HIALEAH, FLA. (WSVN) - First responders in Hialeah are now able to gear up to help patients with COVID-19 thanks to a local plastic company.

As coronavirus cases continue to increase across South Florida, the demand for medical supplies has made them nearly impossible to find, and that makes it hard for first responders to do their job.

“It’s been very difficult. We’re all on the same boat here,” said Hialeah Fire Rescue District Chief David Rodriguez.

That’s where Faulkner Plastics in Hialeah comes in. They’ve never made medical equipment before, but the novel coronavirus pandemic has changed all of that.

7News cameras captured employees hard at work making the protective gear at the company’s factory in Hialeah, Thursday.

“We’re operating 24 hours a day now to make these face masks,” said Joseph McCabe, the company’s vice president.

Since they have the right certifications and materials, they’re making the very first supplies first responders desperately need.

On Thursday, police officers and firefighters started to pick up their orders.

“This is something additional that we’re going to be using to help us keep the community safe,” said Hialeah Police Sgt. Ibel Perez.

It’s not just first responders who are placing orders.

“We’ve never specialized in personal protection equipment,” said Lawrence Franchetti, CEO of One Beat Medical in Miramar.

Franchetti’s business distributes medical supplies. After learning about the new equipment Faulkner Plastics is creating, he quickly reached out to the company to help get the equipment in the right hands.

“We are able to work with them to protect our first responders out there,” said Franchetti.

Because Faulkner Plastics has been successful in making these face masks during this difficult time, they’re currently looking at different organizations across South Florida to determine who they can help during this pandemic.

Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.

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