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Did Lax Safety Measures Lead to This Firefighter’s Injuries?

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Did negligence lead to this Nashville Fire recruit’s injuries?

Video of a training drill at Nashville’s new training tower shows recruit Jennifer Lockhart being slowly lowered on a rope when she suddenly drops to the ground, landing on her oxygen tank. She and others were practicing a Nance drill, in which firefighters lower themselves on ropes to rescue fallen comrades.

Lockhart remembers hitting the ground and losing all feeling from the waist down. She screamed, believing she was paralyzed, before falling unconscious.

Lockhart and another recruit told investigators that prior to the training exercise, she asked her District Chief for an extra rope for the safety line. Immediately prior to being lowered on the rope, Lockhart asked again. She claims the District Chief denied her both times. The District Chief says he does not recall her asking for an additional safety line. Lockhart believes she may have been discriminated against because she is female and also because she once worked on the ambulance shift. She blames malice and negligence for the accident.


Your first step upon being injured at work is to contact your supervisor immediately. Explain what happened, how it happened, who witnessed the accident and the severity of your injuries. If you are unable to contact your supervisor, a coworker or witness should do so for you.

Next, you should seek immediate medical attention, even if you do not believe you are seriously injured. Some injuries, like traumatic brain injury, may not manifest symptoms right away.

After you have been treated, discuss your case with a work injury attorney.