Police officers put themselves in harm’s way every day to protect us. They are the number one public servants and the least we can do is keep them safe when the need arises. Doing the job of a police officer requires training with firearms, they must spend a lot of time practicing at gun ranges.
More than one million law enforcement officers train at indoor gun ranges every year. Every time these officers fire shots at gun ranges, they are potentially exposed to lead poisoning. When a gun is fired, the vaporized lead can be inhaled and some settle on the police officers and other employees of the gun range. These particles can also settle on the surfaces, floor, clothing and bare skin of everyone present; potentially exposing them to lead poisoning. Protection requires a well-designed and maintained range with a proper ventilation system.
Why use gun ranges as a case study
A Seattle Times investigation revealed that shooting ranges are possible places to get lead poisoning because of the requirements officers must stay certified and to just keep their skills sharp so that they can serve and protect their community. There are always going to be examples of firing ranges that are not cleaned and ventilated properly which exponentially increases the risk of lead poisoning, but we at MT2 absolutely love working with the ranges that take a proactive stance to protect those that serve and protect us! We have special packages where we provide scheduled lead removal, decontamination and maintenance services for both indoor and outdoor firing ranges and this provides the peace of mind that the range and its shooters need to know they are doing all they can to maintain a clean facility.
Lead Exposure Risks for Range Employees and Families
Lead exposure in an indoor range can derive from a variety of sources, including volatilized gases and fragment dust. Lead dust in the air can attach to the clothing, and wiping a sleeve across the mouth or nose gives the lead easy access to the bloodstream. Even with handwashing, touching clothing and then smoking or eating or touching the face or mouth transfers lead. Lead dust may cling to the beard and hair. Lead on clothing worn at a firing range can be transferred to family through contact with the car seats, through a hug, through doing laundry.
Steps that can reduce lead poisoning
Below are some steps that can be taken to manage this exposure and protect officers, workers, and the local community from lead poisoning.
This is the number one action that can reduce inhalation of lead particles. Outdoor ranges are usually more preferred, but if this option isn’t available, then ensure that the gun range is well ventilated to reduce lead particles. Installing a ventilation system may be pricey, however, the expense is worth it. One option for a ventilation air filter system on the market today is the Camfil SafeRange™ Series. Camfil’s SafeRange™ is specifically designed to handle the strain of filtering an indoor gun range. If you would like to compare prices and ventilation systems with other top-tier ventilation companies, review Carey’s Small Arms Range Ventilation or Action Target.
- Maintenance and cleaning
It is important that the range is clean. Daily cleaning and maintenance of all surfaces, equipment, and fabric can reduce exposure. It’s not just the job of the gun range owner; all employees and police officers need training on personal cleanup, handwashing and processes after using the gun range.
MT2 is the #1 and Largest Nationwide Professional Firing Range Lead Reclamation and Maintenance Contractor for both indoor & outdoor ranges. MT2’s proven record of services includes: complete firing range maintenance & improvements, lead remediation services, lead reclamation, OSHA & environmental consulting, operational maintenance and range closure.
Here are some practical tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t drink or eat inside the range. Remember, lead particles are airborne and they can land on your food.
- Never smoke inside a shooting range because this is similar to what happens when you eat. However, if there is lead dust in the air, with cigarettes you’re actually inhaling the lead into your lungs.
- Change your clothes and shoes as soon as possible so you don’t pass the lead particles on to other people or your pets.
There are rules and regulations that guide indoor gun ranges. The owners of these facilities are responsible for protecting their employees and walk in clients from lead exposure. All they have to do is follow the rules and regulations on surface contamination, safety gear, air quality and all other standards. They can also high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuuming systems and other remedies. These remedies might cost extra, but aren’t our law enforcement officers worth more?
MT2’s zero-tolerance for regulatory violations gives range owners the peace of mind that their project will be successfully completed on a guaranteed schedule. No one can complete an Environmental or firing range lead reclamation project quicker and safer than MT2. Contact us today for a free firing range analysis, complete our online range questionnaire