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      Police, firefighters & paramedics learn basic sign language

      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.

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