Annapolis Fire Department

Annapolis Fire Department Media Release

Fire Chief

David L. Stokes, Sr.

Contact Person:
Firefighter 1/c Ken White
Phone: 410-263-7975

Christmas Tree Safety

For Immediate Release
December 11, 2018

The Annapolis Fire Department says
"Safety is the Best Present"

(Annapolis, MD) –  "For many, Christmas is the most exciting time of the year "says Annapolis Fire Chief David L. Stokes Sr. With Christmas rapidly approaching, Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley and Fire Chief David L. Stokes Sr. would like to share with you some important Christmas safety recommendations, so that while you deck the halls, you can do so in a fun but safe manner.
Top Priority

Make sure you have working Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms. Check and Change your batteries

Picking the Tree
  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
Placing the Tree

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2”   from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights. 
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Be sure to add water to the tree stand daily. 
Lighting the Tree

  • Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.  Some lights are only to be used indoors while others are only to be used outdoors. So choose the right lights for the location.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords, loose bulb connections.  Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect. 
  • Never use candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed. This applies to both artificial and live Christmas trees. 

After Christmas
Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are usually very serious.
Get rid of your tree after Christmas or when it is dry.  Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.  Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Also bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards this will also ensure that they last longer.

Food for Thought from the United States Fire Administration (USFA)

  • One of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
  • On average, one of every 32 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four Christmas tree fires.
  • The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.Candles start two out of five home decoration structure fires.

The Annapolis Fire Department offers free smoke and CO alarms to those in need of them. If you have any additional questions about Christmas Tree Safety, or would like an assessment of your homes smoke and CO alarms. Please contact us at 410-263-7975 for further assistance.

End of Release (Ken White #400)
Safety is the Best Present
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