When deciding on options for your own funeral or that of a loved one, you may ask the question “ How is a body cremated ?” If you are going to opt for a cremation, then it pays to know a little more about the concept and exactly what goes on during a cremation. There are a few options to choose from when cremation is chosen for the deceased, the cremation process being carried out at a funeral home that offers cremation services, at a cemetery, or at a purpose built and stand-alone crematorium.
In basic terms, cremation involves placing the body of the deceased in a chamber designed for the purpose, and then subjecting it to extreme heat. The heat comes from direct flames, converting the remains into cremains. The time taken to cremate a body depends on the body weight as well as the type of container used. The temperature used is also a factor, although this does not vary greatly from one crematorium to the next. The average time for a cremation to take place and to convert the body of the deceased to skeletal remains that are incinerated is generally somewhere between two and three hours.
After this amount of time, the remains are left to cool before further processes are carried out. Non-consumed items such as casket hardware, metal implants, and bridgework are separated from the mixture by hand and with the use of magnets. The remains are then pulverised to ensure the remains are a fine powder, and that they are of an unidentifiable consistency. Once this last process is complete, the family of the deceased will be handed the remains of the body in a cremation urn. The ashes are then disposed according to the wishes of the family.
The ashes of the deceased are rarely kept by the family in the urn given to them. Normal practice is to dispose of the ashes, either by floating them on water, burying them in the ground, or scattering them.
Before a cremation can take place, permission from the coroner and a death certificate are necessary; this is because cremation is an irreversible process. It is impossible to determine the cause of death after cremation, and for this reason there is a minimum waiting time after death before the cremation can be carried out. A cause of death needs to be determined before the cremation can take place.
The casket used for cremation should be one made of a combustible material and one that is also leak resistant. Pacemakers must be removed from the deceased before the process begins as they can explode as well as causing damage to the incinerator. Pacemakers contain mercury that can be harmful to the environment. Any radioactive implants must also be removed. Depending on the place of choice for the cremation, it is generally possible for family members to watch the cremation if it is their wish to do so.