Testing Fire Protection Systems


System tests have resumed normal operations.

Payments for past witnessed system tests inspections are still being accepted by mail. Please mail all checks to:

Arlington County Fire Prevention Office

1020 N. Hudson Street, 2nd floor

Arlington, VA 22201

Safe and more efficient

Though fire protection systems have been documented as early as 64 A.D., it wasn’t until the early 1970s that modern fire protection engineering design and protection systems came along … including automatic sprinklers.

These fire protection systems (including sprinklers) are powerful tools to help prevent the spread of fire, particularly in taller, bigger buildings. Like all systems, these can degrade with time, and must be inspected regularly to ensure they will perform as expected when the need arises.

More streamlined program

On Jan. 1, 2016, the Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) rolled out a more streamlined fire systems testing program. Under the new program, buildings in each occupancy type (commercial office buildings, residential buildings, etc.) will undergo either spot checks or a full check. The buildings will enter a rotation schedule, so that, over three years, any one building will receive one full check and two spot checks. This program will be phased in over three years.

This new “hybrid” testing program will continue to ensure safety, while reducing expense and inconvenience for individual buildings. ACFD estimates that, once the program is fully implemented, on-site inspections will be reduced by about 50% during spot-check years, with a full test performed every three years.


Full testing of fire protection systems has been in place in Arlington County for nearly a decade. The testing includes checking for compliance with Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code and the Arlington County Fire Prevention Code. In Fiscal Year 2014, 1,255 system tests were completed. ACFD’s experience has shown that system testing is necessary, as a number of systems are found to not be working properly.

The streamlining of the fire protection testing program is part of the County’s One-Stop Arlington initiative – to make it easier to do business with Arlington County Government.

Contact:  System Testing Program, 703-228-4647