This southern division award states “In recognition of superior technical ability, sound leadership and endless drive”, and this is exactly who Mary Eriksen-Rattan was and what the award stands for in her name. For more than 20 years, Mrs. Eriksen-Rattan operated Eriksen-Rattan Associates in La Mesa, providing fire code expertise, with emphasis on hazardous materials, for a nationwide range of corporations and regulatory agencies. Before opening Eriksen-Rattan Associates, Mary was one of the first female fire marshals in the country. She worked for the El Segundo Fire Department and quickly gained respect. She taught fire science at El Camino College in Torrance and taught courses on building construction for hazardous materials at the University of California Irvine, San Diego State University and Oklahoma State.
Mrs. Eriksen-Rattan was known as a perfectionist who permitted herself long-distance vacations only if she could work 16-hour days before she left and after she returned to maintain the momentum of her business. She wrote extensively on fire code development, including co-authoring “A Users Guide to Article 80,” which addressed hazardous materials issues, for the Western Fire Chiefs Association.
In December 2005, the California Fire Chiefs Association, Southern Division, decided to name an annual fire prevention service award in honor of Mary Eriksen-Rattan. Mary passed away in March 2006 but will forever be remembered by the fire prevention community as a tenacious leader in code development and the industry itself.