Geocaching Safety: Post 911
Geocaching is one of the most enjoyable scavenger hunt type games in the world. And apparently a LOT of people agree with me. In the last thirty days alone, over 7 million caches have been logged.
I wouldn’t’ want to discourage anyone from playing, either as “finder” or a “hider.” But there are some post-911 realities to think about.
CBC News in Edmonton, Canada reported today that a geocache closed down a road and cost the city quite a bit of time and money when the bomb squad was called out.
City employees picking up trash on the side of the road found a package that had a four inch section of PVC pipe with wires sticking out one side. After freaking out, they called the police. The bomb squad came out, shut down the road and blew up the package, which is standard operating procedure.
Imagine the surprise, and the wasted time and resources, when they discovered it was not a pipe bomb, but a geocache? Inspector Brian Nolan says this is not the first time a false alarm has turned out to be a geocache rather than a bomb.
There are many examples, but one of the scariest was in Boulder, Colorado in 2009. According to the Denver Post, a couple came onto Fairview High School grounds looking for a geocache hidden there by a teacher with full cooperation from the school. The problem was, the cache had to be dug up and this couple came during school hours. Another teacher who had no clue saw them re-burying the “orange tackle box wrapped in duct tape” and called the police. The school was evacuated, the geocache was destroyed and the couple was wanted by the police for questioning.
Don’t get me wrong, I love LOVE themed geocaches and one of the best ones I ever found was shaped like a classic UFO and filled with little aliens. But in our current world, we need to take some common sense precautions. Don’t make your geocache look like a pipe bomb, for one. Clearly label it as a geocache, so that a muggle finding it will just put it back, not call the cops. Don’t hide it near public buildings, or in places that would be considered sensitive.
Take a moment and consider about what you would think if you found that particular container in that particular spot without a clue that it was a geocache. If it would surprise you, upset you, or make you worry, then you need to rethink the whole thing.
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