Code of Conduct

The Ohio Exploration Society attempts to promote legal urban exploration by obtaining permission to enter private property. We do this whenever possible, but if the place is abandoned and we have exhausted all options to obtain permission, we may explore the location. There are certain guidelines that we follow while exploring to keep us safe and reduce certain risks. Listed below is the OES Code of Conduct, which all OES members have agreed to follow.

Age Requirements

  • Anyone participating in exploration with the Ohio Exploration Society (OES) must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Those who are under 18 years of age and who explore on their own accord in no way related to the OES may contribute photos and information to the OES, but they will not be considered for OES membership and will not attend official OES outings until they reach the age of 18.

Responsibility & Accountability

  • Any persons participating in OES activities must carry proper photo identification at all times.
  • Each person participating in OES activities must take complete responsibility for their actions. If approached by law enforcement, proper conduct should be shown along with respect for the law. Keep your hands visible at all times and offer your identification to the officer, even if it has not been requested. This will show the officer that you have nothing to hide. DO NOT RUN from the police! Remember that law enforcement can call in backup, including canine and helicopter units. If you are polite and cooperative, the incident may be dismissed with a warning. Sometimes law enforcement will even provide more information on the place or give you other locations to check out.
  • All fines and penalties are the sole responsibility of each individual.
  • Each person participating in OES activities are responsible for their own safety and well-being. The OES has members who have received training in first-aid and CPR. A first-aid kit and means of communication should be carried during each exploration.
  • Persons participating in OES activities agree to not hold property owners or the OES, or any affiliate of the property owner and/or the OES, responsible should injury, property damage, and/or death occur.
  • Each individual will be responsible for providing their own equipment when participating in OES activities. Respirators rated for asbestos protection are required for some explorations, as determined by OES leadership before each exploration.
  • Drone pilots are responsible for keeping registration current on any aircraft they are operating and having any required documentation on-person. Pilots must ensure they follow all FAA rules and regulations while operating a drone during OES outings. Drone pilots are also responsible for obtaining any kind of special permission required to operate their aircraft at any given location.
  • Criminal tools such as spray paint, bolt cutters, marker pens, crowbars, pick-lock set and other such items are prohibited while participating in OES activities.
  • Persons who are involved romantically should reserve public displays of affection for a time after participating in OES activities.

Theft & Vandalism Issues

  • The Ohio Exploration Society DOES NOT TOLERATE THEFT. No items will be removed from any property for any reason, unless expressly authorized by the property owner(s) or agent of the property owner. This includes taking items as “souvenirs” without authorization. It does not matter if it’s an old piece of paper or a brand new television, do not take ANYTHING! Not only will the group be more in jeopardy if approached by law enforcement, but it will lead to increased security of the location. Let other urban explorers enjoy the thrill of finding these items as well.
  • The OES DOES NOT TOLERATE VANDALISM. This includes breaking windows, busting walls, kicking in doors, spray painting, tagging or any other destructive activity.
  • If a location must be marked for future reference, it must be done in a non-destructive manner (i.e. using masking tape or nylon strings). These items must be removed and properly discarded before leaving a location.
  • If an individual is found to be committing theft and/or vandalism while participating in OES activities, the individual will immediately be dismissed from the group and will be banned from all future activities. The OES also reserves the right to call law enforcement under these conditions or if requested by the property owner, and will fully cooperate with law enforcement.

Trespassing Issues

  • The Ohio Exploration Society will use all means necessary to obtain permission to enter private property or publicly managed sites. When possible, written permission is preferred.
  • If a no trespassing sign is present at the location of a potential exploration, the OES will not enter the property unless permission has been granted by the property owner.
  • If there are no signs present prohibiting trespassing at a location and the OES has not obtained permission to enter the property, it will be each individual’s decision to enter the property or sit out on the exploration. No one will be pressured to enter a location at any time.
  • Breaking and entering is not tolerated while participating in OES activities. If there are no previously created entry points, the OES will not enter. However, the location will be kept under moderate observation by OES Coordinators to watch for any openings that may appear.

Property Rights & Evidence

  • All materials (i.e. photography, audio recordings, video recordings, etc.) gathered while participating in an OES activity, while remaining the property of the individual who obtained the material, should be shared with the group for posting on its website. All materials will remain on the OES website, even if the individual leaves the organization. Proper credit will be given if this is the case, if it is requested.
  • While conducting paranormal investigations with the OES, tampering with evidence (i.e. EVP, photography, etc.) or tampering with evidence during analysis will result in the individual being dismissed from the investigation and perhaps termination of OES membership.

Alcohol & Drug Use

  • Drug and/or alcohol use before or during an exploration or investigation is PROHIBITED. Urban exploration is dangerous enough when sober and use of such materials could jeopardize the group’s credibility during an investigation.
  • Cigarette smoking is permitted only in an open-air environment and only in an area that has been designated during OES activities. It is not always known what type of gasses or other substances could be lingering in the environment. This rule also reduces the risk of ashes igniting a fire inside an abandoned building or in dry grass and reduces the chance of false images during paranormal investigations.
  • Any person participating in an OES activity who does not comply with these rules may be asked to leave the current activity and risks banishment from future activities.

Group Size & Minimal Disturbance

  • A minimum of three people must be present for all structural explorations while participating in OES activities. This rule was created so if someone gets injured, one person may stay with the injured party while the other seeks help. Solo explorations of cemeteries, parks and other non-dangerous public places are permitted.
  • The maximum number of people for an OES exploration is generally six, but exceptions can be made by the OES Founder and/or District Directors.
  • During structural exploration, those participating with the OES must always be paired with at least one “buddy” if they decide to branch off from the core group. This will help ensure the group’s safety.
  • An additional person may be permitted on an exploration if they are stationed away from the group as a point of communication.
  • Lighting must be kept to a minimal level. Only enough light to see where you are walking should be used and perhaps a burst of light to clearly see your surroundings. Never shine a light toward a window or any other opening while inside a structure. Nothing will grab more attention than an abandoned building lit up like a lighthouse!
  • Noise must be kept at a minimal level. Do not yell or speak loudly, but avoid whispering. Watch for items on the ground or floor that could make noise if stepped on. If someone outside hears a noise, they may become suspicious.
  • The OES believes in keeping true to the motto of all urban explorers: “Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints.” The OES will, by all means possible, leave the location in the state it was found. Any trash that is generated will be properly disposed of.