Senator Dodd’s Wildfire-Related Garage Door Safety Becomes Law
SACRAMENTO – Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill today from Senator Bill Dodd, D-Napa, requiring newly sold or installed electric garage door openers to be equipped with backup batteries. The new law will prevent people from being trapped in their garages during power failures such as those triggered by recent wildfires.
“Requiring backup batteries on garage door openers will saves lives and ensure no one is left vulnerable,” Sen. Dodd said. “With the threat of more wildfires to come, we must do everything possible to keep people safe. I thank Gov. Brown for recognizing the importance of this bill.”
Senate Bill 969 follows the devastating October wildfires that caused widespread power outages, leaving many evacuees unable to open their garage doors to flee the flames. The remains of at least five victims were found where garages once stood.
The senator is personally aware of the peril posed by power failures in the face of emergencies. He was forced to evacuate his own Napa home the night of the fall fires and could not open his heavy wooden garage door because power was out in his neighborhood. While garage door motors can be disconnected and opened manually, many people, especially seniors, find it difficult or impossible to do so.
“Most people don’t think about this until it is too late,” Dodd said. “My goal with this bill is to raise awareness and give people the security of a battery backup.”
Senate Bill 969 was supported by the Consumer Federation of California. Assembly member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, is co-author.
“It is clear from this past year’s fires that we need to protect people when the power goes out,” said Richard Holober, the Consumer Federation’s executive director. “I applaud Sen. Dodd and Gov. Brown for this important new law that will keep people from being trapped in their garages.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Yolo, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.