Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 4
Johnnygeo

Geocaching Electrical Safety

Recommended Posts

Dangers of Geocaching in and around Electrical Equipment

 

I’ve been geocaching for about a year now. I have found many creative types of geocaches. This is what makes it fun and challenging. Lately I’ve been concerned about the amount of geocaches that are hidden in and around electrical equipment.

 

I am a Safety Coordinator for a Power Utility here in Alberta. It is my job to look out for the men and women who work on our electrical lines and equipment. It’s also my job to look out for the general public. One of my job tasks that I really enjoy is teaching kids at schools electrical safety smarts. I’ll go to elementary schools throughout the year to present a safety cartoon and explain in detail the indoor and outdoor electrical hazards that exist. I explain real life examples of people getting hurt really bad and death due to electricity. I show them what dangerous wires, boxes and other equipment looks like. I teach them to stay away from all electrical lines and equipment and not to play on guard rails that sometimes protect the high voltage electrical equipment.

I am asking all parents and kids not to geocache around any electrical equipment. This is power poles, street lighting posts, electrical boxes that are in your yard or power boxes in some other location.

 

Please let me explain my concerns.

I want you to remember two very important characteristics of electricity.

1. Electricity always wants to go back to the ground.

2. Electricity is lazy. It will take shortcuts to get to the ground. That could be a ladder touching a overhead power line or a geocacher touching the side of a damaged electrical box.

Cars hit these types of boxes all the time and sometimes there are no visible signs of damage. Inside there may be wires loose that come undone due to impact and cause the area to be energized. (Step Potential/Ground being electrified) Also, the cabinet may become energized and when you touch the cabinet the electricity will pass through you to get to the ground.(Touch Potential) In North America we have had fatalities due to Step & Touch Potential. There is no second chance.

Sometimes equipment just fails. It happens. The insulating factors that protect the public may fail due to age and possibly energize the equipment.

Vandals may break into equipment and leave a cover open... Kids or adults may be so used to caching around the stuff... until it's too late. Let's make sure kids or adults never "get used to" playing around this stuff.

 

The City of Edmonton Electrical boxes (Switching Cubicles) have a voltage of 13,800 (phase to phase). Pad mount Transformers(On the ground) are 8000 volts.(to ground) That’s over 100 times the voltage in your wall that you may use when you plug in a toaster. Imagine that going through you. Just don’t take the chance.

 

I am asking in behalf as a Safety Professional and Geocacher please not to hide caches on or around electrical equipment and not to even look for a cache that may be on or around any electrical equipment.

 

If you believe that it is in a hazardous zone please contact the person who placed the geocache. If that is not a successful route please contact the person who approved it. Most of the time the approver of a geocache is not aware that it is in a dangerous zone. Let’s look out for each other.

 

Thank you for listening to my concerns and play safe,

 

Johnnygeo ;)

Edited by Johnnygeo

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for taking the time to share this information. I'd suggest that you post a copy (or ask one of the moderators to move your post) to the general forum so that everyone has the opportunity to read it. This is good stuff to know.

 

H-C

Share this post


Link to post

Personally I've never understood the desire to hide a cache at an electrical anything... lamp or box or whatever...

 

Besides the obvious YOU COULD DIE IF YOU ARE WRONG, here is a few other reasons why this is a bad idea.

  1. Why would I want to visit an electrical box? It's not interesting.
  2. What exactly do pedestrians think I'm doing?
  3. Are we really this desperate for a hiding place?

Maybe people think it is creative... personally I don't.

 

As I think about it, any public utility box is PRIVATE PROPERTY and that makes the cache in violation of Groundspeak's listing guidelines.

 

To me this is like hiding a cache at an Alligator Zoo then saying "It's in the mouth of the fake/dead one"... keep sticking your hand in and hope you found the right one.

 

I can see the DNF now... Tried Twice, still couldn't find it... might try my foot next time.

 

I'm glad there are none around here... I'd hate to not be able to do a cache because the Owner thinks tempting fate is funny.

 

;) The Blue Quasar

 

edit: what else... typo

Edited by The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post

After working on high power lines above and below ground, I feel it NOT cool to hide magnetic micros on Transformor boxes or near live electricity boxes lines and etc...

 

I just ask why some reviewers let this happen........

 

Dave from Team_Talisman

Edited by Team_Talisman

Share this post


Link to post

I found one of these Hydro box hides recently... was sticking my hands all over places I ought not have been. Finally found the cache (after getting some help of course). Had found a similar magnetic type cache previously on a Frost fence... no danger there.

 

How about a magnetic sheet cache on one of those banks of freebie newpaper boxes that show up everywhere. The only dangers there would be...

- you may end up buying a new house

- you may be convinced to join a religious group

- you may find out what's going on in your city....dose, Dose, DOSE!

 

Yeah, yeah... the newspaper boxes are private property too, but at least they won't electrocute me.

Share this post


Link to post

Reviewers DON'T LET IT HAPPEN. They list a Geocache after reading it, and determining suitability based on the Cache Description and the agreement that the Owner read and agreed to the Guidelines.

 

It is up to the FINDERS to inform the Reviewer of the problem.

 

It would be very difficult for a Reviewer to know every minute detail of a cache, and yes some have slipped through... but it still falls to the Seekers to determine for themselves, and if there is a problem... REPORT IT.

 

;) The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post

Would others please share their stories of caches they found around electrical equipment that was not mentioned here? I believe we can all learn from others experiences...

 

Have you ever contacted the owner of the cache about a safety concern? Electricity or other wise??

Share this post


Link to post

Reviewers DON'T LET IT HAPPEN. They list a Geocache after reading it, and determining suitability based on the Cache Description and the agreement that the Owner read and agreed to the Guidelines.

 

It is up to the FINDERS to inform the Reviewer of the problem.

 

It would be very difficult for a Reviewer to know every minute detail of a cache, and yes some have slipped through... but it still falls to the Seekers to determine for themselves, and if there is a problem... REPORT IT.

 

;) The Blue Quasar

What section of the listing guidelines would a cache on a transformer violate? There are plenty of caches published where the reviewer *does* know that this is how the cache is hidden.

 

Would you be in favor of adding a guideline regarding caches on or near "utility equipment" and if so, what would it say?

 

I have found dozens of caches of this type. I generally do not enjoy them. But I take no action because I cannot find a guideline violation to report.

Share this post


Link to post

Under Table of contents... under Guidlines that apply to all cache types... I would have a statement that says,

 

Geocacher Safety Which reads, "Geocacher Safety is everyones responsibility. If the hider, seeker, approver or anyone else who is aware of a hazard you must do your part to communicate the hazard to the appropriate person(s) to illiminate that hazard. For example: A geocache can not be hidden in, on or in the direct vicinity of electrical lines or equipment. If you become aware of a geocache that is placed in this situation it is your responsibility to communicate the hazard to the cache owner, approver or power utility to remove the geocache immediatly.

 

This would cover a huge part of the concern if you added this safety section.

Share this post


Link to post

People have done stupid things and will continue to do stupid things. Safety is in the eye of the beholder.

 

I understand your concerns about the dangers of electrical equipment but that is the same thing as me not wearing my seatbelt enroute to the cache site. Yes there are dangers and very specific hazards in every part of life.

 

If you feel that the cache is unsafe, that is your opinion. What you feel is dangerous may be no concern to me.

Share this post


Link to post

When one of my employees gets hurt I ask: "Why did you do that?"

The standard answer is: "I didn't think that would...."

I tell them: "You got the first three words right".

Share this post


Link to post

I appreciate all the comments and have a question. While I agree with most of the opinions regarding avoiding electrical equipment, I have a question because of a cache I have been thinking about. There is an abandoned and disconnected pole with some run down boxes and conduit on it in a public park on the North side of a lake. It is in an interesting place, has parking and would be entirely safe to poke, prod or touch. So there are no safety issues. Do you think any policy or guidelines should refer only to "Live" electrical equipment? Also, how about the fake electrical box caches where all the conduit and boxes are installed by the placer. There were never any electrical connections in them and never will be.

 

Not that I am a big proponent of this, but I guess I wonder if this is any more of a safety issue than me sticking my hand down a hole or in a tree trunk where something might bite me. Or fall into a river, trip on a tree root, get poison ivy, slip on a rock, get lost in the woods, etc.

Share this post


Link to post

Other comments... Maybe from parents that have children who cache?

 

Urban caches don't interest my daughter or myself so it wouldn't affect us unless we run out of those outside the city. As for others with kids, it is up to the parent to make that decision (dangerous or no). I wouldn't let my kid touch/play with a power box, but I only have one kid. I refuse to be parent to all kids...that's their parents' jobs.

Share this post


Link to post

I have done a few caches where the cache was attached to a pad mounted transformer case, similar to the one shown in post #3 above. These boxes are well grounded and they are probably MUCH safer than a metal light pole. When they are located in a public area, such as along a street, people come in contact with them every day. Neighborhood kids often sit on the box across the street from my house. Some people think there is a higher danger because of the high voltages in these transformers (7000 volts or more) but if the case ever did become energized at that voltage, it is likely that something would blow quickly. This is not true with lower voltages, like 110 or 480 volts. Probably the most electrically dangerous geocaches are the ones in the base of a metal light pole or on sign posts. The wiring of these poles/signs is sometimes sloppy and is subject to damage from vehicles and vandals. I often tap these poles with the back of my hand to make sure there are not hot, especially when I can see loose wires, or the access plate is missing or open.

 

From the larger perspective, it is probably not a good idea to encourage folks to touch electrical equipment, especially outside in wet weather.

Edited by CharlieP

Share this post


Link to post

I appreciate all the comments and have a question. While I agree with most of the opinions regarding avoiding electrical equipment, I have a question because of a cache I have been thinking about. There is an abandoned and disconnected pole with some run down boxes and conduit on it in a public park on the North side of a lake. It is in an interesting place, has parking and would be entirely safe to poke, prod or touch. So there are no safety issues. Do you think any policy or guidelines should refer only to "Live" electrical equipment? Also, how about the fake electrical box caches where all the conduit and boxes are installed by the placer. There were never any electrical connections in them and never will be.

 

Not that I am a big proponent of this, but I guess I wonder if this is any more of a safety issue than me sticking my hand down a hole or in a tree trunk where something might bite me. Or fall into a river, trip on a tree root, get poison ivy, slip on a rock, get lost in the woods, etc.

 

Great Question!!! I feel that there are adults that will know the difference between a disconnected pole or box, fake one or a real live one. Kids usually wouldn't know the difference

I would not want kids to get used to geocaching around any type electrical equipment... or adults doing the same.

 

"more of a safety issue than me sticking my hand down a hole or in a tree trunk where something might bite me" This comment as well is great. Not to go off the electrical topic but I've seen used needles in a lot of places. Including holes in the ground. Safety should be included in all decisions we make. I'm glad you mentioned this.

 

Again, these are just my opinions, but I feel very strong about them.

Share this post


Link to post

I have done a few caches where the cache was attached to a pad mounted transformer case, similar to the one shown in post #3 above. These boxes are well grounded and they are probably MUCH safer than a metal light pole. When they are located in a public area, such as along a street, people come in contact with them every day. Neighborhood kids often sit on the box across the street from my house. Some people think there is a higher danger because of the high voltages in these transformers (7000 volts or more) but if the case ever did become energized at that voltage, it is likely that something would blow quickly. This is not true with lower voltages, like 110 or 480 volts. Probably the most electrically dangerous geocaches are the ones in the base of a metal light pole or on sign posts. The wiring of these poles/signs is sometimes sloppy and is subject to damage from vehicles and vandals. I often tap these poles with the back of my hand to make sure there are not hot, especially when I can see loose wires, or the access plate is missing or open.

 

From the larger perspective, it is probably not a good idea to encourage folks to touch electrical equipment, especially outside in wet weather.

 

"You know your stuff!"

Share this post


Link to post

I never understood the appeal of these types of caches. If the GPSr is pointing to a piece of electrical equipment, I move on and look for another cache. It's about as interesting as a key case on a guardrail.

Share this post


Link to post

To see if there were any cases to support my speculation about the danger of light poles, I did a search on "light pole" and electrocution and got over 500 hits. Here are a couple of ones at the top ... both tragic and similar.

 

Electrocution - Boy on Bridge

 

Electrocution - Girl at Carwash

 

Great stories to learn from! The quote,"Insulation and wires were probably destroyed or deteriorated and allowed current to flow through it. We really won't know about this wire situation until someone pulls the wire out." This can be any type of electrical equipment. Any voltage.

 

I just added street lighting posts to the article. Street Lighting Posts are covered under Electrical Equipment and I want all to be aware of this...Thanks CharlieP

Edited by Johnnygeo

Share this post


Link to post

Allthough we have found some that have been kinda lame, I personally don't have a problem with these types of hides. Im not an electrician but i do know a few of the basics and feel safe when im near anything that could be hot. I do not think its a good idea to place a cache in an electrical box or around exisiting wiring especially if there's a even a slight chance that it could be energized now or in the future. (ive seen some lighpole hides where the micro was placed in amongst wires,,,not good).

 

As far as the outside of boxes, transformers, poles, etc,,,, yes there is the possibility of a short to the case but if the thing is wired correctly in the first place, then its most likely gonna go to ground. The thing is, anything electrical has the possibility of being a hazard. As someone said above, there are many electrical type items that are placed where people walk by and touch everyday.

 

Kids,, hopefully your young kids won't be caching without you. It is up to parents to show and tell them before they touch electrical equipment, stick their hands in a hole, or even to cross the street for a cache.

 

I look at it this way:

Some people are deathly afraid of water and wont go for a water cache.

Some people dont like urban caches because they feel unsafe in that enviroment.

Some feel unsafe doing a rural or woodsy type cache.

Some people dont want to climb a tree or do anything that involves heights for a cache.

Some dont want to climb a moutain or go into a cave.

And some dont feel safe around electrical type caches.

 

They all have their validity and it's for us ourselves to decide if we want to go for them or not. Heck, there would be no caches to find if you tried to make the them all 100% safe!

Share this post


Link to post

Allthough we have found some that have been kinda lame, I personally don't have a problem with these types of hides. Im not an electrician but i do know a few of the basics and feel safe when im near anything that could be hot. I do not think its a good idea to place a cache in an electrical box or around exisiting wiring especially if there's a even a slight chance that it could be energized now or in the future. (ive seen some lighpole hides where the micro was placed in amongst wires,,,not good).

 

As far as the outside of boxes, transformers, poles, etc,,,, yes there is the possibility of a short to the case but if the thing is wired correctly in the first place, then its most likely gonna go to ground. The thing is, anything electrical has the possibility of being a hazard. As someone said above, there are many electrical type items that are placed where people walk by and touch everyday.

 

Kids,, hopefully your young kids won't be caching without you. It is up to parents to show and tell them before they touch electrical equipment, stick their hands in a hole, or even to cross the street for a cache.

 

I look at it this way:

Some people are deathly afraid of water and wont go for a water cache.

Some people dont like urban caches because they feel unsafe in that enviroment.

Some feel unsafe doing a rural or woodsy type cache.

Some people dont want to climb a tree or do anything that involves heights for a cache.

Some dont want to climb a moutain or go into a cave.

And some dont feel safe around electrical type caches.

 

They all have their validity and it's for us ourselves to decide if we want to go for them or not. Heck, there would be no caches to find if you tried to make the them all 100% safe!

 

I hear what your saying, Every decision has a it's consequence...action-reaction. Electricity is just one of those forces that's not forgiving. Awareness is the key... Risk is there when driving, caching, cleaning the house and flying in a plane.

 

If somehow I could know....When I presented my article, if I prevented one child or adult from getting hurt while geocaching or whatever activity... I did my job. It's all about awareness.

Share this post


Link to post

As far as the outside of boxes, transformers, poles, etc,,,, yes there is the possibility of a short to the case but if the thing is wired correctly in the first place, then its most likely gonna go to ground. The thing is, anything electrical has the possibility of being a hazard. As someone said above, there are many electrical type items that are placed where people walk by and touch everyday.

 

I will agree that if the device is "wired correctly in the first place" the danger of accidental electrocution is minimized ... but not eliminated. Insulation and wiring connectors deteriorate and are damaged over time.

 

This, like many other safety issues, is a matter of numbers. If the electrical box or light pole is in a very public place, where people commonly have contact, then placing a geocache on the device is relatively safe. But caches are more normally placed on a box or pole which is a bit out-of-the-way. Therefore, if the out-of-the-way device is defective, it may remain waiting for a victim for an extended period of time. With lighted devices, the danger may only be present when the light is on, adding another variable.

 

For example, if only one in 20,000 light poles in a city has defective and dangerous wiring, you may have to touch a lot of poles, at night, to find it. But if 15,000 of these poles are in public places where they are touched often by muggles, then it is also unlikely one of these will be the lurking defective pole. That leaves 5,000 poles. If the bad pole is one of the 5,000, then geocachers have a 1 in 5,000 chance of getting fried, not 1 in 20,000. One in 5,000 seems like long odds, but how many lightpost caches are out there? Say 50 ... now we have about a 1 in 100 chance of a cache on the bad pole. What if there are 200 such cities?

 

These types of probability discussions always remind me of the young man who killed himself with one round in a 6 shot revolver playing Russian roulette. It was reported he believed that because the probability of being killed was 1 in 6 and less than 50/50, he was safe. It was the fourth time he had tried the stunt, so the probability actually came out about right.

Edited by CharlieP

Share this post


Link to post

I agree it's a bad idea to hide a cache on electrical equipment.

 

If we blocked off access to electrical equipment to keep people safe from it we would all have to move to the wilderness. There is a balance between the tool that electricity is, and the safety issues that having that tool presents. I hide easter eggs in my yard, in my house, and in and around all sorts of electrical gizmo’s, outlets, and transformers.

 

Caches are not all that different. My local park where I’m supposed to recreate has power poles, transformers, electrical boxes, lighting and so on. There is a world of difference between hiding a fake junction box by a real junction box and hiding the cache in the bushes 5’ away, or even a fake junction box in a safe spot that's clearly fake when a geocacher looks at it.

Share this post


Link to post

Reviewers DON'T LET IT HAPPEN. They list a Geocache after reading it, and determining suitability based on the Cache Description and the agreement that the Owner read and agreed to the Guidelines.

 

It is up to the FINDERS to inform the Reviewer of the problem.

 

It would be very difficult for a Reviewer to know every minute detail of a cache, and yes some have slipped through... but it still falls to the Seekers to determine for themselves, and if there is a problem... REPORT IT.

 

<_< The Blue Quasar

What section of the listing guidelines would a cache on a transformer violate? There are plenty of caches published where the reviewer *does* know that this is how the cache is hidden.

 

Would you be in favor of adding a guideline regarding caches on or near "utility equipment" and if so, what would it say?

 

I have found dozens of caches of this type. I generally do not enjoy them. But I take no action because I cannot find a guideline violation to report.

 

Being part of the public utiliy infrastructure might make this paragraph applicable:

 

"Caches near or under public structures deemed potential or possible targets for terrorist attacks. These include but are not limited to highway bridges, dams, government buildings, elementary and secondary schools, and airports."

Share this post


Link to post
The Leprechauns

 

(The Blue Quasar @ Apr 13 2006, 09:35 PM) *

 

Reviewers DON'T LET IT HAPPEN. They list a Geocache after reading it, and determining suitability based on the Cache Description and the agreement that the Owner read and agreed to the Guidelines.

 

It is up to the FINDERS to inform the Reviewer of the problem.

 

It would be very difficult for a Reviewer to know every minute detail of a cache, and yes some have slipped through... but it still falls to the Seekers to determine for themselves, and if there is a problem... REPORT IT.

 

cool.gif The Blue Quasar

 

What section of the listing guidelines would a cache on a transformer violate? There are plenty of caches published where the reviewer *does* know that this is how the cache is hidden.

 

Would you be in favor of adding a guideline regarding caches on or near "utility equipment" and if so, what would it say?

 

I have found dozens of caches of this type. I generally do not enjoy them. But I take no action because I cannot find a guideline violation to report.

 

Well, I guess first it should be said... they are guidelines, not rules...

 

I was also under the impression that we were talking about actual Hydro Company equipment... which from my experience is ALWAYS well labelled with text and icons to NOT TOUCH OR ATTEMPT TO OPEN, usually with DANGER HIGH VOLTAGE stickers and such.

 

But from the current Guidelines is this section:

 

Guidelines that Apply to all Cache Types

 

For all cache types please be sensible when choosing your location for cache placement. Please be aware of what may be a perceived to a non geocacher as dangerous or questionable behavior. For example, suspicious looking characters wandering about near an elementary school. The land may be public property, but keep in mind what is on the other side of that property line. Also, clearly label your physical containers on the outside with appropriate information to reduce the risk of your cache being perceived as a danger to those that are unaware of our sport.

 

and

 

Off-limit (Physical) Caches

 

By submitting a cache listing, you assure us that you have adequate permission to hide your cache in the selected location. However, if we see a cache description that mentions ignoring "No Trespassing" signs (or any other obvious issues), your listing may be immediately archived.

 

Caches may be quickly archived if we see the following (which is not inclusive):

 

* Caches that deface public or private property, whether a natural or man-made object, in order to provide a clue or a logging method.

 

Personally I cannot imagine any Hydro Utility giving its permission for people to place caches in such places. Further, to actually insert an item into such a utility box could be seen as tampering with it, or sticking any identification on the covering (as in "Geocache" here - showing where it is) would be defacing it (commonly called Graffiti).

 

Now if you are talking about someone making their own fake electrical box, and labelling it properly as a Geocache... that is kinda different... I saw the one CRIMINAL made, and it was well labelled... even though the average person would still think someone was fooling around with some equipment they shouldn't be, it could be explained (and likely frowned upon)

 

As far as Reviewers go... part of me still feels they should be a bit more restrictive on caches that involve locations that are "In the public eye", like this one.... after all Schools are off limits, and so are Railroad tracks... Military Bases ... all places where people can get hurt or arrested... both can happen at a Hydro Box.

 

Want to make a sneaky hide? Go for it. Try to make it a spot that normally wouldn't get your hurt or arrested if you interacted with it...

 

<_< The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post

Interesting that there are rules against having caches close to RR tracks where the train can usually be heard for some distance and may only be there once a day..... or even less. ... But nothing specific about live electrical devices that present a silent hazard 24/7. I have found a few caches on electrical boxes.. way to many on lamp posts etc.. but the real hazard may be that since we often find them there, we loose some of our natural caution and start reaching into spots we shouldnt' be even if the real cache is safely hidden 15 feet away. It would be so much safer to be able to eliminate those locations while searching for any cache.

Edited by edscott

Share this post


Link to post

Interesting that there are rules against having caches close to RR tracks where the train can usually be heard for some distance and may only be there once a day..... or even less. ... But nothing specific about live electrical devices that present a silent hazard 24/7.

 

As has been brought up before, the reason that RR tracks are restricted is an issue of private property and right of way, not of safety. It would appear that TPTB really don't give a rat's rear end if you get run over by a train, fall off a telephone/light pole, get irradiated by nuclear waste, fall off a bridge, get eaten by an animal, get stuck in a drainage pipe, get electrocuted, or perish in any other misadventure. This comes up all the time here, the general consensus is that no one is responsible for your safety but yourself, and if you get fried reaching into an electrical box, well, you have no one to blame but yourself, just as if you had fallen off of a cliff.

Share this post


Link to post

Not to dimishing all the concerns of the safety crowd, but just out of curiosity, in the 5 years that geocaching has been around (and of course 5 years of caches hidden in, on, under, or around electrical boxes), how many cachers have been seriously injured or killed while hunting for them?

 

Anyone know? Have there even been any such incidents involving geocachers?

 

I'd hesitate to create new guidelines and draft new rules based on what might, under the right conditions, be a potential cause of harm. Now if it were a common thing that cachers were getting injured from I could see the reason for some action. But regardless of my personal opinion of electric box caches, I have yet to see any evidence that they pose a threat worthy of new guidelines.

Share this post


Link to post

Not to dimishing all the concerns of the safety crowd, but just out of curiosity, in the 5 years that geocaching has been around (and of course 5 years of caches hidden in, on, under, or around electrical boxes), how many cachers have been seriously injured or killed while hunting for them?

...

 

I'm only aware of one or two potential caching related deaths that were discussed in the forums. When I say potential it's not clear if they were seeking a cache at the time or not. In both cases it was not the cache itself or anything in the immediate vicinity that caused the death.

 

Beyond that I'm not aware of anything.

Share this post


Link to post

....Personally I cannot imagine any Hydro Utility giving its permission for people to place caches in such places. Further, to actually insert an item into such a utility box could be seen as tampering with it, or sticking any identification on the covering (as in "Geocache" here - showing where it is) would be defacing it (commonly called Graffiti)....

 

Hydro facilites in the USA are required to provide recreational access to the lakes and rivers, and in some cases even develope parks. The dam itself may have restrictions but the access to the river and lake forthe purpose of recreation is a requirement.

Share this post


Link to post

Have there even been any such incidents involving geocachers?

 

A good point, but a body found laying dead beside an electrical transformer may not necessarily be connected to geocaching.

 

It would be interesting to know just how many people have died overall while caching. Gotta be a few.

Share this post


Link to post

Not to dimishing all the concerns of the safety crowd, but just out of curiosity, in the 5 years that geocaching has been around (and of course 5 years of caches hidden in, on, under, or around electrical boxes), how many cachers have been seriously injured or killed while hunting for them?

 

Anyone know? Have there even been any such incidents involving geocachers?

 

I'd hesitate to create new guidelines and draft new rules based on what might, under the right conditions, be a potential cause of harm. Now if it were a common thing that cachers were getting injured from I could see the reason for some action. But regardless of my personal opinion of electric box caches, I have yet to see any evidence that they pose a threat worthy of new guidelines.

 

I don't know of any geocache/electrical incidents as of yet. What I do know is there's hundreds of incidents that occur outside of caching. A cacher shared just a couple of examples from the web that he found.

Compared to the population of people out there there's not a lot of geocachers. Though, that's changing every day. More and more caches are coming out and more and more kids and adults are taking part in caching. Around electrical equipment kids play with toy cars, action figures, run and hide, etc and kids are getting hurt. This is a PROACTIVE message before someone gets hurt geocaching.

What I don't want to see is some kid or adult get killed THEN we add a new guideline.

 

Anyone agree... Disagree...

Share this post


Link to post
Renegade Knight Posted Today, 06:19 PM

 

(The Blue Quasar @ Apr 15 2006, 06:50 PM) *

 

....Personally I cannot imagine any Hydro Utility giving its permission for people to place caches in such places. Further, to actually insert an item into such a utility box could be seen as tampering with it, or sticking any identification on the covering (as in "Geocache" here - showing where it is) would be defacing it (commonly called Graffiti)....

 

Hydro facilites in the USA are required to provide recreational access to the lakes and rivers, and in some cases even develope parks. The dam itself may have restrictions but the access to the river and lake forthe purpose of recreation is a requirement.

 

I was referring ONLY to the electrical boxes that are usually marked as HIGH VOLTAGE and DANGEROUS etc.... not to Hydro lands that allow recreational activities.

 

Basic rule of thumb... if it's labelled "don't touch" or the like... then it's no place for a cache

 

:laughing: The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post

 

Have you ever contacted the owner of the cache about a safety concern? Electricity or other wise??

 

Yes, and the typical response is:

 

People have done stupid things and will continue to do stupid things. Safety is in the eye of the beholder.

 

I understand your concerns about the dangers of electrical equipment but that is the same thing as me not wearing my seatbelt enroute to the cache site. Yes there are dangers and very specific hazards in every part of life.

 

If you feel that the cache is unsafe, that is your opinion. What you feel is dangerous may be no concern to me.

 

(DISCLAIMER: I have never brought up a concern for any of the above quoted player's caches- I quoted it just as the typical response)

 

Bringing up safety concerns on an individual cache is pretty much a waste of time. You will just get your log deleted and perhaps a nastygram from the owner.

 

I am acutely aware of electrical hazards and have expressed the same concerns as you have.

 

It is ridiculous to expect anyone who is not familiar with a particular "box" to credibly evaluate its potential electrical hazard. In MY portion of the electrical biz, you can be hurt (burned) just by being CLOSE to the equipment, and possibly not even realize you were hurt- the damage could be internal. I have been burned by "grounded" conductors (RF leakage).

 

As to judging whether a pole or box is "abandoned" or "fake", the only safe course is to assume ANY wires are HOT and ANY electrical box is REAL until tested and verified by a competent electrician. A LOT of electrical wiring is hidden- that is an essential part of the art.

 

Even if you "KNOW" that suspected (abandoned) wires are cable TV or telephone, consider that if they are where you can reach them, something is WRONG and they might possibly be touching POWER lines somewhere that you can't see.

 

An electrical safety instructor (who was teaching ELECTRICIANS) many years ago said, "If a wire is not on a reel in the stockroom, with the stockperson sitting on it, then you should consider it HOT."

 

This being said, I personally placed a cache disguised as an electrical box under a non-electrified water fountain in a park. It was a fun cache (but sadly muggled twice). I figured, with the clear GC logo and cryptic "circuit numbers" that coincidentally matched the GC #, that pretty much anyone could figure it was the cache if they were looking for it.

 

I have also recently found one that is an actual Telco junction box- again marked clearly for those "in the know"- otherwise, I would not have touched it.

 

These caches CAN be placed and searched for safely, but it certainly IS a valid concern as to what the search looks like to muggles and the tacit encouragement for cachers to fool with things they ought not be fooling with.

 

Overall, I think caches disguised as electrical (or telco or RF or any other utility) equipment are a BAD IDEA.

Share this post


Link to post
Hydro facilites in the USA are required to provide recreational access to the lakes and rivers, and in some cases even develope parks. The dam itself may have restrictions but the access to the river and lake forthe purpose of recreation is a requirement.

 

I was referring ONLY to the electrical boxes that are usually marked as HIGH VOLTAGE and DANGEROUS etc.... not to Hydro lands that allow recreational activities.

 

Basic rule of thumb... if it's labelled "don't touch" or the like... then it's no place for a cache

 

:laughing: The Blue Quasar

Your basic rule of thumb is exactly right.

 

What we are talking about is low probability events with high impact effects. Some people try to rationalize some events by focussing on low probability. However, that is always the wrong issue. In reality, the severity of impact is what counts. For example, if the impact of electricty was simply a non-fatal buzz then there would be not issue, low probability & low impact. But it is a very high impact issue. Electricity leads to death, obviously high impact. The relative probability is irrelevant in a high impact event.

 

So to those in this thread who try to diminsh the importance of the issue, the OP is right to focus on the impact and try to be proactive before fatalities. I would rather not wait for a body count to take action since it is a sure thing that without some action there will be a body count eventually. Why wouldn't be interested in trying to prevent a body count?

 

Just remind yourself, you may see no problem reaching into or onto things with voltage because you've done it before and gotten away with it, BUT, the day you make a mistake you'll be the one person who doesn't know it.

 

On whether it violates a rule, that is also irrelevant. The whole point of government legislation, workplace policies etc. being constantly created and revised is because we can't think of everything. When an issue is identified that needs to be included in legislation etc. then its put there. Nothing about legislation, rules, guidelines should ever be seen as static and unchangeable because the world changes constantly.

 

So, just because it may not be specifically addressed in the rules (though Blue I think you did a great job of showing how it could be seen to be so indirectly) does not mean that the activitiy is acceptable or that you can easily dismiss a dangerous cache just because it isn't in the current rules. Electricity is easily identified as a risk and inappropriate so it should be in the rules .So the issue of dangerous caches and caching activities is about re-writing the rules (guidelines) as required, not dismissing the issue because it isn't currently there. I would presume that the reviewers talk about these things a lot and they should do so and make changes to allow them to request modifications as they see problems arise in listings.

 

So Blue, I think your rule of thumb should be part of the guidelines.

 

JDandDD

Share this post


Link to post

The relative probability is irrelevant in a high impact event.

 

Not entirely true.

 

A de-orbiting satellite hitting you on the head would be a high impact event, but because of its low probability it is nothing to be concerned about.

 

Obviously both probability AND impact must be considered in any rational decision.

 

The biggest problem is that people often don't make RATIONAL decisions. :laughing:

Share this post


Link to post

From the original post:

 

"I am asking all parents and kids not to geocache around any electrical equipment. This is power poles, street lighting posts, electrical boxes that are in your yard or power boxes in some other location."

 

I still fail to see the inherent danger of street light poles, those big green electrical boxes placed all around neighborhoods everywhere, or a light post in a Walmart parking lot. If these objects were so extremely dangerous, they wouldn't be everywhere around us to begin with. Yes, something could go wrong with one out of a few million boxes or light posts and cause an injury (or even a death) but you still wouldn't see the government calling for the removal of all streetlights or electrical boxes. The idea that death lurks at every corner where there's a street light is absurd, yet that seems to be exactly what you're saying.

 

I honestly believe I have a better chance of being electrocuted from lightning than I do a Walmart light post gone haywire or a rogue street light somewhere. I'd realistically stand a much better chance of dying driving TO the light post than I would by touching one.

 

If I didn't know any better (ok, I actually don't) I'd say this was a thinly veiled attempt at trying to ban parking lot light post caches that so many people consider to be lame. Or perhaps you're trolling. Or maybe you truly are just a concerned citizen who honestly lives in fear of every electrical device in your neighborhood. I guess I'm just not buying into the idea. There's enough other ways to die that pose a much greater risk to me; I don't have time to worry about light posts and big green transformer boxes. Certainly freak accident occur, such as the stories mentioned. But they're just that - freak accidents. Anywhere there's electricity there is the potential for death, yet the majority of us seem to be surviving just fine. Thank you for your concern for my safety, but I'm afraid I'm just not buying into it.

Share this post


Link to post

A number of years ago I was installing cable tv to a customer's house which involved climbing the utility pole. The pole was wet from the earlier rain. I touched the pole and got a good zap while I was on the ground. I learned from that experience and I gave every pole a smack before laying my hands on it. I got slightly zapped several times over a few years. Each time, I advised the power company and they took care of the problem. I have seen a few utility boxes close to caches and shake my head, there were plenty of other places to put the cache. Accidents DO happen and machinery DOES fail, why tempt it?

Share this post


Link to post

People have done stupid things and will continue to do stupid things. Safety is in the eye of the beholder.

 

I understand your concerns about the dangers of electrical equipment but that is the same thing as me not wearing my seatbelt enroute to the cache site. Yes there are dangers and very specific hazards in every part of life.

 

If you feel that the cache is unsafe, that is your opinion. What you feel is dangerous may be no concern to me.

 

I'll agree that safety is in the eye of the beholder, but these situations aren't the same as your not wearing a seatbelt. If you get in an accident, the fact that you don't have on a seatbelt doesn't affect everyone involved (within reason, of course). If you (the proverbrial you) put a cache in a "dangerous" location, it affects everyone who is looking for the cache, including children who don't know that you shouldn't play around electrical equipment or adults who are too uninformed to know the dangers.

 

Of course, I'm sure there's a happy medium to the discussion. There is a responsbility of the geocachers to be make smart decisions or the responsibility of parents to keep their kids safe, so there must be a balance.

 

Who knows what the solution is, but I don't see myself looking for a cache in or near any electrical equipment if I can help it. And I surely do not see myself hiding one in the same spots. It's ludicrous in my mind.

 

Aaron

Share this post


Link to post

Who knows what the solution is, but I don't see myself looking for a cache in or near any electrical equipment if I can help it. And I surely do not see myself hiding one in the same spots. It's ludicrous in my mind.

 

Aaron

 

And there is the solution. :D If those who don't like/are scared of caches near electrical equipment simply do not hunt, log, or place caches near electrical equipment then there will be less caches near electrical equipment and less chances of people hunting them. With a drop in seekers, hiders will discover their caches aren't being logged as often as other types and will cease hiding them as well. A self-perpetuating solution even!

Share this post


Link to post

 

If those who don't like/are scared of caches near electrical equipment simply do not hunt, log, or place caches near electrical equipment then there will be less caches near electrical equipment and less chances of people hunting them.

 

How would one go about knowing that the cache is in a or near electrical equipment before setting out without giving away the location?

 

I don't want to open a can of worms or anything. I promise. :D

Share this post


Link to post

It seems that a large part of our society is selling fear - fear of strangers, fear of road rage, fear of <fill in you favorite>. If we are going to start restricting caches because of potential danger: no caches anywhere near moving cars (guardrails, parking lots, sidewalks, signs, etc); no caches in forests (trees falling, branches falling, animals attacks, etc); no caches near cliffs (rocks falling to bottom, people falling off top); no caches near water (rip tides, drowning, etc) - do I need to go on? Where would it stop? Even open fields have hazards (lighting likes to strike the highest point - which also limits hilltops and mountains).

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 4

×
×
  • Create New...