A six-week course to teach basic sign language to police, firefighters and paramedics kicked off in Brownsville on Tuesday.
The hour-long classes are organized by the McAllen-based Valley Association For Independent Living.
The goal is to teach emergency first-responders basic sign language to communicate with the hearing-impaired in the event of an emergency.
Nearly a dozen agencies from Cameron County are currently enrolled in the class.
Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos said the deaf community has historically been underserved but that is now changing.
A separate six-week course will also be conducted for emergency first responders in Hidalgo County.
Their American Sign Language course begins Wednesday morning.