Systems Testing

Latest News for 2021

  • Alternative Extinguishing Systems Certification Card Holders - starting July 2021 you will be required by state law to also hold NAFED certification. 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 testing or renewal beginning in June. Learn more here.
  • New Regional Confidence Testing Forms for Fire Alarm, Sprinkler and Range Hood Systems - as of January 2021, Seattle along with roughly 10 other jurisdictions in King County are using shared, standard forms. Please see the letter from the Fire Marshal.
  • HB 2701 Smoke Control Systems and Dampers - there are several issues that pose barriers to implementation and enforcement. SFD will continue to enforce Chapter 9 and other provisions on qualifications, testing and maintenance. The Washington State Association of Fire Marshals (WSAFM) is working with the State Building Code Council and stakeholders from private industry and building managers/owners to provide updated language that can be implemented. To join the working group, please contact Jon Napier at jon.napier@pugetsoundfire.org.

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.

Testing

You are required to maintain these systems in good working condition and have them tested, usually on an annual basis.

The fire department must receive copies of these reports.

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 these tests.

Here is a list of testing and maintenance companies that employ Seattle Fire Department (SFD) certified technicians:

Impairments

You and your testing company 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 associated with the submission of each report, per system, per year, except for hood systems which are per every six-month service. Your service provider (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, administering the reporting requirements, and then submitting payments along with test reports. 

Reports must be submitted within one week 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 service provider: 

Required Systems Test Reports and Submittal Frequency

Fire Protection System TypeCode/StandardFrequency
Alternative Extinguishing Systems (CO2, clean agent) Seattle Fire Code 901.6 Annual
Alternative Extinguishing Systems (dry chem) Seattle Fire Code 901.6 Every six months
Automatic Sprinkler Systems - Dry Seattle Fire Code 901.6 Annual
Automatic Sprinkler Systems - Wet Seattle Fire Code 901.6 Annual
Emergency Alarm Systems (Haz Mat) Seattle Fire Code 901.6 Annual
Emergency Generators Seattle Fire Code 604.3 Annual
Emergency Responder Comms Systems (BDA/DAS) Seattle Fire Code 510 Annual
Fire Alarm Systems Seattle Fire Code 901.6 Annual
Fire Escapes Seattle Fire Code 1104.16.5.1  
SFD Administrative Rule 11.01.18
Every five years
Fire Pumps Seattle Fire Code 913.5 
NFPA 25 Chapter 8
Annual

Rangehood Seattle Fire Code 901.6 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.

System test results must be submitted electronically by a certified technician to The Compliance Engine.

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

Fire Alarm

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 Annual Test (Emergency Radio Comms) 

BDA/DAS Acceptance 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 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.

Further Resources