Cremation Questions: A Step-By-Step Guide to the Cremation Process


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Some people are put off by burials because they can’t stand the thought of their bodies rotting beneath the ground. This is just one of the many reasons why lots of people prefer cremations to burials. Some may do so for religious reasons or because it’s custom, while others will cremate their bodies because they want to.

In 2016, about half of the funerals in the US were cremations, and the number is steadily rising even as we enter the new decade. With so many myths surrounding cremations, it’s normal for many people to have a ton of cremation questions.

Understandably, cremation may be something unorthodox for some families. It’s also imperative to get all your facts right before you decide to cremate. This piece will be a step-by-step guide to cremation so that you know exactly what you’re getting into when you opt for it.


The Cremation Process: How Does Cremation Work?

Expect the cremation process to take 24-72 hrs. depending on the crematorium. Most crematoriums try to get it done within a day.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to the cremation process:-

Body Identification and Safety Measures

Before cremating a body, you must have permission from the state to do so. The crematorium will check whether you have proper authorization from the state. You then complete some paperwork that confirms that you give the crematorium the go-ahead with the cremation process.

This paperwork will also make it clear who is to pick up the ashes after the cremation and the container to put the ashes. Completing this paperwork usually takes no longer than five minutes.

The first step in cremation is identifying the body of the deceased. You don’t want an ugly situation where you end up with someone else’s ashes. That’s why crematorium handles are guided by stringent procedures to avoid such mishaps.

The identification process usually varies with the crematorium. Generally, it involves a family member confirming the body’s identity. After that, the handlers place a metal tag on the body so that they can identify the body after cremation.

Body Preparation

Once you’ve sorted all the paperwork, the handlers proceed to prepare the body for cremation. The crematorium or a separate party will bathe and dress the body before the cremation so that in case you have body-viewing, the body is presentable and isn’t embalmed.

The handlers remove any jewelry or items you’d want to keep. They will also remove any metal items like prosthetics, for instance. You should thus inform the handlers of any medical equipment on the deceased body.

Electrical components are especially dangerous because they may react to the extreme heat during cremation.

Where Is the Body Placed During Cremation?

Special caskets are used for cremation. The casket must not have any metal parts, or the fire won’t consume them. The casket may look like the ordinary caskets used in typical funerals.

The casket must be strong enough to carry the body, and it must burn completely. In recent times, green caskets, which are made of wholly biodegradable materials, have been all the hype. If you’re out of options, a cardboard container is viable and much cheaper.

The Incineration

The incinerator, also known as the combustion chamber or the retort, is a furnace large enough to fit one body. It consists of fire-resistant bricks as its lining. These bricks can withstand temperatures of up to 20000 degrees Celsius.

The handlers put the body in the combustion chamber for cremation. A flame fueled by gas brings the temperature in the furnace up to 1000 degrees Celsius. The chamber is so hot that it will be about 300 degrees Celsius two days after the last cremation.

The burning process is complete when there are no visible flames in the combustion chamber. The handlers confirm this through a peephole. It will take about two hours for the fire to completely consume the body.

A vacuum sucks the remaining particles to get the body’s ashes. The particles are passed through a filter to remove any mercury from teeth fillings if any. Mercury could be very toxic once it gets into the atmosphere.

Ash Collection

Contrary to what most people think, what’s left behind after cremation isn’t actually ash, but is instead small bits of bone. There’s a special processor that will grind the remains to a sand-like consistency. This is now what we now call ash.

The handlers use a rake to collect this ash. The ash is left to cool for an hour or so before they weigh it. Once they weigh it, the weight should be roughly the same as the deceased’s weight at birth. Although the weight varies from person to person because of stuff like bone density.

After weighing, the ash moves through a machine that removes any metal particles that may have accidentally passed the screening.

Finally, the family or concerned parties decide what to do with the ash. Some might want to scatter the ashes while some would rather place it in jewelry or mix them with tattoo ink. You then sign a form that concludes the entire process, and you can then cover the average cremation cost which is between $500 and $1000 depending on the crematorium.


With These Steps, Your Cremation Questions are Answered

You shouldn’t second-guess whether you opt for cremation because it’s simple, non-complicated, and also cheaper than a burial. However, remember to get all the necessary permits and complete the paperwork before cremating your loved one. You shouldn’t settle for any cremation company that tells you otherwise.

Hopefully, we’ve answered all your cremation questions. To find your local crematorium and give your loved one the send-off they deserve.

Check out our other articles for more informative reads, and always be in the know.

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