Jefferson County Health Dept. to start collecting handmade face masks

Are homemade masks safe?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Hospitals everywhere are quickly running out of supplies, and many companies are coming to the rescue.

Red Land Cotton specializes in making bedsheets, but for the last few days, they’ve been manufacturing masks for UAB. For the time being, they’re only accepting masks commercially made—but that might change down the road.

Anna Brakefield is the founder of Red Land Cotton based in Moulton, and what started out as making masks for the community soon grew.

“We started having a conversation with UAB and hopefully we’re going to be able to at least provide them with a few hundred masks tomorrow," says Brakefield.

The goal is eventually 1,000 masks. Over the past few weeks, UAB has said they will only take masks that are commercially manufactured. That’s because they must reach certain standards.

“What we’re doing is trying to create something that is reusable, that has at least three ply, that is covering the whole face, has straps so it’s tight on the face and has a pocket for a filter that they can reuse.”

But now, the Jefferson County Department of Public Health announced they will be collecting handmade masks.

“Hospitals are not currently using them because they still have a supply of the regular commercially made gowns and masks. We just want to be prepared in case they do ever run out," says Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson.

But he wants to be clear, each one will be inspected before using.

“We want to see what people have, what they bring in, look at the quality, what it is and sort it accordingly and make sure it’s a quality that can be used by another person.”

They hope to also distribute masks to first responders, jail workers and homeless shelters. You can drop off those handmade masks at Christian Service Mission at 3600 Third Avenue South.

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