Automatic Garage Door Opener Motor on the Ceiling. Close Up Adobe Stock / Dniel

California Senate Bill 969, which requires newly sold or installed electric garage door openers to have battery backups, was enrolled and presented to Governor Jerry Brown on August 24st, 2018 after passing both the state Senate and state Assembly. If signed into law, the bill is set to take effect on July 1st, 2019.

State Senator Bill Dodd first introduced the bill in January, after at least five victims of October 2017’s wildfires were trapped in their garages by widespread power outages. Dodd had encountered this issue himself while trying to evacuate his Napa home.

The Consumer Federation of California, which has sponsored Bill 969, notes that while garage doors can be opened manually, this may be difficult or impossible for many people, especially seniors.

“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.”

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