Lycoming County's emergency responders take a back seat to no one.
Over the years, they've distinguished themselves with herculean work during some devastating floods and a few other notable disasters.
And they could be that much better with some uniformity.
So it was significant that Lycoming County's emergency responders met last week to discuss a fire/police task force.
The goal of the group would be to get all fire and police departments working in coordination in emergency and non-emergency situations.
When the flood of last September hit, with a task force one tone would have gone off on all members' pagers, for instance, had there been such a task force.
We suspect such a task force would lead to uniform training in traffic direction, fire and crime scene control and other specific emergency functions.
With personnel numbers a problem with many volunteer fire departments today, such a task force could be helpful in setting up backup responses in certain situations and in the training of police officers responding to crime scenes and to also provide traffic control and other fire/police duties.
Such a task force also could result in a more accurate detailing of each department's resources and needs.
In our dream world, such a task force would push each of Lycoming County's fire and police departments into more knowledge of the size and limits of each organization in the county.
Maybe then, when there is talk of proposed mergers and consolidation of services, people in a decision-making role would be more comfortable embracing such future necessities.
The task force can do nothing but bring the fire and police departments of Lycoming County closer together. The saying that familiarity breeds contempt does not apply in this case.
In this case, familiarity would bring understanding. And understanding would create a common empathy about the problems the departments face.
And out of that can emerge a better vision of the best possible future for each of the fire and police forces in Lycoming County.
We hope the fire/police task force develops beyond the idea phase into something that becomes a facilitator of change and improvement in public safety in Lycoming County.