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July 15, 2012

Barbecue Safety – Burn prevention

by BBQ Insanity

I wasn’t planning to write another article on barbecue safety so soon after my initial post a few days ago, but something happened to me today that made me think “if I can help just one person avoid this mistake, it will be worth blogging about”.

So what happened?  Well, nothing as serious as what we discussed in the first barbecue safety article (carbon monoxide poisoning), but it was very painful and quite annoying nonetheless!  Painful because I burnt my lower arm, and annoying because this was the second time I burned my arm in the very same place in only a few months.  And to make things worse, the reason I burned my arm was that I repeated the exact same mistake as the first time.  Same mistake, same result, a burnt arm…

So how did it happen?  Well, I was adjusting the handle of the ash catcher, How not to handle the ash catcherto clear some of the ash from the bottom of the bowl of my Weber grill.  Many Weber grills come with an ash catcher underneath the main bowl of the barbecue.  It’s a convenience rather than a necessity, and is found on the premium models of the Weber grills.   When turning the handle of the ash catcher, I have a tendency to just reach down to it from a standing position.  Usually, I get away with this without injury, however this does cause the arm to come very close to the bottom of the barbecue bowl.  Combined with wearing a t-shirt, it only takes a gentle brush against the bowl to cause a nasty burn.

Never underestimate how hot the lower part of the bowl can get.  The charcoals are directly on the other side of the bowl, and even if you are clearing up after cooking on the barbecue, it may still be hot enough to cause a nasty burn.The first picture is an example of how not to do it.  As you can see, my arm is dangerously close to the bottom of the barbecue, mere inches away from hot coals separated only by a thin layer of metal.  You may also be able to see in the reflection that I am not bending my legs.How to handle the ash catcherThe next picture illustrates the safer way to adjust the ash catcher.  Here, my arm is at a much safer distance from the bottom of the bowl, and you may just be able to see in the reflection that this time I am bending my knees.So just like we say to bend your knees when lifting heavy objects, for the sake of barbecue safety, bend your knees when adjusting the ash catcher!
In the event of getting a burn, stop whatever else you are doing, and run the affected area under running cold water.  I also used burn-eze to reduce the pain and prevent further blistering of the skin.  Hopefully this article on barbecue safety will mean you won’t be ending your day with a sore arm!
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