2017 was one of the worst years on record for wildfires in California. According to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, fires covered nearly 1.5 million acres of land, led to $18 billion in property damage and 45 civilians and 2 firefighters lost their lives. Some of those deaths could have been prevented by simply having battery backups in their garage doors.
California Law-SB 969
With overwhelming bipartisan support, SB 969 was signed into effect on September 21, 2018. However, only recently has it gone into law. Here is a direct excerpt from the bill:
“This bill, beginning July 1, 2019, would [now] require an automatic garage door opener that is manufactured for sale, sold, offered for sale, or installed in a residence to have a battery backup function that is designed to operate when activated because of an electrical outage.
The bill would make a violation of those provisions subject to a civil penalty of $1,000. The bill would, on and after July 1, 2019, prohibit a replacement residential garage door from being installed in a manner that connects the door to an existing garage door opener that does not meet the requirements of these provisions.”
How Does Having a Garage Door Battery Backup Save Lives?
In the 2017 California wildfires, at least 5 people died in their garages due to power outages. As the fires blazed around their homes, various doorways were blocked. Residents made their way to the garage only to find out that a power outage rendered their garage door inoperable. Not only did this prevent people from leaving their home, it also prevented those who stored their car in their garage from using their personal transportation to leave the area.
Homeowners should know that most garage doors have an emergency release cord that will open the garage door without the need of power.
Even if someone knew about the emergency release cord, older residents, those with medical conditions and residents with disabilities still might not be able to reach the cord or have the strength to lift the garage door. Placing a battery backup in garage doors allows for there to be power storage available even if there is an outage, providing a way out of the home if you need to escape.
Garage Door Battery Backups- What You Need to Know
This law is in effect for garage door manufacturers and installers. You, the homeowner, do not need to rush out buy a new garage door motor right away. However, if you or any loved one that frequents your home would have trouble with your garage door in the event of an emergency, we strongly recommend installing a new motor with a battery backup immediately.
Once you have a garage door opener with a battery backup, you will need to replace that backup every three years. While it may be easy to forget to replace the battery, it’s important to know that each year, you should get your garage door serviced by an IDEA certified technician to assure that its functionality and your safety is in good standing. On those regular check-ups, your technicians will be able to keep track of your backup.
Trusted by contractors and homeowners alike, The Door Company (TDC) has been serving the state of California for over 30 years. Our IDEA certified technicians can install and maintain every type of garage door and driveway gate in the market. TDC now has four offices located in Redding, Chico, Yuba City and Stockton. We are considered one of the leading companies in our industry and strive to maintain our leadership.