Hardly a column goes by on these pages without a mention of the HEPA filtration system employed on all Point Blank shooting ranges. So what does HEPA mean, and why exactly is it important enough to mention it so often? It’s no exaggeration to say that Point Blank’s success relies on HEPA filtration. By the end of this article, you’ll understand why. First, let’s talk about the challenge of ventilating a shooting range. A shooting range must naturally be a well-enclosed space, so that nothing penetrates into the surrounding areas. If bullets can’t get out, fresh air is going to have a hard time getting in, even if a shot is never fired. Meanwhile, the act of shooting a firearm fouls the air too; you’re burning powder after all. It can even become hard to see after a while. Along with various contaminants, you’re also generating a fair amount of heat. It doesn’t take long for such a space to become not just unpleasant, but even dangerous, if it’s not managed properly. There are two styles of ventilation to address these concerns.
The first is called Purge ventilation, and it works just as the name suggests—pushing the “bad” air out of the range, while dragging fresh air in from outside. The air is presumably fresher, but it’s also very hard to heat or cool more than a degree or two. Imagine driving down the road in the height of summer or the depth of winter, with air coming straight in from outside through the vents. It might be clean, but you’ll be too busy shivering or sweating to notice. Too many ranges have left shooters in the same plight over the years.
The better way to ventilate is Recirculation. It begins with the air already in the shooting range, properly heated or cooled. At Point Blank, it’s always a comfortable 72 degrees, whatever the weather is outside. For that to work, though, the air also has to be cleaned, over and over, to insure any contaminants are removed. That’s where HEPA comes in.
HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. On the shooting range, its purpose is to ensure that the air you breathe inside is as clean or even cleaner than the air you breathe outside. How well does it work? OSHA regulations require limiting lead exports to 30 μg/mg3. But a HEPA filter works so well that lead is actually undetectable in a well-designed system. In fact, HEPA filters are so good that doctors recommend them in furnaces and air conditioners for allergy sufferers as well. That’s a tough standard to beat.
It’s easy to see that HEPA filtration ensure that Point Blank’s customers are comfortable on the range, but it does far more for safety than just removing pollutants from the air. After all, it is only through HEPA filtration that Point Blank is able to safely employ a Range Safety Officer on its ranges at all times, without worrying about that officer’s long term exposure to lead and smoke. That attention to the safety of our employees and customers is instrumental to our success as a company and our participation in the community of firearm owners.
In short, we breathe easier when everyone is breathing easier! Check out one of our ranges yourself to see the difference.
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