How to Treat BBQ Burns

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post on the dangers of BBQ flare-ups, gas explosions and fire in general. What I neglected to include was what to do if you get burnt. I apologise. And I hope that if you did suffer burns at the hands of your barbie in the past couple of months, you didn’t just stand there looking at it saying, “All BBQs didn’t tell me what to do.”

BBQ on fire

Well I’m here today to rectify that issue. If you or anyone around you is burnt, heed the following steps:

1. Remove the Danger

This may involve:

  • Putting the fire out (have a fire extinguisher ready to go);
  • Preventing further contact with the source of the burn, such as flames or any smoldering material;
  • Smothering any flames that are still a threat using the stop, drop and roll method, a blanket, sand, or something similar.

2. Remove Surrounding Clothing

It is important to carefully remove any clothing surrounding the victim’s burn for the

following reasons:

  • Clothing will trap heat, thus not allowing the burn to cool;
  • Burns have a tendency to swell quickly, so it is particularly critical that constrictive clothing such as belts and jewellery are removed immediately.
  • Clothing is likely to irritate the burn further.

If clothing sticks to the skin, cut around it rather than attempting to rip it off.

3. Assess the Injury and Treat

In terms of severity, burns are typically classified as 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree. These classifications will determine whether you need to pop a panadol or rush to the E.R.

1st Degree Burns: Minor burns that only damage the outer layer of skin.

Symptoms: Redness, pain and swelling


  • Immediately cool the burn by holding it under cool running water, or immersing in cool water. Do not use ice, as burnt skin is very sensitive and could be damaged further.
  • Burnt skin is also very susceptible to infection so protect it by applying a specialised ointment and covering with a clean, non-stick, lint-free bandage.
  • Even 1st degree burns can be extremely painful; treat pain using standard, over-the-counter pain relief medication.

2nd Degree Burns: Moderate burns that damage the top two layers of skin.

Symptoms: Redness, severe pain, swelling, blistering and blotchy appearance.


  • For the most part, 2nd degree burns are able to be treated at home; follow the same treatment regimen as for 1st degree burns. Do not burst any blisters, as this may lead to infection. NOTE: If burns are to a particularly sensitive part of the body, such as feet, hands, genitals, airway or face, see a doctor immediately.
  • Closely monitor for worsening of symptoms including any increase in pain or signs of infection. If this occurs, or if the symptoms remain for more than 24-48 hours, or if other symptoms such as dizziness, fever and chills are experienced, see a doctor.

3rd Degree Burns: Extremely serious burns that damage all layers of skin.

Symptoms: Severe pain (also possibly little or no pain due to nerve damage), blistering, swelling and charred skin.


  • 3rd degree burns are a medical emergency and 000 should be called immediately.
  • While waiting for emergency services, loosely cover the burns with sterile, non-stick bandages. Do not soak or run under water, as the skin will be extremely sensitive.
  • Prevent shock by laying the victim down, elevating their feet and covering them with a blanket. If possible, elevate the burn area above the level of the heart while monitoring their pulse and breathing.

So there you have it; everything you need to know about dealing with BBQ burns. However, if you go back and read my post about preventing flare-ups and explosions, hopefully the only thing you’ll burn are the snags.

What do you think? Have you ever been burnt by the barbie? Have you got any additional tips? Please leave your comments below.

Marian O'Neill

Marian O'Neill

Managing Director at
My name is Marian O’Neill and I am the owner of All BBQs. My working life commenced as a primary school teacher, however the majority of my career has been in business with my husband. I love BBQ cooking and decided to follow my interest and open an online BBQ superstore after much research revealed how difficult it was to find good quality, australian made BBQs. At we specialise in Australian made BBQs, wood fired pizza ovens and outdoor kitchens. We strive wherever possible to provide high quality Australian made products.

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