CFC-sponsored garage safety law enrolled

Governor Brown received Senate Bill 969, a new law designed to save lives in home fires. The Consumer Federation of California sponsored SB 969 by Senator Bill Dodd, which requires newly sold or installed electric garage door openers to be equipped with a battery backup to prevent people from being trapped in their garages during power failures.

The remains of at least five victims of last year’s devastating wildfires in Northern California were found where garages once stood, unable to evacuate due to widespread power outages that accompanied the fires.

Senator Dodd had first-hand experience of the peril of inoperable garage doors. When the Senator had to evacuate his Napa home during the fire, he 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.

“This past year’s fires demonstrate the need to protect people when the power goes out,” said Richard Holober, the Consumer Federation of California’s Executive Director. “This new law will keep people from being trapped in their garages. We thank Senator Dodd for his leadership in authoring an important lifesaving law.”

Read the full text of SB 969 on California Leginfo →