I am not trying to dampen anybody's enthusiasm for seeking out historical sites, but we want to encourage everyone to do so in a safe manner. All of this is just common sense.
TRESPASS: Many of these sites are still on military land, have been acquired by corporations, or are in private hands. Sometimes it as simple as making a phone call to get permission to go exploring, or finding a friend with a military ID.
TAKE A BUDDY: If possible, team up with a partner or two.
TELL SOMEONE WHERE YOU ARE GOING: Many a lost hiker has been found because someone knew what part of the woods they were headed to. In park lands, checking in with the Ranger station is not a bad idea.
UNEXPLODED ORDNANCE: Unless you are trained and know EXACTLY what you are looking at, do not touch or disturb. Taking a photo and walking away is good enough. Even experts get fooled.
DANGEROUS STRUCTURES: What was once a well maintained building may have turned into a crumbling structure in just a few short years. World War II buildings in most cases were never designed to last for decades.
Metal stairwells and railings rust, foundations can shift, timbers rot, concrete can crumble. Where there once was a floor or a hatch might be an open pit with a dangerous fall. Underground structures tend to flood.
CRITTERS AND WILDLIFE: Something living may have taken up residence in that abandoned bunker or factory. And they may not like being cornered.
WARNING SIGNS: These were not put up just to keep the sign maker employed.
Hardhat Area Only: Things are falling from the ceiling.
Runway: Runways that look like they have been long abandoned can suddenly have someone zooming in to practice touch and goes.
Live Fire Area: Don't assume range firing is not going to take place just because it is Sunday morning. That's a prime time for reserve training.
High Voltage: The base has been closed for years... so the power is off. Right? Maybe.
Danger/ Stay Out: Assume who ever wrote that knew something that you don't.
HIKING PRECAUTIONS: How far do you have to go? What kind of terrain are you going over? Any hazards, such as cliffs or water? What time is the sun going down? What is the weather prediction? Does the area have cell phone coverage? Is it hunting season?
Dress for the weather. Taking a bottle of water, a pocket knife, and a couple of snack bars is never a bad idea. For longer walks, a small first aid packet is also good, as well as a compass. Maps and overhead photos can easily be obtained over the internet before setting out, and can save a lot of aggravation.
DUMP AREAS AND TOXIC WASTE: Purple is not a natural color for oozing mud. Burning skin and toxic smells are also signs of trouble. Stay out, and if you suspect contamination, take remedial action as soon as possible. Serious exposures should be referred to doctor or hospital.
KNOW WHERE TO FIND HELP: Nearby roads, Ranger stations, marked trails, farm house, campgrounds or gas stops with a phone, etc. Know where they are and how to get to them before going into the woods.
Have fun, bring back photos to share, but be careful out there.