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California Briefing

Sacramento

New rules for mobile home parks

October 13, 2009|Dan Weikel

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law late Sunday that requires emergency evacuation plans and other fire safety measures at thousands of mobile home parks in the state.

The bill by State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) mandates that park operators provide training in emergency procedures to managers and on-site staff, including ways to evacuate senior citizens and people with disabilities or health problems.

The measure was prompted by the firestorms that destroyed or damaged at least five mobile home parks in Southern California in the last two years, including Oakridge in Sylmar, where about 500 homes were destroyed in November. In public hearings related to the bill, park residents complained about a lack of emergency preparedness and evacuation plans.

"Last year, we witnessed firsthand how inadequate . . . safety requirements have been at mobile home parks," Padilla said. "Requiring evacuation plans is a big step forward for safety. . . . I believe it will save lives."

There are about 4,800 mobile home parks and more than 400,000 spaces for mobile homes in the state. Many are in rural and semirural places where the fire risk is higher than in urban settings.

-- Dan Weikel

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