Systems Testing

Latest News

  • Pilot Phase: New Install and ITM Forms for smoke control and dampers, and kitchen hood suppression systems. Seattle, together with the King County Fire Marshals’ Association, is deploying Install/Acceptance Forms in TCE to be used when new fire protection systems are installed. These forms are optional but encouraged during our pilot roll out, which ends no sooner than September 1. This is a good time to get experience using the forms before they become mandatory. 
  • Modification to SFD E-Series Certifications in Fall 2024 To align SFD certification with the state’s approach to kitchen hood suppression qualifications, SFD will be modifying our E-4 certification scope to kitchen hood suppression only. Spray booths will be moved to E-3. Technicians will have their prior scope grandfathered in until they next renew their certification.
  • Alternative Extinguishing Systems Certification Beginning January 1, 2025, the Washington State Fire Code requires technicians working on automatic fire-extinguishing systems, other than automatic sprinkler systems, to possess a NICET Level II or higher in "special hazards suppression systems" (2021 Fire Code section 904). There is an exception for pre-engineered kitchen hood systems, which allows a current ICC/NAFED certification in lieu of the NICET Level II or higher. This 2021 code originally had July 1, 2024 for this requirement, and the SBCC voted on May 24, 2024 to extend that date until January 1, 2025.

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

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.

Work must be performed by someone who is certified by SFD. Here is a list of companies that employ SFD-certified technicians. Note two exceptions to the certification requirement: SFD does not provide certification to fire escape contractors or DAS/BDA installers. We do have an unvetted list of companies that have submitted fire escape test reports or indicated to the Seattle Fire Department that they have at least one employee that meets the code criteria to design, install and maintain BDA/DAS systems.

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

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 that is written to testing companies 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 (Aerosol, Carbon dioxide and clean agent)

Dry Chemical Systems
Seattle Fire Code                                                       
904.8, 904.10 & 904.12

Every six months
Automatic Sprinkler Systems – Dry or Wet

Automatic water mist systems
Seattle Fire Code 901.6

Emergency Alarm Systems (Haz Mat) Seattle Fire Code 5003.2.9 Annual
Emergency Generators Seattle Fire Code 1203.4 Annual
Emergency Responder Communication Enhancement Systems (BDA/DAS) Seattle Fire Code

Acceptance, Reacceptance and Annual
Fire Alarm Systems Seattle Fire Code 901.6 Acceptance, Reacceptance and Annual
Fire Dampers, Smoke Dampers and Combination Fire/Smoke Dampers not included in an engineered Smoke Control System

W/approval from Fire Marshal, dampers may have a quarter of the total tested annually, so that all dampers are tested once every 4 years.

2021 Seattle Fire Code 706.1.1

Acceptance, Reacceptance and Annual

* Hospitals every six years

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

Range Hood Seattle Fire Code 904.13.5 Acceptance, Reacceptance and every six months
Smoke Control Systems Seattle Fire Code 901.6 Acceptance, Reacceptance and Annual
Standpipe Systems Seattle Fire Code 901.6 Every five years
Standpipe Systems - Marinas Seattle Fire Code 901.6 Every five years

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
  • Dampers in all buildings including high-rise buildings may have a quarter of the entire system tested annually so the entire system is tested every four years

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
  • Some people find that it is more cost effectice to purchase a new fire extinguisher than to have an existing extinguisher inspected and tested. If you are pursuing this option, you must ensure that your new extinguisher meets code, such as by ensuring you purchase an extinguisher with the same rating as the one you are replacing

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.

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, leaving it tagged with the most recent white (or yellow) tag. The certified technician must email a copy of the repair report to close out the red-tagged system test result to us at 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,

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 (SFD) via The Compliance Engine. Beginning February 2023, building owners may wish to combine annual DAS testing with the required work on migrating their DAS to the new PSERN system. Read more here.
  • 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 email the PSERN radio shop about one week prior to testing at to arrange to borrow portable public safety radios and to schedule a time to measure signal level received as part of testing.

PSERN Transition – Starting March 2023 – All In-Building DAS Require Migration Services

In 2023, 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

Fire Department - Fire Prevention Division

Harold Scoggins, Fire Chief
Address: 220 3rd Ave S, 2nd Floor, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: 220 3rd Ave S , Seattle, WA, 98104
Phone: (206) 386-1450
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