Systems Testing

Latest News

  • April 2022 - Compliance Engine Updates. New Fire Alarm Acceptance Test Form (required prior to final inspection starting April 2022) and small updates to annual forms for Fire Alarm, BDA/DAS and Sprinkler. See Fire Marshal's letter and Acceptance Test FAQ.
  • New Timeline for PSERN DAS Transition:  October 2022. All public safety BDA/DAS systems will need to be retuned and some may need replacement. Please see our PSERN BDA/DAS information sheet for building owners and vendors.
  • Alternative Extinguishing Systems Certification Card Holders are required by state law to also hold NAFED certification since July 2021. Technicians with E-1, E-2, E-3 and E-4 certifications will need to present the appropriate NAFED/ICC certification at the time of SFD testing or renewal. Learn more here.

Fire and life safety systems, such as fire alarms and sprinklers, are among the most important components in any building type for preserving lives, protecting property and providing safety to first responders.

Inspections, Testing, Maintenance and Reporting

Building owners are required to have the systems inspected, tested and maintained in good working condition. Generally, systems require an annual test that must be reported to the fire department using our third-party vendor www.thecomplianceengine.com

There are also secondary tests and certain maintenance processes that must be performed periodically even though you do not need to submit reports. The testing company you hire should be able to provide more information about the test and maintenance requirements.

Here is a list of contractors that employ Seattle Fire Department (SFD) certified technicians:

Impairments - Systems Not Working

You and your contractor must follow additional reporting requirements when testing reveals a system is impaired.

System test reports for many systems are mandatory and must be submitted electronically to the Seattle Fire Department via our online vendor at www.thecomplianceengine.com.

There is a $30 filing fee for submitting a report. One fee is charged per system type, per year, except for hood systems which are per every six-month service. Repair reports must also be submitted to document completion of any required work. Your contractor (the company you hire to do the testing and maintenance on your building's fire protection systems) is responsible for collecting these fees from their clients and submitting payments along with test reports. 

Reports must be submitted within seven calendar days of the inspection or maintenance completion. Systems with impairments or red-tagged systems must also be reported immediately using the current mandatory impaired systems reporting process. Since January 2019, there has been a late fee of $10 per report. Due to the continued high number of late report submittals, the City has now introduced a citation for reports that are submitted outside of allowed timelines.

If you need a contractor/service provider: 

Required Systems Test Reports and Submittal Frequency

Fire Protection System Type Code/Standard Frequency
Extinguishing Systems other than Sprinkler Systems - Gaseous, CO2, Aerosol, Clean Agent Seattle Fire Code 904.8 & 904.10 Annual
Extinguishing Systems other than Sprinkler Systems - (Dry Chemical) Seattle Fire Code 904.6.1 Every six months
Automatic Sprinkler Systems – Dry or Wet Seattle Fire Code 901.6 Annual
Automatic Water Mist Systems (HazMat) Seattle Fire Code 904.11 Annual
Emergency Alarm Systems (HazMat) Seattle Fire Code 5003.2.9 Annual
Emergency Generators Seattle Fire Code 1203.4 Annual
Emergency Responder Comms Systems (BDA/DAS) Seattle Fire Code 510 At time of commissioning/acceptance and Annual thereafter
Fire Alarm Systems Seattle Fire Code 901.6 At time of commissioning/acceptance and Annual thereafter
Fire Escapes Seattle Fire Code 1104.16.5.1  
SFD Administrative Rule 11.01
Every five years
Fire Pumps Seattle Fire Code 913.5 
NFPA 25 Chapter 8
Annual

Range Hood Seattle Fire Code 904.12.5 Every six months
Smoke Control Systems Seattle Fire Code 901.6 Annual
Standpipe Systems Seattle Fire Code 901.6 Every five years
Standpipe Systems - Marinas Seattle Fire Code 901.6 Annual

High - Rise Buildings 

  • Fire alarm systems in high-rise buildings may have a quarter of the entire system tested quarterly so the entire system is tested annually.

Portable Fire Extinguishers

Testing reports are not required for portable fire extinguishers

  • Inspected and tested annually. 
  • Tag must be attached with the date and signature of certified technician.

Secondary tests and certain maintenance processes must be performed periodically. The intervals for secondary procedures are 1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 20 and 50 years depending on the type of system or component and are defined in national standards, including NFPA 25 and NFPA 72.

For your information, the following forms show the set of information for each system type that certified technicians are required to submit electronically to SFD using The Compliance Engine

Fire Alarm Acceptance Test | Fire Alarm Annual Test

Automatic Sprinklers - Wet or Dry

Standpipe

Rangehood - Hood Suppression

Fire Pump

Smoke Control

Fire Escape

Emergency Generator

Dry Chemical/Spray Booth

Clean Agent or CO2

BDA/DAS (Emergency Radio Comms) Acceptance Test | BDA/DAS Annual Test

  • For BDA: Please call Seattle Radio Shop about one week prior to testing at (206) 386-1213 to arrange to borrow portable public safety radios and to schedule a time to measure signal level received as part of testing.

You must notify the Seattle Fire Department of planned or emergency impairments that are anticipated to take a fire safety system out of service for more than eight hours. This notification of impairments lasting more than eight hours allows us to assess the risks and make any operational decisions necessary to ensure the safety of building occupants and firefighters.

Notification and Mitigation

When to provide notification:

  • Emergency impairments: Immediately
  • Planned impairments: Minimum of five (5) business days in advance. We recommend you notify us immediately upon beginning to plan for the impairment.

Notification Process: 

You are required to follow the two-step mandatory notification process:

Note: You should notify your insurance carrier, alarm company, building owner/manager and any supervisors or tenants in the affected areas. Tell them what the impairment is and provide an estimate of how long the system(s) might be out of service.

Mitigating Measures:  

When a fire protection system is out of order, it may be necessary for you to take mitigation measures. An approved fire-watch or other approved mitigation is required for impairments lasting more than eight hours. For additional information, see our Client Assistance #5991 Fire Watch as well as possible exceptions for Kitchen Hoods and BDA/DAS (Section 3) and for types of occupancies (Section 7) of Administrative Rule 09.04.

System Restoration

What to do when the system is restored to service:  

When an impaired system is restored to normal working order you need to notify: 

The certified technician who restored the system to service should remove all red tags placed on the system while it was impaired and replace with a white tag. The certified technician must email a copy of the white/normal system test result to us at sfd_impairments@seattle.gov. In addition, a report of the repair should be provided by the certified technician performing the maintenance to the Seattle Fire Department via the department's third party vendor's website, www.thecomplianceengine.com.

Monitoring Services

What to do when monitoring services are interrupted 

You do not need to report an impairment. Interruption of monitoring should not prevent a fire protection system from functioning.

  • The alarm monitoring company must notify you of service interruptions. 
  • You must correct any system deficiency in a reasonable time. 

What to do when monitoring services are terminated

You do not need to report an impairment. Termination of monitoring should not prevent a fire protection system from functioning. Termination of monitoring service occurs when monitoring contracts expire or are cancelled.

The monitoring service provider must notify us whenever alarm monitoring services are terminated for fire alarm systems required to be monitored by the Seattle Fire Code. To notify us:

Information regarding testing and maintenance for BDA/DAS to meet fire code requirements

  • Reports of required testing and maintenance must be submitted to the Seattle Fire Department via The Compliance Engine
  • SFD is now using the standard regional forms for commissioning and annual testing that are in use by many jurisdictions in King County. PDF versions of the testing forms are available on our Systems Testing Forms page. Please be aware that completed reports are submitted in the web interface for The Compliance Engine.
  • Please call Seattle Radio Shop about one week prior to testing at (206) 386-1213 to arrange to borrow portable public safety radios and to schedule a time to measure signal level received as part of testing.

PSERN Transition - Plan Now for BDA/DAS Transition (Previously Scheduled for May 2022, Now Estimated in October 2022)

In 2022, a voter-approved levy is replacing the aging public safety radio system in King County with a new digital system called the Puget Sound Emergency Responder Network (PSERN). The levy did not provide funds to replace privately owned Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) that are required by the fire code in some buildings to amplify the signal and improve in-building coverage for first responders. Building owners will be required to re-tune or recommission their DAS equipment. King County is responsible for managing the PSERN Project. SFD has prepared a PSERN Transition Information Sheet to aid Seattle property owners in planning.

Further Resources