Online Course - Basic Sign Language for First Responders and the Public in Health Emergencies and Disasters

(Last Updated on 27 May 2021)

Registration for the new cohort opens until 30 September 2022. Upon registration, students are allowed to study the course until 31 October 2022 at their own pace. 

Course Overview

This course will provide participants with an overview of communication issues that have crucial effects on a deaf person’s access to health and emergency services. Participants will acquire knowledge, strategies and a basic set of sign language to achieve effectiveness in communicating with deaf people in selected contexts requiring emergency services. Furthermore, the course leads participants to carefully consider deaf people’s needs in disaster settings and possible actions to take to reduce the risks they face.

This is the first local-based online sign language course in Hong Kong focusing on disaster risk reduction through improving the communication between first responders, the public and persons with hearing disabilities in health emergencies and disasters. All signs in the course are demonstrated by the deaf. Serving health professionals and paramedics are invited as the actors to ensure proper skill demonstration. Due to its innovativeness, the course was invited by United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) to be presented in the Ignite Stage section in Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction 2019 in Geneva.

Course Features

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

Target Audience

The target audience for the course is individuals studying and working in health, public sectors, non-governmental organizations, policy, education and humanitarian sectors. Students may be healthcare personnel, frontline disaster responders (police, fire, ambulance officer), volunteers who participate in disaster settings, humanitarian workers, and undergraduate or postgraduate students of closely related disciplines in Hong Kong. The general public who are interested in knowing more about the deaf community and sign language may also enrol in this course.


As part of CCOUC’s knowledge transfer endeavour, this course is offered free of charge. There is limited quota for enrolment on a first-come-first-served basis.

Course Structure and Delivery Format

The course involves a total of 6 lessons and 6 short quizzes. Each lesson requires about 1.5 to 2 hours of study. All assessments are in the form of multiple-choice questions to be completed online with unlimited attempts. To progress through the course, students must obtain 80% or above in each short quiz. Students enrolled in the course may access all learning materials and go through all learning activities online within a maximum period of 18 months. Topics covered in the course are as follows:

Course Completion and Certification

Students who obtain 80% or above in the last quiz will be issued a printable certificate in recognition of completing the course.


To start studying the course now, please visit the course website at

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