MEDFORD, Ore. -- Ella Lane Boutique in Medford sells reusable smoke masks for fire season. They're called Vogmasks and the store's owner said they're so popular the store is almost sold out.
Ella Lane started to carry Vogmasks last summer. Ashley Lacer, the owner of the boutique, wanted to find a way to help the community during fire season by making safety seem more fun.
Vogmasks do protect you from smoke. They come in plain black and gray colors. The masks also come in more fun colors, such as paisley.
The masks are made in a variety of sizes, so kids and adults can wear them. They can fit children as young as about two years old. But the best thing part about Vogmasks is that they last, according to Lacer.
"Let's say that you need it for a few weeks and then fire season is over, hopefully," Lacer said. "And then next year comes and then you need to use it for next year, too. You can. The value you get from the masks, I think, is definitely worth it. We're still using ours from last year."
Right now, the store only has a few Vogmasks in stock and there are about 20 to 30 people on a waiting list. Ella Lane is expecting another shipment of masks within the next two days. They'll cost you $33.
The Milepost 97 Fire is increasing demand for smoke masks at other local stores, too.
Grange Co-op has six stores across Southern Oregon, including one in Medford and the Grants Pass area, where the air has been pretty smoky. The store currently has 1,800 smoke masks at all of their locations. They've ordered an additional 1,300 masks to make sure they will have enough masks for anyone who needs one.
Grange Co-op carries different types of N95 masks, including the normal, rounded ones. They also carry an N95 mask that folds down flat so you can fit it into a pocket. The Co-op said they want to look out for the community during fire season.
"Some people just think that we're a farm and ranch store, but because we're a co-op we're concerned about supporting our community," said Hailey Joling, Grange Co-op digital marketing specialist. "And right now, supporting the community means providing these masks."
You'll be able to find N95 masks at any one of the Grange Co-op stores in Southern Oregon. They'll be in the safety section and at the front of the store near the register, so you can grab one on your way out.
Local doctors said that wearing a mask, whether it is reusable or disposable, is just one way to protect yourself from smoke. Staying indoors is the best way to stay safe from smoke. When you are indoors, remember to set your air condition on recirculate and try not to light candles or cook on a wood grill. Doctors said that could decrease the air quality inside your home.
Smoke can especially affect certain groups of people, said Medical Director Tajinder Heer, from Rogue Community Health in Medford. Those groups include young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with lung conditions, such as asthma or COPD.
"We've had an influx of quite a few patients who've had a worsening of their chronic conditions," Heer said. "So, coming in with coughing, wheezing and irritated sinuses. Those are some common symptoms that we see."
Heer emphasized that normal, paper masks at the hardware store will not protect you from smoke. You'll have to grab an N95 mask if you want to stay safe.
For more information about Vogmasks head here: https://www.vogmask.com/
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