Echo team training together.

The ECHO Team was created in 2014 in response to the Ebola outbreak that threatened the United States and originally was comprised of 12 Paramedics that received advanced training in the use of Personal Protective Equipment specialized for use during the care of a person with a suspected highly infectious disease (HID.) Pittsburgh EMS became one of less than 10 agencies in the state that was prepared to handle a patient with a confirmed HID diagnosis or had been designated as a person under investigation of having such an infection. Over the years, the team participated in numerous exercises and training events and sent a portion of the team to the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama to complete their HID training program. The ECHO Team has more recently been utilized for the COVID-19 pandemic providing expertise in PPE donning and doffing as well as post-care decontamination of units. It is widely accepted that the effort of the ECHO Team during the COVID-19 pandemic was the key component in mitigating the rapid spread of the illness throughout the Bureau of EMS. The current deployment model of the ECHO team has it prepared to respond to any HID event. Worldwide models are monitored for possible outbreaks and quarterly training keeps the team apprised of any potential domestic impacts of regional outbreaks. The ECHO Team has also been tasked with providing supplementary medical support to HazMat Team operations.