Tennessee’s first female Fire Officer IV dis...

Tennessee’s first female Fire Officer IV discusses firefighting on ‘MTSU On the Record’

An MTSU alumna who’s made Tennessee history for her lifesaving career choices was the guest on a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Kay Jernigan, assistant chief for Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department

Kay Jernigan

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Kaye Jernigan, assistant chief of the Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department, first aired March 20 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and online at You can listen to their conversation above.

Jernigan became the first woman in Tennessee history to receive the Fire Officer IV certification March 2 at the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy in Bell Buckle.

WMOT Roots Radio-new logo-2017 web Her accomplishment came in 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.

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

Jernigan said her MTSU education gave her a boost in her preparation to rise through the ranks.

“My writing skills are not the greatest, and MTSU helped with that, just knowing how to study, getting your work done on time and being prepared,” Jernigan said.

The Murfreesboro native became the city’s first female fire captain in 1996 and its first female assistant fire chief in 2011. She holds an associate’s degree in fire science from Volunteer State Community College and a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from MTSU with a minor in public administration.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.