Cremation is an alternative to burial. The process itself is simple and economical, but the various steps involved may seem complex at first glance. This article provides a step-by-step guide to the process of cremating a body.
1. Identification, documentation, and security
When the body arrives at the crematory, staff members will perform some necessary tasks before the actual cremation process. First, they check the identification tags that were placed on the deceased by the funeral home to verify that they are receiving the correct body. If these are present, they are removed prior to cremation. Next, all personal belongings are removed from the body, tagged, and placed in safekeeping as it may be necessary to return items such as jewellery or spectacles to family members after cremation.
When the body arrives at the crematorium after the funeral service, it is unloaded and placed on a movable steel bed. The staff will then move this bed into an area called the cremation chamber, which is where the actual work of burning takes place. Because modern cremators reduce oxygen levels in order to reduce combustion, bodies do not burn on their own and therefore require some form of fuel. The most common fuels used in today's crematories are natural gas or propane gas, although others may use oil or electricity.
Inside the cremation chamber, the body is exposed to extreme heat, which causes it to combust. As it does so, any organic matter (i.e., flesh and organs) within the body is destroyed, leaving only bone fragments behind. These fragments are then further reduced by grinding them into fine bone ash with heavy machinery, which is then collected into a ceremonial urn. The entire process takes a few hours from start to finish and requires no human interaction beyond loading the body onto the bed and pushing a button for ignition.
3. Return of ashes
The urn containing the ashes is then returned to family members, who can choose how they want to display or keep it. Some may wish to display the urn in their home, while others may want to bury the ashes at a loved one's gravesite or scatter them somewhere meaningful.
If you would like to find out more, you should contact a local funeral service today. A funeral director will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the cremation process or other options.