THE SIX FRUSTRATIONS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT FIRING RANGES: PROTECTING POLICE OFFICERS FROM LEAD AND HOW TO DEAL WITH IT.
Six frustrations of law enforcement firing rangesare protecting police officers from lead. Law enforcement officers use caution protecting and serving the public, and they also must use caution practicing at a firing range.
Police officers visit firing ranges as part of their job duties, which includes target practice. If they go to the same firing range several times a week, the risk of exposure from lead is dependent upon the guidelines followed by that particular firing range. So, officers should understand the forms and paths of lead particles.
Shooting a firearm creates lead. If any of the microscopic sized, airborne lead particles enter the body, either by inhaling or swallowing, these particles transform into lead compounds by the digestive system. Airborne lead compounds then pass through the linings of the lungs and enter the bloodstream.
Eventually, lead will exit the body on its own -- depending upon the amount of lead exposed to the officer. It's no wonder shooting ranges offer a frustrating risk to police officers.
Here are six tips for police officers to lower the risk of lead exposure:
Ventilation is key in protecting officers from lead exposure. An outdoor range is the best choice because of the fresh air and less likelihood of lead particles settling down on clothing, shoes, or other personal items. However, if the only choice is an indoor firing range, be sure an excellent ventilation system is in place.
If you notice that the smoke from the gun, when fired, is not diminishing within a few seconds or if the air doesn't smell clean, immediately notify management. You can always return on another day -- after calling the range and inquiring if the ventilation works properly. Or better yet, go somewhere else.
When you have finished your session at the firing range, wear disposable gloves to pick up your spent casings. This small gesture protects you from lead particles on the casings. The disposable gloves fit in your range bag without taking up a lot of space.
Most indoor ranges do not allow food or beverages. Because lead particles are airborne, they'll land on your food. Your exposure increases when you take another bite of food or a sip of a drink. Also, avoid smoking while indoors. Cigarettes placed on the counter while you are shooting are prime targets for lead particles. Inhaling that cigarette with lead particles attached to it leads to ingesting the lead particles through your lungs and into your digestive system.
Wash your hands thoroughly when your session is over at the indoor firing range. Use COLD water and soap. Your skin pores will stay closed by the cold water and this will increase your chances of non-absorption. When you are shooting at an outdoor range, carry a container of D-lead wipes in your range bag. The wipes will remove some of the lead residue until you wash your hands with cold water and soap.
Change your clothes and shoes when you get home. Put your clothing in the washer as soon as possible. Following this procedure after every visit keeps your family and pets from exposure to lead residue.