Confirming who is deceased
Firstly, a family member will identify the body and confirm whether or not they are a loved one. This is often very traumatic for the person whose identifying the body and they will often be accompanied by another family member or friend to provide them with emotional support. Once this is done, a metal tag is placed around the decease’s ankle, stating who they are.
The paperwork and permissions
To continue with the cremation, the person who is organising the final arrangements must also sing documents to confirm what is to happen with the body. This consists of deciding if the body is being cremated or buried, what container the crematory should use and who will pick up the remains. This confirms that the crematory has permission to continue with the final steps.
Getting the body ready
Preparing the deceased is a necessary step in making them look their best for their final goodbyes. They’re dressed in their best clothes, often picked out by a family member, with any prosthetics or mechanical devices are taken off to avoid the chance of a reaction. Their makeup is professionally done and any pieces of jewelry or other external items are removed, unless requested otherwise.
The cremation chamber
The loved one will then be taken to a cremation chamber which is built up of extreme temperatures to evidentially leave behind their ashes. It’s a special furnace specially designed to also include a cooling period so that it is available for the deceases loved ones to receive the ashes later on.
What is a cremation chamber?
A cremation chamber, an industrial furnace with fire-resistant bricks, endures extreme heat of 2000 degrees using natural gases, propane, or diesel, typically accommodating a single body for cremation purposes. Its robust construction ensures efficient and controlled combustion.
The different types of cremation
There are three ways to cremate a body. The first is direct cremation, during which the remains are directly taken to the chamber, without a funeral service. Alternatively, there’s liquid cremation, using alkaline hydrolysis rather than a flame. Finally, you can opt for green cremation, whereby the use of alkaline hydrolysis then results in a sterile solution which is later recycled.
Inspection of the remains
The remains are checked for any leftover metals parts that might be left behind, either by hand or using a special magnet. This can consist of screws or metal implants that may have been surgically placed within the deceased earlier in life that may inhibit the refining process as the remains are then ground down. This, finally, produces the ashes for the deceased’s loved ones.
The length of time for the process
The process as a whole often takes between two and three hours. This may be split up into different time frames depending on how the cremation company works. It takes much less time than a traditional burial, however, because there are so many steps, it still takes hours of work. The process time also depends on other factors like the size and weight of the body and the efficiency of the equipment.
What happens to the body?
What happens to the body during cremation depends on which method is used. The ‘traditional’ cremation is flame-based, subjecting the body to intense heat and reducing it to bone fragments while preserving the skeletal remains. More modern alternatives such as water cremation use water and chemicals to quicken the decomposition process, creating liquid residue instead.
The handing over of the ashes
The family will then come to collect the ashes, these are often placed in a bag inside an urn, unless specifically instructed otherwise. The creation company is prepared to handle this matter with sympathy and sensitivity, as this final step in the process is often one of the most traumatic and upsetting for loved ones.