Cremation Questions

Answers to frequent questions about cremation
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Cremation Questions and Answers

Need more information? Below are several answers to cremation questions we frequently hear from families.

How soon after death can cremation take place?

Before cremation can take place all documents must be processed and the death certificate must  be signed by a physician. The deceased stays in a safe, climate-controlled environment while death and cremation documents are processed.

Is embalming necessary for cremation?

No, embalming is not necessary for cremation.

Is a casket required?

No. For sanitary reasons, ease of placement and dignity, we require that the deceased be cremated in a combustible, rigid, covered container. This does not need to be a casket as such. What is required is an enclosed, rigid, container made of a combustible material to allow for the dignified handling of human remains. A basic alternative container is included in the cost of our simple direct cremation package.

How big of a price difference is there with cremation compared to standard ground burial?

Cremation in many cases can cost thousands of dollars less than a ground burial. The cost depends on the type of permanent memorial, location of the memorial, urn, and placement selected.

Is any special preparation required prior to cremation?

It is essential that pacemakers and other medical devices be removed prior to cremation. They may explode when subjected to high temperature, which can be hazardous to crematorium staff and equipment. In addition, any special mementos, such as jewelry, will be destroyed during the cremation process. Anything you wish to keep should be removed by the funeral director before the casket or container is transferred to the crematorium.

What happens during the cremation process?

The casket or container is placed in the cremation chamber, where the temperature is raised to approximately 1400 degrees to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. After approximately, 2 to 2 1/2 hours, all organic matter is consumed by heat or evaporation. The residue which is left is bone fragments, known as cremated remains. The cremated remains are then carefully removed from the cremation chamber. Any metal is removed with a magnet and later disposed of in an approved manner.

Is it true that the bones are crushed after cremation? I've heard you don't get ashes back -- what do you get?

A complete cremation is a two-step process. Firstly, the actual exposure of the deceased to several hours of intense heat and flame; after which the remains are mostly ash except for certain bone fragments, then the entire remaining ash and fragment volume is gathered and run through a processor, creating a uniform powder-like texture.

Can I take the cremated remains home?

Yes. The remains are normally placed in an urn. Most families select an urn that is suitable for placement on a mantle or shelf. Urns are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials.

Can I scatter the remains on private property?

Yes, with permission of the owner.

What can be done with the cremated remains?

With cremation, your options are numerous. The cremains can be interred in a cemetery plot, i.e., earth burial, retained by a family member, usually in an urn, scattered on private property, or at a place that was significant to the deceased. (It would always be advisable to check for local regulations regarding scattering in a public place.) Cremation is just one step in the commemorative process– the preparation of the human remains for memorialization. Today, there are many different types of memorial options from which to choose.

Can I use my own urn?

Yes — The size of your urn will be of great importance if you plan to have your loved one’s entire cremated body included in this container. We recommend a container which will accommodate a minimum of 200 cubic inches of volume.

Do I have to make different funeral arrangements if I choose cremation?

It really depends entirely on how you wish to commemorate a life. One of the advantages of cremation is that it provides you with increased flexibility when you make your funeral and cemetery arrangements. You might, for example, choose to have a funeral service before the cremation; a memorial service after the cremation with the urn present; or a committal service at the final disposition of cremated remains. Funeral or memorial services can be held in a place of worship, a funeral home, or in just about any gathering place imaginable.

If I am cremated can I be buried with my spouse even if he or she was in a casket?

Yes — Depending upon the cemetery’s policy, you may be able to save a grave space by having the cremains buried on top of your casketed spouse, or utilize the space provided next to him/her. Many cemeteries allow for multiple cremains to be interred in a single grave space.

Why is refrigeration of the remains necessary?

Refrigeration is the only alternative available, other than embalming, that will slow tissue decomposition. Refrigeration is a necessity that protects family and friends, the crematory operator and the general public from potential health hazards.

Are cremations done individually?

Yes. Laws require that only one casket or container is cremated at a time.