MTSU alumna is first female graduate of state’s hi...

MTSU alumna is first female graduate of state’s highest-level fire officer training

MTSU alumna Kaye Jernigan made history during National Women’s History Month by becoming the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy‘s first female graduate of its highest-level training.

Jernigan, assistant chief for the Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department, and other trainees graduated from the class March 2 with the Fire Officer IV certification, meaning graduates met required training, education and skills proficiency surrounding National Fire Protection Association objectives, according to a news release from the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

This is the state’s inaugural Fire Officer IV, or FOIV, certification class. Students who earn the certification have the necessary requirements needed to serve in a fire department’s senior level positions such as a supervisor or a chief.

Kaye Jernigan, assistant chief for Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department

Kaye Jernigan

“It is very humbling to be the first female in the state to have obtained FOIV certification,” said Jernigan, who graduated from MTSU in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and a minor in public administration.

The 52-year-old Murfreesboro native has served with Murfreesboro Fire Rescue since 1988, becoming the first female captain at the department in 1996 and first female assistant chief in 2011.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office estimates there are currently about 800 female firefighters out of over 22,400 firefighters serving in Tennessee.

“The course, while challenging, was definitely a great learning experience, and I am thankful to have been a part of the pilot class in Tennessee,” Jernigan said.

The FOIV tests are certified by the Tennessee Firefighting Personnel Standards & Education Commission, which is accredited by both the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress and the Pro Board Fire Service Professional Qualifications System, the release states.

For firefighters interested in learning more about future FOIV classes, contact the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy in Bell Buckle at 931-294-4111 or by email at

— Jayla Jackson (