burial. Smarter is the idea of helmet mounted battery operated lamps. They don’t start fires. They don’t cook your partner’s eye out of his head when you look his way, only to find out he is closer than you thought. It is easier to change a few batteries than you change out the powder and water tanks. Always keep plenty of batteries on you and remember to keep one or three little cheap flashlights “Just in case”. As a rule, a light on your head is superior to a light in your hand. With the light on your helmet, your hands are free to explore and keep you safe. A small battery operated lantern is always a plus to keep in your pack.

    Water:
    Unless you are planning some kind of super world shattering expedition, two canteens should treat you pretty well. Be well hydrated when you go in and do the same at about the halfway point (Just before you turn around to come back out). The more contemporary cavers like water bladders but I’ve seen too many of those get torn on sharp rocks, each other’s equipment, and artifacts.

    Adventuring partners:
    As I mentioned previously, never go underground alone. Three is the absolute minimum. At least one of you should have some kind of first aid card and a kit. The idea id that if someone gets hurt you medic can stay with him while the other goes for help. It’s best if someone back home knows where you are, what you are doing, and when you intend to make contact again. If contact is more than an hour late they are supposed to call 911.

    Obviously, I can’t write an all-encompassing paper on this topic in this forum. I can’t stress enough that you need to put safety first. Seek training from a reputable group. Gain personal experience, and sharpen your skills. I wish a fulfilling adventure that will provide memories to last you a lifetime. Just so you don’t become a memory.
    I'm really not trying to keep you above ground. Just please get educated!

    Your friend,
    The_real_cactusman
    Aka East_coast_john
    Aka John Frye

    "Give me a fish and I'll eat today. Teach me to fish and I'll eat tomorrow." Samuel Clemmins

  4. #84
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    I live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
    Posts
    15

    Default

    Itís been a while since I frequented this board. I Ďm glad to say that no matter how busy I get, I just canít seem to stay away from here. Now that we have that out of the way, I have been seeing some questions re-surface from years ago. Iíve been caving and crawling around in environs that were better left alone for over 40 years. Iíve learned a thing or three along the way.
    Underground safety: FirstÖ Stay above ground. These places were closed for good reasons. Some gasses can displace oxygen. When this happens, the first thing to go is good judgment. After that is your balance, discipline, and memory. The effect is like getting drunk without the fun parts. Assuming you donít pass out, you are now in a position to stumble into the physical hazards. There are plenty of fun things to do underground like wander up on a critter that calls the place home, Stumble head over heels into a vertical shaft , or just plain get lost underground while you are impaired. Dry rotted timbers donít get better with time and unless you have taken proper precautions, nobody knows where to look for your body.

    If all that was not enough to scare some good judgment into you, letís get started with being safe underground. A great first step would be to join a caving club near you. They can teach you far more in person than I ever could over the net. They will show you the equipment you need and how to use it. More importantly, they will be a source of fellow adventures. Hereís a good rule for you. Never ever consider going underground alone. Going underground with someone inexperienced or untrained is even worse. That puts you in a position to think for both of you. If you are considering taking a child, just call C.P.S. now and get it over with. In spite of my own stupidity as a kid, closed down mine shafts are no place for a child. Itís just too dangerous. My personal experience as a child was mostly in natural caverns. Nature is a much better engineer than man.
    Observation :
    There are six basic directions with which to concern yourself. You need to watch forward, behind you, to your left, to your right, up and down. Hazards come in many forms and can be in any direction including occupying the same space as you. You need to use all of your senses all of the time. You need to look, listen, feel, smell, taste (The airÖnot the rocks), and pay attention when that little voice in your head tells you that you have a problem. Be aware of your surroundings. Know where the solid floor seems to be. Know where the beams are. Know where the holes are. Know where the wildlife is. Be aware if the place is a protected are for the bats with ďwhite nose syndromeĒ. You canít catch it but you can carry it to other bats in other areas. This stuff is a killer to them.

    Lighting:
    The days of carbide lamps are long and gladly forgotten! The flame can be a source of an unwelcome kaboom in the cave gas and the shaft can come tumbling down. At least you get a free burial. Smarter is the idea of helmet mounted battery operated lamps. They donít start fires. They donít cook your partnerís eye out of his head when you look his way, only to find out he is closer than you thought. It is easier to change a few batteries than you change out the powder and water tanks. Always keep plenty of batteries on you and remember to keep one or three little cheap flashlights ďJust in caseĒ. As a rule, a light on your head is superior to a light in your hand. With the light on your helmet, your hands are free to explore and keep you safe. A small battery operated lantern is always a plus to keep in your pack.

    Water:
    Unless you are planning some kind of super world shattering expedition, two canteens should treat you pretty well. Be well hydrated when you go in and do the same at about the halfway point (Just before you turn around to come back out). The more contemporary cavers like water bladders but Iíve seen too many of those get torn on sharp rocks, each otherís equipment, and artifacts.

    Adventuring partners:
    As I mentioned previously, never go underground alone. Three is the absolute minimum. At least one of you should have some kind of first aid card and a kit. The idea id that if someone gets hurt you medic can stay with him while the other goes for help. Itís best if someone back home knows where you are, what you are doing, and when you intend to make contact again. If contact is more than an hour late they are supposed to call 911.

    Obviously, I canít write an all-encompassing paper on this topic in this forum. I canít stress enough that you need to put safety first. Seek training from a reputable group. Gain personal experience, and sharpen your skills. I wish a fulfilling adventure that will provide memories to last you a lifetime. Just so you donít become a memory.

    Your friend,
    The_real_cactusman
    Aka East_coast_john
    Aka John Frye


    P.S. I'm really not trying to keep you above ground...just get educated!
    "Give me a fish and I'll eat today. Teach me to fish and I'll eat tomorrow." Samuel Clemmins

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