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Here’s How to Help Keep Employees and Customers Safe, Prevent Range Fires and Avoid Costly Downtime​

There are strong benefits from mindful range maintenance.  Every time you clean your range the right way, you assure a safe environment for your employees and customers.  These steps may even prevent range fires.  And, you can avoid costly shutdowns by replacing filters on schedule.

Q. How and how often should we clean the range?
A. Deeper cleaning, more often.  See attached Basic Maintenance Schedule, and keep in mind these are only guidelines.  You may need to perform these tasks more frequently during periods of unusually heavy range use.

Carey's Answers: Book #2

The experts are unequivocal
on the subject!







National Shooting Sports Foundation:

“All air being exhausted from the range should be passed through a High Efficiency Particulate Filter (HEPA) or equivalent to insure that state or federal regulations for airborne lead are not violated.”



National Air Filtration Association: “Exhaust or re-circulated air must be filtered at the point of removal with a minimum of 99.97% High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, per the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST) recommended practice. All HEPA filters should be accompanied by a letter of certification or a label documenting that each filter has met the test requirements.”

Q. What are the Do’s and Don’ts of cleaning the range?

  • Squeegee the range. Promptly remove accumulated material.

  • Inspect range and remove any unspent gunpowder that can be identified by its greenish sheen.  
    (See illustration on right)

  • Use a HEPA vacuum or some type of dust cloth such as a 3M Doodleduster.

  • At least once per quarter, wipe down the ceiling and clean the tops of baffles and walls.

  • Periodically use a HEPA vacuum to remove unspent powder that accumulates in cracks and corners.


  • Sweep the range with common brooms or conventional tools.  This can create a hazard by pushing flammable gunpowder dust into cracks and creating dust in the air.

  • Push cardboard, paper, or unspent gunpowder into the bullet trap.

Q. How can I keep gunpowder from being tracked out of the range and into surrounding retail areas?
A. Use Tacky Mats on floor by the exit of the range.  This will prevent your users from tracking dirt, lead and unspent gunpowder into the retail store.

Q. How can I help prevent range fires through proper attention to bullet traps?
A. Both steel and rubber bullet traps can accumulate dangerous unspent gunpowder.  


  • Maintain, clean and recycle the bullet trap per manufacturer’s specifications. This may include placing a fire retardant in rubber bullet traps.

  • Keep debris out of your bullet trap.

Q. How else can I prepare my range to help prevent fires and explosions?
A. Recommendations:

  • Seal floor expansion joints and cracks with caulk.  Accumulations in joints and cracks can store enough gunpowder to create a significant fire hazard that may lead to a catastrophic event.  

  • We also recommend sealing the seam where the wall meets the floor.

  • Never store new or used filters or other materials behind the bullet trap.

Tacky Mats
Book #1 >>> Click Here

Tacky Mats

Lead Removal from a Granular Rubber Trap System / Green Bay Lead, Inc.

Sealing cracks with caulk

Q. How often do filters need to be replaced?
A. See Basic Maintenance Schedule below.  Replace Pre-filters as required by system design, which can be as often as weekly.  This may seem like overkill, but the strategy will pay off down the road since it allows the more expensive HEPA filters to last longer.

Anchor 1

Q. What should I check for when inspecting the wiring?
A. Keep electrical gear and wire connections snugged and tight. Inspect at least annually.  Note that even properly installed wires will heat up and cool down due to variations in current, which loosens them over time.  Keep anything flammable away from electrical components.  We recommend using a licensed electrician to inspect your facility.

Q. What else should be inspected regularly?
A. Recommendations:

  • Check the Targeting System on a regular basis.  

  • Let Carey’s check your Ventilation System to assure belts are tight, with correct negative pressure.

  • Create a Preventative Maintenance Schedule (PMS)

Q. How can I protect our employees while they’re working in the range? 

A. It’s a good idea to wear protective gear.  The PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) required will be determined in the initial exposure assessment that should be done for every task that could expose employees to lead. 

Q. What else should I do?
A. Attend a Lead and OSHA management seminar, such as the one that NSSF holds twice annually.  This will keep you up to date with changing regulations.

Q. What step may also be necessary to be absolutely sure employees are not being exposed to lead?
A. We recommend that you do an initial exposure assessment for every task where employees could be exposed to contaminate. These tests should be conducted, overseen and interpreted by an Industrial Hygienist.  These protections are mandated by OSHA reg. 1910.1025 for employees who work in a potentially hazardous environment.  You may consider subcontracting work where exposure requires positive pressure masks as that will bring your reporting and training to a much higher level.

Q. What is the correct way to dispose of potentially hazardous waste? 
A. Put old filters back in the box they came in; then wrap in one or two bags sealed with tie-string or tape.  Store all waste, including rags, mops, etc. in appropriate DOT containers. Properly dispose of these items using a licensed disposal company. 

Q. What is my responsibility once the waste has left my site?
A. Be careful who you hire.  As the range owner, you are responsible for the proper disposal and handling of the lead even after it is removed from your site by a recycler or disposal firm.  You must investigate to insure your hazardous materials are handled and disposed of properly.  Even if the disposal company dumps them illegally, you are fully liable for any environmental damage or cleanup.

Q. Any more questions?
A. Call Carey’s today at (708) 532-2449 for a free consultation.


Everyone will know you're king of the range!

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Air Sampling Belt

US Army Public Health Center

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