"The Prince William County (Virginia) Department of Fire and Rescue (Fire Department) is located in a rapidly growing region. The growth had caused an increased demand for service. The amount of resources needed for more service delivery had lagged behind that increased demand. The problem the Fire Department had was that a trend had emerged for an increasing demand for service that had not included a corresponding increase in resources to meet those demands, causing a strain on its members that could not be sustained if the trend continued. The Fire Department provided high quality service that resulted in among the highest citizen satisfaction rates for Prince William County Government services. Fire Department members had demonstrated commitment to meeting and exceeding customer expectations. The Fire Department, therefore, had the capacity to achieve excellence. The purpose of this research project was to identify ways in which the Fire Department could build upon the best of what it currently had been doing to thrive in conditions where productivity must increase and where the overall experience levels of its members have decreased. An appreciative inquiry action research methodology was used to conduct the study. Two questionnaires were used to perform two facilitated interview processes of a sample of Fire Department members to identify the organizational core values and identify 'the best of what is' within the Fire Department. A focus group consisting of Fire Department members was used to identify possibilities for improving on the best of what is currently occurring in the Fire Department."
United States. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Learning Resource Center: http://www.lrc.fema.gov/