What is the lost art of the fire service?
Is it a specific technique? A size up routine? A way to use certain tools? Or is it something much more basic than this?
In my opinion, the lost art of the fire service is a question. It is a way of understanding the job that we do.
Now, I only have 11 humble years under my belt, but I have been involved with enough rookie training in my neck of the woods to understand that not enough new firefighters are asking, in my opinion, THE most important question there is to ask.
Too much time is spent on the "how" or the "what" or the "when" and not on understanding "why".
Don't get me wrong, these other questions are important to understanding a specific technique or way of doing something. But when that specific technique doesn't work, it is the "why" that will allow you to problem solve.
For example, if you know "how" to use an iron set to force a door, you may be successful in that task most of the time. But, if you don't understand "why" it is important to get the crotch of the forks even with the stop, or "why" it is key to get the adze hooked onto the other side of the jamb, you are just going through the motions. The "why" allows you to fully understand the task at hand so you can do it properly and efficiently.
But more importantly, the "why" allows you to problem solve. If the "how" or the "what" fail you, the only thing you are left with is a guessing game.
The "why" allows you to think on your feet. It allows you to find a secondary egress when the stairs fail. It allows you to extricate your victim when you are struggling to drag them. It allows you to rescue a fallen brother when they go down.
The lost art of the fire service isn't a technique. It isn't a trendy name or new acronym. The lost art of the fire service is the ability to understand "why" we do what we do.
Don't forget this question when training or teaching. It is the most important concept to learn because the "why" will save your life someday.