3. RSO Volunteers


RSO Volunteers

3. Benefits, Selection, Duties, Rights and Responsibilities of Range Safety Officers.

  • 3.1. Benefits. So long as a person is an active RSO on the approved list, the RSO has the benefit of using the range for himself and a reasonable number of guests and family, so long as the range is not then open for general public use or a special event. The RSO is not entitled to charge guests or family for the range use or to use the range for personal gain or as a business. The foregoing does not preclude scheduling the range for non-profit classes held by the RSO, approved by the Range Coordinator in advance, or charging small amounts to cover out of pocket costs for ammunition, targets, and the like. During public shooting hours, the RSO who is not then on duty is treated like any other member of the public and have no special rights or benefits.
  • 3.2. Selection and Qualifications. Persons wishing to become an RSO must apply using forms approved by the DWR, must pass all necessary DWR background checks and must receive training from the Range Coordinator or his designee. Until those steps are completed, the person does not have authority to oversee the range or to have access to a key.
    • 3.2.1. Background Checks. The background checks and application forms, along with the necessary policies, are specified by the DWR and no exceptions may be made. As part of that application process, the RSO must agree to not discriminate against any member of the public and must agree with the no-sexual harassment policy of the DWR.
    • 3.2.2. RSO Training Requirements and Reports.
      • 3.2.2.1. Orientation. After passing the background checks with the DWR, a mandatory 2-hour orientation is required for all new RSO's. This class is taught by a Big Hollow Range Trainer, and will be taught as needed.
      • 3.2.2.2. Mentorship. After a new RSO has completed the orientation, he/she will be paired with a Team Mentor to complete the training process. As soon as the RSO and Mentor both feel that the new RSO is ready to start taking shifts on their own they will be able to sign up for their own shifts.
      • 3.2.2.3. Continuing Education. Twice each year we will try to have events/training for all current RSO's. The purposes of these events are to fellowship with other RSO's as well as receive further training and an exchange of issues, problems and suggestions. There are also a few opportunities to earn certifications such as NRA RSO. These opportunities will be announced on this website as they become available. We encourage all RSO’s to become an NRA Certified RSO.
  • 3.3. General RSO Duties and Responsibilities. Each RSO is generally responsible for one 4 hour shift per month of 4 hours of volunteer service. While there may be some variation in the schedules and certain exceptions may be made for health, business and other schedule issues, those must be approved by the Range Coordinator.
  • 3.4. Authority. The RSO on duty for that shift is the officer in charge of the Range during that shift and has the right and authority to enforce the range rules, to make decisions on whether to allow the use of steel targets, automatic firing, and to allow admission and eject people from the range on good cause. Where there are two RSO’s, the first to arrive has overall responsibility, but each RSO may be assigned to be in charge of a different range (one for the pistol range, one for rifle range, etc.). Be polite but firm with public users. Many members of the public have not previously shot on a controlled range and do not appreciate the need to wear eye and ear protection, and to follow the range safety commands. However, in case of a difficult or aggressive user, call Dispatch and have a police officer sent to the Range. You are the designated DWR volunteer officer on the range and you should communicate with the police officer dispatched to resolve the issue. You have the right to eject people from the range for violation of the rules or safety violations or other behavior that causes problems on the range but you do not have the right to do so with physical force. DO NOT PHYSICALLY CONFRONT AN AGGRESSIVE OR DANGEROUS PERSON DIRECTLY – THAT IS THE JOB OF THE LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL. Although the RSO is acting as a volunteer for the DWR, the RSO does not have the authority of a law enforcement officer. That means you do not have authority from the DWR to carry a firearm in the performance of your duties and any use of a firearm in your capacity as a volunteer RSO will void any DWR liability insurance that may otherwise apply. Your primary defensive weapon is your common sense and your cell phone.
    • 3.4.1. At times of large range demand, it may be required to set a time limit on use by the individual participants. Do so politely but the critical need is that sharing and limiting time may be required during periods of heavy use to have fair and reasonable use by everyone.
  • 3.5. RSO Retention and Removal Policy.
    • 3.5.1. After the DWR has advised that the applicant has passed the necessary background checks and has received training, the newly trained RSO will be added to the list of authorized RSOs the month of completing their training (RSO class and monitoring visit). They will be given a user name to obtain a password to access the Range Calendar.
    • 3.5.2. It is expected that all new RSOs must complete four Range shifts in the six months period from the time they are first placed on the Access List.
    • 3.5.3. The normal expectation is that each RSO will handle one shift per month. New and existing RSO’s will be placed on “probationary status” if the four Range shifts are not completed every six months. The Range Coordinator can make exceptions to this policy for issues such as illness, being out of town, business, etc. RSOs that are placed on “Probationary Status” will have their name removed from the Access List. These RSOs will continue to have a user name and password for the Range Calendar. Probationary status will require the RSO to complete four Range shifts in the next six months before their name will be added back on the Access List. In order to staff a shift, an RSO that is on probation must sign up on the Range Calendar for shifts with a RSO who is not on probation and who will be responsible for opening the range.
    • 3.5.4. If the RSO completes the four shifts in the next six month period the “Probationary” RSO name will be added back to the Access List. If a “Probationary RSO” fails to complete the required four Range shifts in next six months they will be placed on the “Inactive RSO” list. Their Range Calendar access will be cancelled. Inactive RSOs can request to become RSOs again but they must again complete the RSO training by attending the formal RSO class and have a mentoring session.
    • 3.5.5. Removal. A RSO may be directly removed from the authorized Access List and Range Calendar access by the Range Coordinator without the person being placed on probationary status. Reasons for removal include:
      • 3.5.5.1. Failure to be reinstated during a probationary period as noted above.
      • 3.5.5.2. Violating the range rules including safety rules.
      • 3.5.5.3. Exhibiting conduct that is detrimental to the public or other RSO’s.
      • 3.5.5.4. Committing an action that would cause a background check to fail.
      • 3.5.5.5. Using the Big Hollow facility for personal gain or as a business.
      • 3.5.5.6. Other good reasons as determined by the Range Coordinator.
  • 3.6. RSO Oversight and Operating Procedures. During the public shooting hours, the RSO on duty should follow the following procedures:
    • 3.6.1. The RSO must sign up for the shift by accessing the Range Calendar web site and signing in. Range Calendar RSO Sign-up Procedures
      • 3.6.1.1. Open the “Bighollowheber.com” website.
      • 3.6.1.2. Use your user name and password to sign in to your account.
      • 3.6.1.3. Select the Range Calendar Tab.
      • 3.6.1.4. Double click on the shift you want to sign-up for.
      • 3.6.1.5. On the bottom of the screen is a box to select called “Sign up” -- you also can cancel your sign up on this page.
      • 3.6.1.6. All RSO’s who have signed up for the shift are listed on this page.
    • 3.6.2. Each RSO should have a (fully charged) cell phone on their person at all times during the shift.
    • 3.6.3. Each RSO on duty must sign the log book upon arrival.
    • 3.6.4. While on duty, an RSO may shoot during any shift when there is no member of the public present that desires to use the range. When a member of the public desires to shoot the RSO must then stop shooting and control the range.
    • 3.6.5. All RSO’s must abide by the procedures and range safety rules at all times including during any non-public time that the RSO is privately using the facility.
    • 3.6.6. The scheduled public time is not available for use by private shooting by RSOs, law enforcement, or private groups, except as designated by the Range Coordinator such as for hunter education. This includes situations when no RSO’s have signed up for a shift. The RSO who is not on duty may shoot just as any other member of the public, so long as there is a RSO in charge of the range who is on duty.
    • 3.6.7. At least 20 minutes prior to the first shift, the first RSO to sign up as shown by the range calendar will open the range.
    • 3.6.8. For the first shift of the day, unlock and open the main gate, the range gate and CONEX prior to the scheduled opening time. The key to the shed is in the lock box next to the First Aid kit in the CONEX. Your team leader will advise the combination for the key.
    • 3.6.9. Retrieve the flag from the Shed and raise the flag.
    • 3.6.10. Conduct a range inspection using checklist (Appendix D).
    • 3.6.11. From the shed, retrieve and prepare sign-in sheets for the shift (Appendix E) and the other equipment (ear protection, eye protection, check staple guns, targets). From the CONEX, retrieve target stands, rugs for the benches and replace any unusable cardboard and target stand supports. Place rugs on firing point benches, sweep the range to minimize any slip and fall injuries, etc.)
    • 3.6.12. When you have verified the Range is ready: Check in all shooters and equipment, ensuring they understand the operating rules (what is a Hot Range and what is a Cold Range and the fundamentals of keeping muzzles pointed up or down range). Conduct range safety briefing with all new shooters. (Appendix C). No firearms handling when the range is cold.
    • 3.6.13. During public times, ensure that there is an RSO on duty for each range being used. If only one RSO is on duty, all persons must shoot at the same range, usually Rifle Range (with the exception of the public use of the one shotgun range), which may be used at the discretion of the RSO and only after a safety briefing for the Shotgun range (Appendix H).
    • 3.6.14. ONLY the RSO on duty at the range may call the Range HOT or COLD. The shooters do NOT have the authority to call HOT or COLD. This is solely the responsibility of the RSO.
    • 3.6.15. While the Range is in use, carefully watch all shooters and supervise the range and users for safety or irresponsible use and to avoid accidents, to the extent possible. Note: YOUR PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY IS FOR THE SAFETY OF THE RANGE USERS AND SPECTATORS. YOUR DUTY DOES NOT INCLUDE PROVIDING INSTRUCTION IN FIREARM USE OR GUNSMITHING ACTIVITIES FOR MECHANICAL PROBLEMS. HOWEVER, IF YOU HAVE THE SKILL AND ABILITY, AND IF THE RANGE IS BEING PROPERLY SUPERVISED BY ANOTHER RANGE OFFICER, YOU CAN RENDER ASSISTANCE FOR FIREARMS HANDLING SKILLS OR MECHANICAL PROBLEMS, BUT ONLY IF YOU ARE NOT DETRACTED FROM YOUR PRIMARY DUTY. Your rendering mechanical assistance is at your own risk. Generally, the best approach is to assist the person in making the firearm safe, and having that person transport it to a qualified gunsmith.
    • 3.6.16. Ensure all Targets being use are of an approved type, and no closer than 5 yards from the firing line. (Pistols can be 3 yards).
    • 3.6.17. Make certain all shooters and all spectators are wearing Eye and Ear protection.
    • 3.6.18. Watch for unauthorized ammunition (tracer, HE, incendiary, metal piercing). Insure that the proper caliber ammunition is used, 9mm ammo will fit and feed into 40 caliber guns (this has been demonstrated on our range in the past).
    • 3.6.19. Make certain all shooters are firing from the same firing line (no one forward of the shooting benches on the rifle range.)
    • 3.6.20. Watch for inoperable or unsafe firearms.
    • 3.6.21. Allow only activities that the RSO is comfortable with. Tactical moves and positions should be evaluated by the RSO to determine if he is comfortable with the ability of the individual and their skills to safely execute the exercise.
    • 3.6.22. Make certain all persons under the age of 16 are accompanied and supervised by an adult.
    • 3.6.23.Prior to declaring the range COLD the RSO should give the command to “CEASEFIRE and make the RANGE SAFE”. At that point all shooters should stop firing, open the action and insure no bullets are in the chamber and remove the magazines (from ALL firearms) and insure that all guns are grounded and pointing down range. Once all guns are safe everyone must step behind the yellow line. At that point the RSO will walk-the-line inspecting all firearms to insure they are safe (actions open, empty chambers, magazines removed). Once that is completed the RSO will announce “the Range is SAFE, the range is COLD, cleared to proceed down range (from the sides behind the yellow line and return the same way)”, after which it is prohibited to handle firearms or go forward of the yellow line on the concrete for any reason while people are down range. Magazines may be recharged while behind the yellow line (shooters may not go forward of the yellow line to retrieve ammunition or magazines once the range has been declared COLD). Be very vigilant when people return to the shooting area after being down range, as there is a tendency for them to try to handle their firearms.
    • 3.6.24. Make sure all people are safely behind the firing line and have the necessary eye and ear protection on before calling the line HOT.
    • 3.6.25. Give all range commands in a firm loud voice.
    • 3.6.26. Wear a safety vest, hat, eye and ear protection.
    • 3.6.27. Ending the Shift: When the last shift has ended, the last RSO should do the following:
      • 3.6.27.1. Walk thru the range, do a final sweep of any debris and spent casings on the range, police up any trash, empty the trash bags into the dumpster, put away targets and equipment, properly store items in the CONEX and shed, lower the flag, lock the shed and the CONEX.
      • 3.6.27.2. Lock the gate.
  • 3.7. Winter Operations. Winter operations pose additional challenges from snow/ice/mud issues as well as the cold itself. The RSO should take extra precautions during these times. On the occasional ice event, it may be necessary to close the ranges for the safety of the public and of the RSO. In addition to the regular duties, the RSO should watch any overhanging snow and ice from the roof, and direct the public to enter and exit the ranges from the sides, rather than front or back. Periodically it may be necessary to call a CEASEFIRE while snow/ice is removed from the overhang or from the range floor itself. A wood-fired heater is available for RSO use – but it can get extremely hot. Watch members of the public to avoid contact with the heater, and ensure that no ammunition or firearms are placed on top of the heater when it is in operation. Only paper and wood are permitted to be used in the heater. Some RSO’s find that parking their vehicle immediately adjacent to the right side of the rifle range affords some weather protection and warmth when no one is using the range. Mud from persons entering and exiting the range may build up and the RSO must use extra diligence to keep the range clean.
  • 3.8. Dedicated Hunter Program. Volunteer hours can be used for the Dedicated Hunter requirement. Use forms Appendix F.