Healthy Range Shooting and Ventilation
By: Bren Brown
Before we decided to build a range and a retail store, I knew nothing about indoor shooting as it pertained to ventilation. None of our team did. We just dug in, consulted experts, and learned a lot! Then I was horrified about what I didn’t know, and even more determined to build something completely safe for firearms enthusiasts to enjoy and whole families to visit and learn to shoot. Our Frontier Justice team of experts are proud of what we have built and it’s time to tell you all how it works. It is important.
Some questions that need to be answered:
Why do we need next-generation technology when it comes to ventilation? The first and primary purpose of ventilation is to remove contaminants created when a firearm is shot. Exploding primers release lead contaminants and carbon monoxide. The ventilation systems used at Frontier Justice are only top-of-the-line technology and they remove these harmful particles. Range equipment has progressed over the years, and this new equipment, with proven research and studies, has eliminated the contaminants making indoor shooting completely safe. Air is pushed away from your face so that no lead or contaminants are inhaled on the range. Our ranges meet and exceed the NIOSH, EPA, and OSHA criteria for safety. It is designed for this very purpose.
How does this help with lead in the entire facility (not just on the range) and what else is Frontier Justice doing to control contaminants in the entire building? The second and equally important reason for a properly designed and installed ventilation system is to keep the range at a negative pressure to the surrounding building space. Contaminants must be contained to range space. This prevents the ingestion of these harmful particles and keeps the non-range spaces and surfaces of the building free of contamination. This in turn ensures the health and safety of all clients and associates. We also perform surface testing throughout our entire facility, ranges, counters, retail spaces, classrooms, etc. REGULARLY. This is not required of us but it is another way that we go above and beyond all expectations. Your health and our health are of the utmost importance. Additionally, we put blue sticky mats at the exit of each range space (changed daily) to capture any lead contaminants you may have inadvertently walked through while out on the range. This ensures our space is safe, but also ensures your home is safe when you return, and your pets, as you won’t be tracking contaminants into your living spaces either. We offer D-Lead wipes on the range, and D-Lead soap at our handwashing stations. We encourage all patrons to wash their hands after shooting, with D-Lead soap and cold water. Further, this is why we do not allow long garments on the range that could pick up lead from the floor and transfer it into the facility and your home.
What does ventilation have to do with visibility? The final purpose of the ventilation system is to remove the smoke from the range so visibility is high and the targets can be seen. This video illustrates how the air moves in relation to smoke:
If you smell heavy smoke when you enter another range, you are not shooting on the right range—pay attention to where you shoot and that they are properly ventilating your air.
How often do filters get changed in the air ventilation system at Frontier Justice? The system is a three-phase filtration system designed specifically for indoor ranges and lead conditions- ventilation very similar to what you will find in hospital systems. This is an important piece of information that you should never be afraid to ask of a range you shoot at. You have to ask for a member of management to get to the person in charge of this, at our ranges it is our COO. Our COO has been a leading professional in the industry as we have developed Frontier Justice. Some of the companies who sell this equipment have looked to his expertise when developing Standard Operating Procedures in relation to their products. Frontier Justice has carried the industry-standard far beyond any published standards and well within OSHA and other governing bodies expectations. Our filters get changed REGULARLY and well within guidelines.
What does all of this cost, you ask? A lot! The equipment for the range is roughly a one million dollar ($1,000,000!) investment per store location. The filter changes aren’t cheap either. This costs the company roughly $30,000 per store location annually.
One last thing we want you to know—we test new employees to get their base lead level and require annual blood testing to ensure that our systems are catching anything and everything. Our team is our family and we care about our associates immensely. We have had employees come from other ranges with very high lead levels, that continued to drop to healthy levels after working in our clean environment.
We believe fully that we have the cleanest, most well-maintained ranges in the Midwest and we are proud to provide safe, family environments for Americans to learn and practice firearms sports and self-defense. Our range prices and memberships are cost-effective, and well worth the dollars spent, especially as it relates to your long-term health and the health of your loved ones. We are training you to protect yourselves with firearms in your homes and your lives, and now we have offered some training to you when choosing where to do that practice is the safest and healthiest way possible.