(AP) New manufactured homes would be required to come equipped with weather radios to warn occupants of severe storms under legislation that passed the House Tuesday.
Sponsors said the measure would help prevent deaths from tornadoes that disproportionately occur in manufactured housing, including mobile homes. The bill would require builders to install National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radios capable of picking up direct broadcasts from the National Weather Service. Such broadcasts provide official storm warnings and watches _ as well as general weather information _ 24 hours a day.
"With today's technology, we have the science to predict a severe storm, sometimes as much as a half hour before it arrives," said Rep. Spencer Bachus, an Alabama Republican who sponsored the bill. "The cost of installing these radios is very small, but it will save lives."
The bill passed by voice vote without opposition. It has not passed the Senate.
Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, who was one of several cosponsors, said the radios would cost $30 to $80 apiece.
The bill is named "CJ's Home Protection Act" after a two-year-old Indiana boy who was killed by a tornado in 2005. His mother helped push through a state law in Indiana and has lobbied Congress to adopt a similar measure.
According to the bill, some 20 million Americans live in manufactured homes and the fatality rate for such homes during storms is more than 10 times that of permanent structures.