From the frigid waters of Alaska to Colorado’s arid desert, Cody Jensen has devoted his young life to saving lives. The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) intern, and trained rescuer, is teaching project employees a vital lesson in vigilance and safety.
Jensen interns in the Emergency Preparedness department with systems contractor, the Bechtel Pueblo Team. He creates drills, leads training sessions and writes policies.
“The idea of saving as many people as I can with policy or procedure changes is a big driving point for me,” he said. However, his journey before PCAPP began serendipitously, unlike the frigid waters he used to dive into.
“I joined the military [Coast Guard] in 2006 when I was 19 and was stationed in Kodiak, Alaska. I went down many different paths because I didn’t know what I wanted to do yet,” said Jensen. He began his Coast Guard career as a mechanical technician working on boats before becoming a rescue swimmer.
During this time, Jensen says he saved countless lives, while having a handful of near-death experiences of his own, one of which he said he recalls vividly.
“It was 2 a.m. in the dead of night. I was thrown off a boat into freezing water, with 70 pounds of gear dragging me down, and all-black clothing on. I barely managed to ditch my gear and get back to the surface.”
It wasn’t until Jensen moved to Boston two years later that his passion for learning began. Jensen earned his master’s degree while actively working with an anti-terrorism group. With a focus on emergency management and anti-terrorism, his career and education seamlessly aligned.
“Everything I did in school was immediately applicable to the field. I researched chemical attacks, terrorism response and preparation, and how to mitigate threats. If you look at history, a lot of events that happened tend to repeat themselves. The only difference now is that we can examine those events to see what could have been done differently, and stop those things from happening again.”
Those analytical skills are highlighted through one of his current projects at PCAPP: active shooter training. Jensen instructs a 40-minute course on active shooter preparedness and prevention.
“The goal is to teach every single person at PCAPP awareness, signs to look for, and how to mitigate problems,” Jensen explains. Every Tuesday night, Jensen also assists with Emergency Response Team (ERT) training. However, he said his favorite training to teach is an intensive two-day long, hands-on ERT course that employees must take to receive their ERT certification.
Jensen holds a master’s degree in health care and emergency management. He said his goal is become an officer in the military and obtain a Ph.D.
“I want to learn something new every day, and I believe I can achieve that by doing things for other people and not for myself.”