Cremation is not an alternative to a funeral; it is an alternative to burying a deceased body in a casket.
Cremation is a high-temperature burning of a deceased body. In the process, all of the body’s organic matter is burned or evaporated, leaving only the inorganic mineral fragments, which look like dry bone.
During cremation, the casket or container is placed by itself in the cremation chamber or cremator which is basically an industrial furnace with a control system that monitors the furnace temperature. The chamber where the body is placed is called a retort and is lined with heat-resistant refractory bricks. The chamber is designed for only one body at a time. The retort temperature is raised to approximately 1000 degrees Celsius. After about two hours, all organic matter will be burned or evaporated. The residue is inorganic fragments (mostly bones). Trained staff carefully removes all recoverable cremated remains from the chamber. Any metallic material (metal) is removed and the cremated remains are reduced by a mechanical process to unidentifiable dimensions and placed in a temporary container.
What is Cremation?
Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat. Cremation is not the final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service.
Is a casket needed for Cremation?
No, however a basic cremation container/casket is required to transport the deceased with dignity to the crematorium.
Can the family witness the cremation?
Yes they can; some cremation providers will allow family members to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber. Some religious groups even include this as part of their funeral custom.
What can be done with the cremated remains?
While personal family preferances may vary, for the most part remains can be buried/interred in a cemetery plot, or placed in a columbarium (wall) niche, kept at home or scattered.
How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?
Cremation providers have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service. One cremation takes place at a time, and a stainless steel identification tag must be placed with the human remains throughout all stages of the cremation process.
How long does the actual cremation take?
It all depends on the weight of the individual. For an average sized adult, cremation can take two to three hours at a normal operating temperature of between 1,000 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
What do the cremated remains look like?
Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average sized adult usually weighs between 7 and 8 pounds.
Are all the cremated remains returned?
With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
Do I need an urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or if the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary plastic container.