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Warning Signs
A guide to ignoring them by Ninjalicious

Many of the most fascinating and fun exploration sites on Earth are not guarded by locks, cameras or security guards. Often all that lies between a merry band of infiltrators and exploration paradise is a simple, two-dimensional warning sign. A warning sign which cruelly informs all who gaze upon it that it holds no love for them; they are unwelcome; whatever lies behind the sign is too good for them. Though our eager explorers would think nothing of parking beside a "no parking" or "employee parking only" sign and later claiming that they didn't see the sign, or didn't think the sign applied to them, they would never think of taking such a chance here. And so, though our explorers have never signed any document agreeing to obey all signs they may encounter, they brush off a tear and turn away. Well, no more! We have allowed these signs to repress us for too long! It's time to do some serious disregarding!

Fire Exit Building codes require that every floor of a building be connected to an unlocked exit via stairs. This is excellent news for urban explorers, since it allows us to get to places the elevator doesn't go and gives us a way out if there's any trouble. Unfortunately, some buildings aren't too keen on people using their stairs. While some lock the doors with electromagnetic locks which are only unlocked by fire alarms, or place alarms on the doors themselves, most elect to put up a "fire exit (only)", "emergency exit (only)" or "no exit" sign and hope for the best. If doors such as these are not connected to the door frame via wires (usually at the top of the door), the sign is probably bluffing. If an alarm has been installed, the sign will almost certainly boast of this fact, because those alarm systems are expensive (and chicks dig them).

No Trespassing Well, duh. This is like writing "no cheating" at the top of a rules sheet. Of course there's no trespassing — that's why you're just here looking for the washroom, or the payphone, or your friend. That's why you're only walking down the main corridor and making sure you don't actually go into any of the rooms, 'cause that would be trespassing and trespassing is just plain bad!

Danger: Do Not Enter This sign is kind of like a sign saying "Tasty Food: Do Not Eat". It presents two very separate ideas, but then fails to draw any connection between the inviting statement and the prohibitive statement. If this sign was written in proper English, it would say "There is danger ahead, so do not enter unless of course you like that kind of thing and think you can take care of yourself." And you do. So go ahead.

Authorized Personnel Only This is the big one; the most common roadblock between the explorer and all the good stuff. Like the devil, the insidious "Authorized Personnel Only" sign appears in many forms and under many names, including "Employees Only", "Staff Only" and "Unauthorized Entry Prohibited". The signs which require authorization are quite vague, as they never state who exactly has to do all this authorizing. But I've had jobs where I was allowed into the "authorized personnel only" areas. And since I swore no oath to uphold the sacred traditions of the Authorized, I feel no qualms about hereby authorizing all who read this article to access any area which they feel like accessing. Now you're authorized. If you're ever questioned in an "authorized personnel only area", you can claim that your authorization came from any source: a person at a help desk (whose name you can't remember), an employee (who was there just a second ago) or even some other friendly visitor to the area who didn't know any better.
        "Employees Only" and "Staff Only" areas really only exclude the unemployed; if you have any sort of job at all, even just the occasional bit of babysitting, you can enter these areas with a clear conscience. If questioned, though, you might want to claim indirect employment with the establishment. Claiming direct employment is risky, because the inquisitor might know all the employees, or be just a phone call away from finding out. Indirect employment is usually harder to trace. Depending on the situation, you can claim you are a volunteer, a messenger, a delivery person, an employee of one of the restaurants in the establishment's food court, etc. Generally, the inquisitor will inform you that you shouldn't be in the area, you'll apologize for the misunderstanding, and all will be well.

This article originally appeared in Infiltration 2.