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It is a valve that threads into where the T&P valve goes on a water heater. It stops the gas to the heater if the temp. gets over 210 Then you run the gas line to it and then from it down to the gas valve on the water heater. Then you have to put a relief valve somewhere else in the system to relieve the pressure on the hot line at a safe point. This is used when you have a water heater crammed into place with no place to safely drain the t&p to. So, Local code enforcement should allow you to put a relief valve somewhere else. Also a good idea to put write the location of the relief at the water heater or every other plumber that looks at it will bad mouth you.
"don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"