North Bay lawmaker pushing for bill to help homeowners escape in emergency

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- Your garage could be a deadly obstacle during an emergency. A North Bay lawmaker is trying to put a bill on the books to help you escape your home in the event of a disaster.

At least 43 people died in the North Bay fires. Two people in Sonoma County were found dead where their garages once stood, presumably unable to escape.

Now Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) is trying to make sure more Californians can drive out of their garage when the next disaster strikes.

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"I saw in my own neighborhood some real issues with garage doors and people had trouble getting out," Dodd said.

When the power goes out and your clicker doesn't work, most people have to manually open their garage doors.

ABC7 News Reporter Kate Larsen is 5 foot 7 and has high-heeled boots on. She says it's still really high for her. And then somehow you have to push the garage door open. It's very heavy.

Even when using all of her strength to try and get it open, she still doesn't quite have it open.

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So you can see in an emergency situation why this would be really difficult, especially someone who's older, maybe not as strong and needs to get out of their house really quick.

That's where Dodd's bill comes in. "Any garage door sold in the state of California, whether new construction or replacement, would be required to have a battery backup," he said.

The backup battery, included in the $200 models online, would kick in when the power fails and allow for a quick getaway.

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"It's just another measure of preparedness for a disaster event or even when it's raining and the power goes out and you need to leave your house," CalFire Napa County Batt. Chief Jason Martin said.

Dodd hopes to have the bill signed into law this year.

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