Lawmakers have passed Senator Bill Dodd’s wildfire-related garage door safety bill.
The proposal, which will require newly sold or installed electric garage door openers to be equipped with backup batteries to prevent people from being trapped in their garages during power failures, passed the Assembly with overwhelming support, Dodd’s office announced.
The bill comes in the wake of the devastating October wildfires that triggered 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.
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“With the looming threat of more wildfires, we must do everything possible to keep people safe,” said Senator Dodd, D-Napa. “Requiring backup batteries on garage door openers will saves lives and ensure no one is left vulnerable.”
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…