CHICAGO (CBS) —  Protecting first responders has never been more important.

Now a local business has developed a simple safety solution.

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CBS 2’s Steven Graves takes a look at how it works.

Like most operations around the country, the one at Crown Point, Indiana Fire and Rescue has shifted.

“Our thought process is that everybody is a potential patient with COVID-19. That’s just how we have to treat it right now,” said assistant fire chief Mark Baumgardner. “Even though we have the proper PPE on, it still puts us at a much higher risk to get contaminated.”

This week, they started using this isolation box, similar to ones used in emergency rooms, but strapped to a stretcher.

“We can not only protect our people, but still provide the advance care we need to give to our patients,” Baumgardner said.

It’s made out of a thin layer of plastic that can be easily sterilized. It goes over the patient’s head, can be taken on and off and moves with the stretcher.

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That feature is so important because paramedics move fast. The isolation box can stay on the stretcher as they load it into the back of the ambulance.

The need for this increases as more calls come in during the coronavirus pandemic. It was made possible after assistant fire chief Baumgardner knocked on the door of a local business.

The company usually manufactures sign frames and poster holders. But now, Crown Point’s VKF Renzel USA Corporation specializes in making the protective boxes.

The concept started out as cardboard, and after some innovation and only hours of work, became an added protection for first responders free of charge.

“I feel a little bit like it’s a war effort. Because this is a war against the virus,” said Mark Tacke of VKF Renzel. “It’s the thing that we need right now. Sticking together and not making profit out of it.”

A generous gift with the payoff of potentially saving lives.

Crown Point EMS used the box just hours into getting it. Since Monday, the company has made about 20 more boxes.

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The company is running out of material, but have distributed to at least five other cities.