Keep Your Indoor Firing Range Safe and Legal

Having appropriate ventilation for any enclosed space is important to ensure the best health and safety possible. For a firing range, this becomes even more crucial, as a poorly ventilated range can pose several risks to human health, as well as to the general safety of the premises.

Depending on their use, firing ranges can be subject to hundreds or even thousands of rounds of ammunition over relatively short periods of time. Making sure your firing range has the best possible ventilation system not only helps protect users, it also improves shooting accuracy and promotes good air quality.

Why do firing ranges need ventilation?
When a gun is fired, no matter the type of gun or size of bullet, a variety of harmful substances are released. Due to the velocity of a firing gun and the compounds in gun mechanisms, gun residue can contain:

  • Smoke
  • Carbon monoxideMan at firing range
  • Lead dust
  • Lead styphnate (unburned propellant)

Lead poisoning is a very real risk for those using indoor ranges. As lead poisoning causes a number of health problems (and can even be fatal), it is vital for indoor ranges to have proper ventilation to draw away the lead dust and safely trap it, where it can then be disposed of.

Smoke from fired guns is also an issue in ranges, as not only does the smoke pose a health risk, it reduces visibility of the targets; potentially a very dangerous hazard.

With so many risks present in a firing range, having the right ventilation and air conditions are essential to help draw away contaminants and ensure accuracy and safety in the use of the range.

Ventilating your firing range
Indoor firing ranges require specific forms of ventilation to meet the correct health and safety guidelines, both for staff and users. Key areas that need attention when it comes to proper ventilation are the firing line and the length of the range itself.

The firing line must have even airflow from floor to ceiling (also known as laminar airflow) and should not have any ‘swirling’ air, so contaminants aren’t drawn the wrong way. Using full cross-sectional grills or air diffusers at the firing line can help provide the right ventilation conditions.

For the range itself, it is important that it maintains negative air pressure at all times. Having negative air pressure ensures that the contaminants are drawn down the range and away from the firing line where they can then be filtered out through an appropriate system.

Negative air pressure can be achieved by having oversized exhaust fans and ductwork, or by installing a ‘smart’ ventilation system that is can start, stop, maintain and monitor negative air pressure. Regardless of whether you choose a technical system or rely on traditional ductwork methods, it’s important that you have a specialised team of trained engineers provide regular cleaning and maintenance.

Health, safety and legal compliance
Firing ranges require high levels of health and safety monitoring, and are subject to strict rules regarding airflow, ventilation and cleaning. One of the best ways of making sure your firing range is fully compliant is to hire professionals who understand these specialist requirements. Firing ranges need to abide by CLAW (Control of Lead at Work) and COSHH (Control of Substances Harmful to Humans) regulations to be legally compliant, as well as being subject to inspections by the National Rifle Association or the Ministry of Defence.

At Ductbusters, our engineers are trained to very high standards of health and safety, with many years of experience in cleaning ductwork ventilation, including specialist systems and handling of hazardous materials. In addition, we can perform fire damper drop testing (an essential part of fire safety regulations) and carry out risk assessments on ventilation to make sure your systems are functioning at their best.

If your firing range needs a hand in getting back up to scratch, contact the expert team at Ductbusters:

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