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Residential Fire Sprinkler System Information

As of July 1, 2000, all new construction in Petaluma, both residential and commercial, has required installation of an approved fire sprinkler system. If you have a question as to what is required, please contact the Fire Marshal's Office at 707.778.4389.


As owner of a residential fire sprinkler system your dwelling is protected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 12 months a year from the threat of fire and its terrible consequences. Each sprinkler head of your "Life Safety System" acts as a Firefighter! As with any mechanical system, however, periodic maintenance is necessary to insure proper performance. The purpose of this owner's manual is to provide you, the owner, with guidelines for inspections and some additional background information as well.

Residential Fire Sprinklers are designed to:
  • Activate at 160o F.
  • Discharge water only from the head that is activated.
  • Apply water at a rate of 13 to 18 gallons per minute during the initial stages of fire.
  • Provide early fire warning (augments, but does not replace smoke detectors).
  • Allow you to escape from the fire.
Identify the System Components (and their locations)
  • Shut-Off
    The main water meter shutoff outside of your house is the only valve that will shut off water to your sprinkler system. The sprinkler system cannot be shut off independently of the house service.
  • Riser
    Should be labeled as such. Commonly found in the garage. However, it may be located in utility closets or wall cabinets or on the side of home.
  • Gauge
    Found with the Riser. It records the static pressure of the system.
  • Inspector Test Valve
    Located at the most remote wall (the part of the house that is furthest from the Riser) and should be labeled. It looks like a hose faucet without a handle.
  • Bell(s)
    In a visible location at the front or rear of structure. May be more than one. It should be audible from all sleeping areas.
  • Interior Alarm Device (optional)
    Typically found in the hall way.
Recommended Practices
  • Contact your monitoring company if your system is monitored.
  • Test your system monthly: Open the Inspector test valve and listen for the bell, then turn off the valve.
  • Know your sprinkler system shut off valve location and communicate this to all occupants of your home.
  • Any extensions for alterations to your sprinkler system must be approved by the Fire Department.
  • Contact the Fire Department if and when any activation of your sprinkler system occurs (except when testing the system).
  • Do not do anything to your sprinkler system that would hinder its performance, such as painting or hanging objects from the sprinkler head.
  • Do not turn off the sprinkler system in the event of a fire - let the Fire Department perform this task.
Did You Know?
  1. Sprinklers rarely leak. They are tested at 175 psi for 24 hours. Standard plumbing is only tested at 60 psi.
  2. Only the sprinkler head that is affected by the fire will activate.
  3. Sprinkler heads are activated by heat only. Smoke without heat will not cause a sprinkler to activate.
  4. Sprinklers cause less damage than the fire itself. A sprinkler will control a fire in its early stages and will use considerably less water than the Fire Department would.
  5. Sprinklers have been in use since the late eighteen hundreds to protect lives and property. They are a proven technology.


Contact Information

Leonard Thompson, Fire Chief

Jeff Schach,
Assistant Chief - Fire Administration, Operations & Disaster Preparedness, EMS Division

Jessica Power,
Fire Marshal – Fire Prevention & Technical Services Division

Dave Kahn,
Battalion Chief

Chad Costa,
Battalion Chief - Communications, Technology

Mike Medeiros,
Battalion Chief - Communications, Technology, Training

Kevin Weaver,
Interim Battalion Chief - Support Services Division, Safety & Wellness


Petaluma Fire Department Location:
198 ‘D’ St.
Petaluma, CA 94952
phone: 707.778.4390
alternative emergency phone:
fax: 707.931.0668
Fire Prevention Bureau Location:
22 Bassett Street
Fire Marshal
phone: 707.778.4389
fax: 707.206.6036
mailing address:
11 English Street
Petaluma, CA 94952