How Is Cremation Done?

Cremation can be performed at a cemetery, a funeral home offering cremation services, or a stand-alone crematorium to prepare the body for final disposition.

In this process, the dead body is placed in a cremation chamber and subjected to extreme heat and direct flame so as to convert it into cremains.

It usually takes about two to three hours, depending on factors like weight of the body, the type of casket or container in which the body is placed, temperature in the retort, etc. While cremating, though, the body is reduced to skeletal remains and bone pieces right after incineration.


Thus, these remains are left for cooling for some time before further processing can take place. The non-consumed metal items such as joint implants, bridgework, casket hardware, and so on are separated from the mixture, manually as well as with the help of a strong magnet.

Finally, these cremated remains are further pulverized into a fine powder of uniform, unidentifiable consistency. The cremains are then, placed in a temporary container or a cremation urn and handed over to the family for final disposal.

The cremation ashes can be scattered, buried in the ground, or floated in water. In case the cremated body is to be buried in a columbarium, mausoleum, etc. then you may consider avoiding the process of pulverizing the bone fragments.

Preparations for a Cremation

There are certain prerequisites associated with cremation because it is an irreversible process. For instance, you are required to have a death certificate of the deceased and obtain the permission of the coroner.

Plus, it is essential to get a cremation authorization form completed and signed by the next of kin. As it is impossible to determine the cause of death after cremation, certain states also have a waiting period of up to 24 or 48 hours from death.

In some states there are specific requirements concerning the casket or container being used for cremation. Generally, it is suggested to opt for the ones that are prepared from combustible materials and resistant to leakage of body fluids.

In addition, the cremation containers should be sturdy enough to provide protection for the crematory operators engaged in handling these boxes.

Besides, if the deceased had a cardiac pacemaker, it is recommended to get the device removed prior to the cremation because it may explode and cause damage to the incinerator and injure the operating staff.

Moreover, pacemakers contain mercury which, can prove to be harmful when released in the atmosphere. Radioactive therapeutic implants, too, should be removed.

Plus, as metal objects are damaged and broken during the cremation process, it is better to remove precious jewelry items beforehand.

Due to practical, religious, or spiritual reasons, the relatives and representatives of the deceased may ask about witnessing the cremation. Thus, most cremation service providers make arrangements for this service when requested.


Department Of State, Division Of Administrative Rules, 19 NYCRR Part 203 Crematory Regulations

International Cemetary, Cremation, And Funeral Association, Recommended Cremation Procedures

Wikipedia, Cremation