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Electrical Box Caches?


zeus661
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I have been reading the messages here for several weeks and was surprised to see people have made caches out of electrical boxes. I was wondering if anyone has ever opened what you thought was a cache only to find it was actually a REAL electrical box. Maybe I am out of line here but in my opinion I do not think it is to smart to design a cache like that.

 

How does a person know for sure it is a cache?

 

Suppose their screw driver slips on a real electrical box and they are electocuted?

 

Does anyone else have these concerns?

 

Please educate me on how and why this is a safe cache.

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Not sure of the type of electrical "box" you are talking about, I have found electrical outlet boxes near a power box (blends in well). No tools are required to enter this type of cache. The box should open fairly easy, if you have to pry or use a tool then most likely it is the real thing and stay away. Hope this helps.

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During an event once, I hid an electrical box cache at a park pavilion that had NO electricity running to it. It was hilarious to hear people tell me it wasn't there. I think someone even stood on it to get a higher view of the area.

 

Then the radio crackled and a voice finally came on that said, "Oh, you're evil!"

 

Other than the event, I know of one similarly camoed cache that is hidden well away from other electrical boxes. I also know of one that was waaaayyy too close to live electrical wires for my comfort. I'd like to believe that hiders will use their best judgment...but I like to believe in leprechauns too.

 

Bret

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I have been reading the messages here for several weeks and was surprised to see people have made caches out of electrical boxes. I was wondering if anyone has ever opened what you thought was a cache only to find it was actually a REAL electrical box. Maybe I am out of line here but in my opinion I do not think it is to smart to design a cache like that.

 

How does a person know for sure it is a cache?

 

Suppose their screw driver slips on a real electrical box and they are electocuted?

 

Does anyone else have these concerns?

 

Please educate me on how and why this is a safe cache.

Personally, I agree with you (I think). There does, however, seem to be a general feeling of "caveat findere" (let the FINDER beware) on the forums when it comes to placing caches in potentially hazardous places such as bee's nests, fields of poison plants, cliff faces, etc.

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I've run across 2 caches like that. One was in a Square D box with a combination lock. This is in Mt Pleasant, TX. The other was a plate stuck to the side of a metal building. This one is in Tyler, TX. I thought they were clever.

 

... With all that said, I don't see a problem with using this as a cache as long as the box isn't hooked up!!! :mad:

 

:mad:

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I'd like to believe that hiders will use their best judgment...but I like to believe in leprechauns too.

 

Bret

I appreciate your confidence in me. :mad:

 

I do not like this style of hide, nor the trick with the hide-a-key hidden on the big green or grey transformer box. It's a security guard encounter just waiting to happen.

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Here's my cache that's in an electrical box. The box itself is locked with a combo lock, and the cacher has to find the combo nearby to open it. No tools necessary. The cache is magnetically stuck to some of the LARGE square electrical boxes in the neighborhood, but there aren't any access points that can be confused with the cache, nor are there any that can be opened without liberal application of explosives or leverage. I did it this way because I wanted the muggles to pass over it, but to be somewhat obvious to the cachers. I labeled it with "TFTC" to make it more obvious to a cacher.

 

IMHO Electrical boxes are fair game to be used for caches, but the hider should be cautious about the spot he chooses.

Edited by Old Bill
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I just think there may be some people who just will not know if it is fake or real no matter how it is marked. Some people don't read all the directions before starting off. Imagine a parent with their 10 yr old kid. The kid goes off to look and starts to open a real electrical box. Things like this happen.

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A really neat idea I found in Charleston SC was an electrical box secured with a combination lock, it was mixed in with other similar boxes that had no locks.

 

It was the final stage of a multi-cache, you picked up the lock numbers as you progressed through the multi-cache stages.

 

Posed no safety problem . . . if I recall, the box was marked with a geo-sticker, great cache, this one, very satisfying. :mad:

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A really neat idea I found in Charleston SC was an electrical box secured with a combination lock, it was mixed in with other similar boxes that had no locks.

 

It was the final stage of a multi-cache, you picked up the lock numbers as you progressed through the multi-cache stages.

 

Posed no safety problem . . . if I recall, the box was marked with a geo-sticker, great cache, this one, very satisfying. :mad:

Sounds like the same one I've done in I'on... :mad:

 

I've seen several well done caches in electric boxes. One used a 'wall outlet' sized box with a screw on cover. The cover was actually hinged, though.

 

I like the concept, provided it isn't near any real (read live) electric boxes.

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I am in the "caveat findere" on this topic. I don't think anyone with half a brain can suspect something that is a real electrical box with real wires. All the ones I have seen have not wires running to them (including one of mine). So if it has wires (or conduits that can hold wires) it had better be pretty clear that this is a cache or I am not going to mess with it.

 

Yes, there can always be accidents, but not making electrical box caches will not prevent any of them. People will look where they will. If they don't know if my hide is an electrical box, why would they be looking in a real electrical box?

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This reminds me of a micro I found (it took me a couple of attempts but got there in the end). Without giving too much away the text and clue made it clear that the target object was a gas lamp in a park very near Buckingham Palace. Sure enough, in the middle of a clearing was a large gas lamp with a small door on the side.

 

Luckily the GPS was saying that the cache was some 150 feet away but I figured that if the cache was inside the gas lamp I wasn't even going to attempt it. As it happened it wasn't (in subsequent correspondence with the hider he shared my view that the apparently "perfect" hiding place would get someone arrested sooner or later).

 

The key thing for me is whether I can reasonably tell whether a box is live. Partly because I don't want to have to explain to a police officer why I'm poking about in an electrical box and partly because I don't want to get myself fried. Quite frankly if there's any doubt about whether a box is live I'll just leave it alone.

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I've found micros hidden in light poles next to live electric wires (that's inside the metal pole, behind the access plate used by the electrician... not under a decorative skirt). I've found caches in electric boxes and conduit that look very similar to the several real electric boxes that the real cache is hidden amongst. I've found caches hidden 8 feet away from live electric boxes, but which were actually under a rock or in some other hiding place. In general, I have not enjoyed those caches. I have one eye out for safety and the other eye out for security. It is hard for me to imagine the property owner giving permission for such a hide, but that's the cache owner's issue in the first instance.

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I'm sorry but I had to giggle at the visual of someone prying open an electrical box with a screw driver.

 

First, who would even attempt such a thing unless the cache owner has specically said here's what the box looks like, pry it open with a screw driver. If that were the case, I would depend on the wisdom of the owner to ensure I would not be zapped.

 

Second, there is such a thing as looking up, are there wires attached? Geo-cachers must always be using their common sense.

 

Third, if your child knows you are looking for an electric box that means you told them what they were looking for. Your next sentence should have been, don't touch it until I check it out first.

 

Fourth, when in doubt, message the owner and make a second trip.

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I found one that required the use of a screwdriver to open it up. It was a small oval conduit junction box attached to the top of a conduit coming up from the ground. What made me pretty sure it was the cache was the mini screwdriver vlecroed to the side of it. :ph34r:

 

I'm OK with fake junction or switch boxes being used, I'm not too fond of the magnetic cache on the big transformer boxes though. :unsure:

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I encountered a cache next to a light pole (if I remember correctly) that looked like a small, oval type electrical box. The cover was hinged, and I knew just from how easily is swung on the screw, and the bottom screw was glued on and moved with the cover, that I had found the cache.

 

I also had this cache that consisted of an outdoor outlet box with a hinged lid cover. Open the cover, and instead of outlets was a bright orange H2O proof match container.

 

This one was fairly obvious due to the cache name, and then my note on the page that it was not kid-friendly was a dead-giveaway on the cache for several cachers. Everyone who visited it enjoyed it, and it had great comments.

 

It required an unexpected amount of maintenance, and my caches will be watched (hopefully) by others for the next year, so I archived it after muggling to be respectful of those who may watch my caches.

 

I do not see a problem with this type of container, as long as it is properly marked or very obvious. It doesn't hurt to put a warning and/or disclaimer on the cache page, either. Again, that can give the cache away, but I'd personally rather loose some "sneaky" points in favor of gaining "safety" points.

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So many posters seem to be missing the point. It isn't that we can make safe caches that look like electrical boxes, it is that electricians make live boxes that look like geocaches!

 

I abandoned one recently. It was a lamppost, it was 5:30AM and raining. The bottom screw was obviously loose. I pulled it and swung open the cover and opps, WIRES! I closed it and figured I'd come back another day when it wasn't raining and it wasn't dark.

 

Sure enough, that wasn't the cache, but that's not the point. It had been checked by geocachers before. The top bolt was even a tamperproof one but the bottom one was a regular one. When this had been serviced I'm pretty sure it was secured, now it wasn't.

 

Paul

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THANK YOU, NotThePainter for following what I am saying. Like you said the problem is NOT the goecacher, it is the electrician who puts hot wires in a box that looks like a cache.

 

A question for all. If you have children would you allow them to open an electrical box? Cache or not, they may just do it sometime thinking they are impressing you with the find. When I was a kid I didn't always listen to my parents. Most of the time I did but not all the time.

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We cache with our just-turned-four and almost-thirteen year old sons. Everyone is fully informed as to "what we are looking for" before we even leave the car. While caching, we have encountered streams to wade across, mosquito-infested swamps, strange dogs, even stranger people, steep slopes covered with loose rocks, high cliffs, ticks, dead animals, caches on narrow bridges with cars rushing by, etc. The electrical box caches we have done have NOT been even remotely dangerous in comparison! We always assess the situation and the surroundings before we allow the kids to search, and our kids have enough common sense that they search for caches safely. If we feel they cannot search safely, either I or my husband watches the kids while the other goes looking for the cache. The ultimate responsibility for keeping the kids safe lies with the parent(s). Completing a cache is not mandatory, and cachers search at their own risk in every situation. It's important to know the physical and metal limits of yourself and the people you cache with, kids included. If you, as a parent, do not feel that your kids are safe, then move on and do another cache! TELL your kids not to touch electrical boxes, bees' nests, animal carcasses, hand grenades, etc. that they may encounter while caching! If they can't adhere to some basic rules, they really should not be in an environment where they can get hurt!

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THANK YOU, NotThePainter for following what I am saying. Like you said the problem is NOT the goecacher, it is the electrician who puts hot wires in a box that looks like a cache.

 

A question for all. If you have children would you allow them to open an electrical box? Cache or not, they may just do it sometime thinking they are impressing you with the find. When I was a kid I didn't always listen to my parents. Most of the time I did but not all the time.

Answering your question, I would not even dream of doing a cache that consisted of an electrical component with my kids, nor would I allow them to investigate such places. If a warning or hint was listed on the cache page, we'd bypass it that day, and if no warning or hint present and we encountered such a hide, I'd pretend with the kids to look in less dangerous spots, and state "oops, I guess we didn't find the cache. Time to move on to the next one." Does that mean there shouldn't be caches designed as such? I do not think so, for I am the cacher who assumes responsibility for my hunts, as listed on each cache page.

 

Further, if I'm solo doing more "dangerous caches" (those I deem not 2-3 year old friendly for whatever reason) without warning or hints (subtle or not so subtle) that a cache resembled an electrical device, I would not investigate such objects if encountered. I would note the cache, and confirm with the cache owner that is the container or hiding method. If that is the only likely type of container in the area, then I would investigate after confirming on a second visit. If there was more than one device, and the cache was not obvious, then I would ignore the cache.

 

Surely I am not the only cacher "plagued" with common sense when conducting hunts?

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So many posters seem to be missing the point. It isn't that we can make safe caches that look like electrical boxes, it is that electricians make live boxes that look like geocaches!

Exactly! So we really need to be lobbying the electricians! lol! Seriously though Zeus, I think i understand your concern, I just don't agree with you. The world is a dangerous place and the better you as an individual can deal with that the better. This american notion of making things safe is ridiculous.

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My question would be is why would some on use a screwdriver to pry open any cache. If the cache needed a tools to be opened then the cache owner would be required to tell you, shouldn't they? I mean that seems like a special equipment to me. And any true electrical device is always kept tightly sealed by bolts and screws, unless of course tampered with. If all cacher used this simple logic, then it would be easy to dicipher the difference. No one gets shocked by touching the boxes live or not.

 

As for the children questiion, why are your children carrying screwdrivers with them? :P:P

 

If cachers simple use common sense then I don't see a problem. If the object that I think is the cache requires tools or might be dangerous and the owner has said nothing about, I usually move on. But in the case of the electrical boxes of the examples given in this thread, it seems pretty obvious that the caches can be easily distiguished.

 

 

0.02

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THANK YOU, NotThePainter for following what I am saying.  Like you said the problem is NOT the goecacher, it is the electrician who puts hot wires in a box that looks like a cache.

 

A question for all.  If you have children would you allow them to open an electrical box?  Cache or not, they may just do it sometime thinking they are impressing you with the find.  When I was a kid I didn't always listen to my parents.  Most of the time I did but not all the time.

Can you cite one case where an electrician installed live wires in something clearly identifiable as a geocache? I sure can't, and I'll bet you can't either.

 

Nobody ever said all caches have to be kid-friendly. I don't have kids, nor am I planning to; why I should have to dampen my fun because of what someone else's childen might do is beyond me. As long as finders are warned to leave their kids in the car, it's fair game as far as I'm concerned. From there, the parents have to assume some sort of responsibiilty.

 

(edit: spelling, clarification)

Edited by Team Perks
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Can you cite one case where an electrician installed live wires in something clearly identifiable as a geocache? I sure can't, and I'll bet you can't either.

 

Nobody ever said all caches have to be kid-friendly. I don't have kids, nor am I planning to; why I should have to dampen my fun because of what someone else's childen might do is beyond me. As long as finders are warned to leave their kids in the car, it's fair game as far as I'm concerned. From there, the parents have to assume some sort of responsibiilty.

No, of course no electrician has done that. Don't be silly. On the other hand, some caches look like electrical boxes and some cachers open up live boxes to check. I saw evidence of this just the other day.

 

And yes, parent should take responsibility for their kids. Sad fact is, not all do. All this sport needs is a money hungry lawer looking for deep pocket somewhere. I've been deposed in product liability cases (no, I'm not a lawyer, I was a witness) and it is amazing how the money trail can be followed. (In this particular case, the driver was injured in a car with a Renault engine and Chrylser was sued.)

 

This can hurt the hobby, and I don't see that unlabeled dangerous caches are necessary.

 

Should all caches be sanitized? No way! I personally have a hide that I consider kid unsafe and perhaps grownup unsafe. However the page explicity mentions this. That's all. The cache I was talking about was not unsafe either, but was near an unsafe area. If all dangerous caches were labeled as such, then a finder would know not to expose themselves to danger if they chose not to.

 

Paul

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No, of course no electrician has done that. Don't be silly. On the other hand, some caches look like electrical boxes and some cachers open up live boxes to check. I saw evidence of this just the other day.

And that I understand. But that's an entirely different argument than "it's not the geocacher, it's the electrician who puts wires in something that looks like a cache" as presented above.

 

I agree that it's the responsibility of the cache owner to take steps to prevent people messing around with real things; however, the owner can only do so much, since there are pretty much no limits to stupidity. No matter how obvious you make a cache, at some point I'm sure there will still be someone who will decide to fiddle with something they shouldn't (hey, we've all done that before!).

 

I think that the best a cache owner can do is consider where a "reasonable" person would look--I plan my own cache hides accordingly. It's impossible to accomodate the lowest common denominator.

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Cache seekers assume all risks involved in seeking a cache.

Thought somebody might bring that up. You know what? It doesn't matter. That dislaimer can help you win your lawsuit, but it won't prevent it.

 

The particular case I was involved in involved legal car racing. The legal disclaimer the driver signed was both extensive, well researched by lawyers, and signed with a pen in front of a witness before the event.

 

Did this stop the lawsuit? Of course not!

 

Now back to the cache I was at the other day. It was in a shopping mall parking lot. Consider the possibility that the landowner could get involved in a lawsuit. What do you think the odds of seeing geocaching bans once a lawsuit is started. I didn't say won, I said started. The case I'm talking about took about 10 years from start to finish. I really, really doubt it was cheap for anyone involved.

 

Now is worth requiring hazardous caches to call out the nature of the hazard? What is the benefit to our community? What is the risk?

 

(And yes, I'll be the first to agree that we need tort reform to keep stupid things from happening, but until that day comes, we need to be careful.)

 

Paul

 

PS: As an aside for anyone involved in a lawsuit like this. I was approached to be a witness about 5 years after the accident. One of the lawyers of the car racing club wanted to question me. I contacted a personal friend of mine who was lawyer and asked him what to expect. He said the FIRST thing I needed to do when the lawyer showed up was to ask him if was representing me. For reasons I didn't understand then and still don't now, I needed to ask this question, he couldn't offer to represent me. So when he showed up, I asked and the look of relief on his face was palbable. He then told me "No, he did not and did I want him to represent me." I said yes and from that point out I knew he was on my side. Just a quick caution if you are ever in a situation like this.

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I think that the best a cache owner can do is consider where a "reasonable" person would look--I plan my own cache hides accordingly. It's impossible to accomodate the lowest common denominator.

The cache that bothered my was located under the skirt of the lampost that had the presumably live wires in it. The cover was less than 2 feet away from the cache. Given that there are lampost cover caches it is completely reasonable to assume that a cacher would look there.

 

And besides, mistakes happen. The hider can miss something and if we have guidelines in place to prevent this, it can maybe help us. We have "no knives" guidelines to help alliviate fears of landowners, why not "no uncalled out dangers"?

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So many posters seem to be missing the point. It isn't that we can make safe caches that look like electrical boxes, it is that electricians make live boxes that look like geocaches

No, I think we do get your point, and that of the OP. Our point is that a little adreneline is part of the fun in geocaching. A little potential danger is OK. I think the post below may be one of the best ever written ever in these forums:

We cache with our just-turned-four and almost-thirteen year old sons. Everyone is fully informed as to "what we are looking for" before we even leave the car. While caching, we have encountered streams to wade across, mosquito-infested swamps, strange dogs, even stranger people, steep slopes covered with loose rocks, high cliffs, ticks, dead animals, caches on narrow bridges with cars rushing by, etc. The electrical box caches we have done have NOT been even remotely dangerous in comparison! We always assess the situation and the surroundings before we allow the kids to search, and our kids have enough common sense that they search for caches safely. If we feel they cannot search safely, either I or my husband watches the kids while the other goes looking for the cache. The ultimate responsibility for keeping the kids safe lies with the parent(s). Completing a cache is not mandatory, and cachers search at their own risk in every situation. It's important to know the physical and metal limits of yourself and the people you cache with, kids included. If you, as a parent, do not feel that your kids are safe, then move on and do another cache! TELL your kids not to touch electrical boxes, bees' nests, animal carcasses, hand grenades, etc. that they may encounter while caching! If they can't adhere to some basic rules, they really should not be in an environment where they can get hurt!

Individuals should take personal responsibility for their actions, and quit trying to blame someone else for exposing them to potential dangers they do not feel comfortable around. This goes beyond the world of geocaching IMHO.

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No, I think we do get your point, and that of the OP. Our point is that a little adreneline is part of the fun in geocaching. A little potential danger is OK.

I agree that each of us is, ultimately, responsible for ourselves; no one is forced into doing a 'dangerous' cache. (Though I have read several logs from group caches where it seemed pretty clear that one or more 'nervous cacher' felt coerced by peer pressure into taking risks they otherwise wouldn't have.)

 

Regardless of the validity of any "legal disclaimers," I just want to know how the owner of a cache with known, potential dangers would feel if someone was seriously injured or killed (as a result of the known, potential dangers) while doing their cache?

 

And then I wonder, if such a thing were to occur, just how quickly a new rule would be instituted that banned similar caches? (And how broad or narrow the interpretation of the word "similar" would be.)

Edited by Skovar
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I'm not complaining about the label, but this cache is so obvious, what is the point? I guess it would be a good deterent to muggles!

that's a picture for the sake of having a picture. the box is actually mostly concealed by the tree. if you just peek in there you don't really see it, you have to look a little closer at it... tougher than it looks.

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It seems to me that a simple point is being blown out of proportion. I have one that is hidden around some electrical boxes. I made sure that everything was secure and that the safety concerns were minor – this was the biggest concern from the approver as well as myself when the cache placement was considered. Is it a lame cache, yes I think so but when I placed the cache, the cache had/has a very special meaning to me – more than I can ever explain. I take my kids with me a majority of the time. I am a concerned parent but I am not a paranoid parent. I have enough sense to inspect things before just jamming my hand into someplace that I have not checked. If I feel things are safe then all is ok and I let the kids find the cache. Is it a concern? Sure but so is crossing the street. If you do not like what you see leave, is that smile really that important to you?

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I just did a cache today that was disguised to looke like an electrical box on the side of a light pole on the other side from a real electrial box. Once I looked at it and decided it was a possible cache, it was not hard to check it out safely. I didn't even have to use any tools!!!

 

Personally I don't get all the fuss. Of course there can be people who pry open things they shouldn't and get hurt as a consequence. In my book this is no different from a cache that was recently discussed because it was on the underside of a manhole cover. Some felt it should not be allowed due to the danger of dropping the manhole cover on fingers or toes (very, very serious if it happens). But you can reach the cache without lifting the manhole cover by puting your arm in through the storm drain. Anyone who decides they need to lift the manhole cover must take responsibility for their action, not the cache hider.

 

In the same way, if you are looking for a cache, you must look safely. Even if the cache is a very safe cache, in a very safe location, you can be injured if you look for it unsafely! If there are any real dangers that are actually part of recovering a cache, then by all means, list them clearly and rate the cache appropriately.

 

But I don't agree that electrical box caches have any inherent danger if placed appropriately.

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Sigh...I can't believe I'm saying this :bad:, but...Tossedsalad, you're absolutely right.

 

How "safe" a cache is will depend largely on how the finder approaches it. It's pretty easy to rule out what isn't a cache without sticking your hands inside things.

 

For the record, I've done a mahole cover cache. I hated it. In fact, it was one of the stupidest caches I've ever done. BUT, it had to do with the fact that the cache was in a wet plastic baggy at the end of a cul-de-sac in a suburban neighborhood, and NOT because it was under a manhole cover.

 

However, if manhole covers are too dangerous, caches under rocks shouldn't be allowed either...After all, I did drop a really heavy stone on my toe one time while trying to reach a cache and wound up limping for a week. :D

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I have a few on transformers and electrical boxes, and have no problem claiming they are kid friendly. The disconects, electrical boxes, all are locked so no one can open it or shut it off. Anyone who dose not lock a disconect where it is accesable by the public is negligent, that means anyone who wants to can shut off the power. I'm in AZ and I can not recall seeing a disconect anywhere outside that did not have a lock on it. If you can get into it and it is live I would hate to be the property owner when someone gets shocked or worse. As for the disconects them selves all that I have delt with have a protective piece of plastic across the main lugs, where the live wires go, that make it hard to get to. Anything below that plastic should be dead and ok to touch, but I wouldn't unless you have a volt meter and know what you are doing. Also You should not be able to get the box open with it turned on unless you know how to bypass that safety feature. If you open it up and see fuses and wires You are in the wrong spot. As far as the transformers tha vent holes are small enough and far enough away that even the smallest hands should not be able to touch anything live. Unless you are dealing with old or defective equipment unless your lacking in basic inteligence you should be OK. Yes I am an electrician amoung other things.

Edited by humanloofa
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