(I did a search on this site but I couldn't find anything pertaining to this. If this, or a similar thread already exists, please let me know. Thanks.)
Does anyone use hand signals/gestures while exploring new places to substitute their voice? I am thinking about it in a creative way to avoid security, squatters, druggies, ect. I know the general ones such as 'stop' and 'go' but does anyone use any specific ones?
If so, what are they, and can you please describe them?
Nope. Occasions where absolute silence is necessary are rare, and in my experience only really occur when trying to sneak past security guards- and if you're close enough for them to hear a quiet whisper, you're way too close anyway. Always maintain a distance from security if possible. If you suspect homeless or druggies are living in an abandonement, leave it alone. If you encounter them by surprise, act respectful and apologize (for homeless) or run like hell (for druggies).
Plus, since there are no standardized hand signals in the community, it's likely you'll just confuse whoever you're trying to communicate with unless you come up with something beforehand, which is a hassle to repeat each time you meet a new explorer.
They're unnecessary and convoluted, so why bother using them?
Indiana Jones wasn't an archaeologist, he was an urban explorer. Archaeologists do a lot less running and a lot more paperwork.
The only hand signal I know probably isn't going to help. ;)
But in all seriousness... hand signals only work when your group is staring at a leader or point man and trying to establish/coordinate tactics where 1) there isn't much room to move from cover, and 2) time is of the essence. While that might be the case for a SWAT team or a squad looking to get a vantage on who they're about to get a jump on... that's almost never the case in UE, despite all the tacti-cool pretensions.
Usually just a hand up and being frozen in place is enough to get everyone who is right there with you (and isn't being an inattentive, gregarious, noisy dumbass) to freeze as well and pay attention to wait for a status communication, which usually only goes two ways: "oh, no issue; I erroneously thought I saw/heard something", and "getbackgetbackgetback". Get-back-and-regroup is how you facilitate the discussion of how to assess/deal-with the given situation... and hand-signals ain't going to be of much use unless you're using the full richness of ASL. And more-often-than-not people don't go into a site in a compact column and no amount of hand-signaling will work if they can't see you.
For the typical situation in which your group is spread out in little clusters, the most common communications solution we've employed is simply having everyone in a group text chat. If signal isn't available, MESH dongles or GMRS radios w/headsets (we avoid the latter as much as we can; we've used it maybe once? Being caught with gear that establishes your intent will ensure consequences more severe than otherwise) if time is of the essence.
Of course, your first line of defense is to not be overly-reliant upon communications, but just go with careful, situationally-aware people who are capable of roughly rational decision-making (or just err on the side of caution) independently, but is still a team player. Then you can have fun flipping each other off down hallways for "stealth communications".
Posted by Aran They're unnecessary and convoluted, so why bother using them?
This is the truth right here. Personally I've only been in a situation like this once, and pretty much any hand "signal" (it's enough to just hold your hand up, for example) will do the trick. Turned out to be just another explorer.
Also it's very likely you'll confuse yourselves with convoluted signals. I'd say "stay quiet" and "over there" are more than enough.
Once when we were having a BBQ in a drain (as you do) under a huge grille and I looked up and saw a State Emergency Rescue dude looking down. He then looked at someone out of site (a cop) and pointed to himself, then his eyes and then held his fingers up as he counted us. Translated it would have been "I see 14 awesome dudes".
A friend of mine and I are both Scuba Divemasters. Underwater you have to communicate non-verbally and there are lots of ways to do it. It does come in handy when you want or need to keep the noise down. Look up Scuba handsigns or just make your on up as long as everyone knows them and there is no confusion.