The purpose of a Range Safety Officer is first and foremost to ensure a safe environment for the shooting public. Additionally, responsibilities include providing an enjoyable and responsible environment.
RSOs are likely the first official contact the shooting public will have at this facility, and we want to make sure all RSOs take their role in this capacity seriously.
RSOs are volunteers, representing the DWR (landowner) and Wasatch County (partnering agency).
In order to become an RSO, each applicant must submit the necessary paperwork to the DWR, who will conduct a background check. This is necessary in order to make certain all RSO volunteers are legally permitted to own/possess firearms, and have no criminal history that would preclude them from carrying out their duties.
RSOs will be required to volunteer at least four hours per month at the facility. The hours of operation during daylight savings time will be as follows:
Thursdays – 4:00 pm to 7:00 (or dusk at RSO’s discretion)
Saturdays – 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Sundays – 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
The hours of operation during standard time will differ from that given above on weekdays only; shifting to 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The long-term goal is to provide some public access to the range on Wednesday through Sunday (closed Monday and Tuesday).
By volunteering, you become eligible to use the range during shooting hours (9:00 am to dusk) at times when it is closed to the general public. Law enforcement agencies and special events have priority on Mondays and Tuesdays (check with Wasatch County dispatch for range availability). You will be required to check in with the WCSO before using the range. Guests are limited to immediate family members. No other guests will be allowed, unless you want to open the range for public use. In that case, you will contact the WCSO and let dispatch know the range is open for public use.
If you are enrolled in the Dedicated Hunter program, your time spent as a RSO will count towards fulfilling your Dedicated Hunter service requirement.
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- RSOs must have no criminal history
- Must be in reasonably good physical condition
- Must posses a working cell phone, with speed dial capabilities
- Must be willing to work with the public under possibly stressful situations
- Must be willing to be a good ambassador for the DWR, Wasatch County and the shooting sports
- Must be willing to be patient and understanding with beginners
- Must have reliable transportation
- Must have suitable impact resistant eye protection, ear protection (electronic preferred), and a whistle.
- Basic knowledge and familiarization with the various firearm types
- The RSO will check in with WCSO, and advise the range is ‘going hot’ at a specific time
- Unlock the gate and be ready to go at the appointed time
- Supervise the safe, enjoyable and responsible use of the range during the hours assigned to work
- Walk through the range, police up any trash, and lock the gate
- Dismantle portable targets and store properly in storage container (last shift only)
- Keep the storage container neat and orderly
- Check in with WCSO, and advise the range ‘is cold’ and note the time
- Check in and open target/storage shed, keep shed organized
- Get sign in sheets ready
- Ensure all targets being used are of an approved type (no trash, appliances, rocks, pock marked steel).
- Make certain ALL shooters and ALL spectators are wearing eye and ear protection.
- Watch for unauthorized ammunition (tracers, HE, incendiary, ferret, etc).
- Make certain all shooters are firing from the same line; targets may be placed no closer than 5 yards from shooting line to end of the range.
- Watch for inoperable or unsafe firearms (loose parts, not functioning properly, etc).
- Make certain that children under the age of 14 are accompanied by a parent or guardian and youth 14-16 are accompanied by an adult 21 years or older.
- Make sure all firearms are benched, holstered or down, with actions made safe prior to calling the line safe.
- Make sure all people are safely behind the firing line before calling the line hot.
- Range commands ARE NOT suggestions. When calling the range cold, hot, giving the command to load and fire, or cease fire, they shall be issued in a firm, clear voice.
UNIFORM RANGE COMMANDS
- Range Commands Rifle and Handgun
- Cease Fire (Table/Ground all firearms. Actions open, magazines removed.)
- Step Back From Line (Make sure everyone is behind the black line and no handling of firearms)
- The Range is Closed/Cold (Go forward and post and retrieve targets. There will be no handling of firearms while the range is closed/cold. Return behind the red line).
- The Range is Open/Hot (You may now handle your firearms and commence firing when ready, 15 minute to 2 minute warning)
- We will discuss the meanings behind each or these commands.
- At times, experienced competitive shooters, military personnel, and law enforcement personnel may be demonstrating skills that the average shooter finds hard to believe, and may misconstrue as unsafe.
- We will discuss as a group these situations, and how you may make decisions based on the activity at hand, other shooters on the line, etc.
- In order to be an RSO, you must be familiar with several different types of firearm systems. Revolvers, semi-automatics, pump or slide actions, lever actions, muzzle loaders. These types make up the vast majority of firearms you will run across while performing your duties as an RSO. It is not necessary to be an expert in these, but basic knowledge of their operation in order to make each type safe is a worthwhile skill.
- It is vital that each RSO knows the basics of firearms safety, and a basic professional method of handling a firearm (to be discussed).
- In order to command basic respect, appear as if you know what you are doing, and generally be presentable while in the public eye, it will be necessary for all RSOs to maintain a decent appearance.
- In other words, you should wear sturdy footwear (no open toe shoes or sandals), wear appropriate clothing for the season, and be generally neat and clean in appearance.
- Hats will be provided, once they are available, it will be required that all RSOs wear them while the range is open to the public.
DEALING WITH THE PUBLIC
- It is important to remember that RSOs are the most visible official on the range, however we want the shooting public to feel welcome and want to return, hopefully bringing new shooters with them.
- This is not a ‘private’ range, nor is it ‘our’ range; it belongs to the public, courtesy of the DWR.
- We want to do everything possible to make people feel welcome, but at the same time we need to make sure range operations are conducted in a prescribed manner.
The best rule of thumb is to be polite but firm……there is no room for gray areas of interpretation when it comes to firearm safety.
UNSAFE ABUSIVE OR RULE BREAKING SHOOTERS
- The procedures for dealing with unsafe, abusive or any other serious rules infraction shooter are very simple. You will ask them to unload their firearms and leave the range. If they fail to do so, you will call an immediate cease fire (if applicable), make the line safe, and notify the WCSO immediately. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES is an RSO to verbally or physically engage such a shooter. The only exception to this rule is if you are a working LEO with the power to arrest, and then it is at your discretion.
- Once WCSO personnel arrive, the RSO will give a complete factual report of the events that transpired and as much identifying information about the shooter assuming they have left the facility.
EMERGENCY CONTACT PROCEEDURES
- In case of emergency, the RSO will immediately notify WCSO dispatch, and remain on scene until the appropriate emergency personnel arrive. It is recommended that all RSOs have WCSO dispatch programmed into their cell phones speed dial.
HOURS AND SCHEDULES
- All RSOs will sign up for shifts quarterly on the Google Calendar. If an RSO is unable to maintain the one, four-hour shift per month requirement, they will be placed on inactive status until they’re able to do so.
- It is recommended all RSOs become somewhat familiar with each other, and if the need to cover for, or ask someone to cover for you, the ability to do that among yourselves is strongly encouraged.
The shooting facility is undergoing many exciting changes; growing pains just like the rest of the Heber Valley. Thank you very much for being civic minded enough to volunteer your time and energy. We all feel we are on our way to having one of the nicer shooting facilities in the area, and in these times that is saying quite a lot.
You are to be commended for your dedication and initiative, and we hope you will find this an enjoyable experience. The DWR, WCSO, and the members of the various range committees are here to help, please do not hesitate to call on us at anytime for assistance.
John Fairchild (Division of Wildlife Resources)
Derek Moss (RSO Coordinator)
Mike Lehner (RSO Instructor)
Scott McGregor (RSO Instructor)
Mike Kohler (Wasatch County Councilman)
Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office
Jeff Lloyd (President, Heber Valley Trap and Skeet Club)
David Field (Vice-President, Heber Valley Trap and Skeet Club)