Funeral Education

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The Cremation Process

The Cremation process has been used for thousands of years. The accepted definition of cremation is the reduction of a deceased human to inorganic bone fragments by intense heat.

The funeral director will obtain the necessary authorization and releases from you. You will be asked questions about whether the deceased had a pacemaker, defibrillator, a battery powered device or radioactive implants. These can pose a danger to the crematory equipment or operator.

The remains are taken to the crematorium in a rigid container or acceptable casket. The container is not opened after it is taken to the crematorium. The device used to perform the cremation is called a retort. The chamber can only accommodate one individual at a time. The retort’s chamber is lined with refractory ceramic brick. The retort uses natural gas, propane or fuel oil to create a temperature of 1,400 – 2,100 °F. The time required for cremation varies and may be as fast as one hour per 99 lbs of body weight. The remaining bone fragments are processed to a finer consistency and any metal is removed. Ashes of adults can weigh from 4 pounds to 6 pounds, but the first figure is roughly the figure for women, and the second, for men. The ashes are then put into an urn or packaged to be returned to the funeral home.