Frequent Questions: Cremation

What is cremation and how does it compare in cost to earth burial?

Cremation is not something new, and it is not a substitute for a funeral. It is a process that has been around for thousands of years and is really just another method preparing the deceased for memorialization.

The process of cremation begins with an identification procedure that is designed to provide peace of mind to family members and ensure the integrity of the cremated remains. Because cremation is an irreversible process, positive identification of the deceased is crucial. Once positive identification has been established and all necessary permits have been obtained, the cremation casket or container is placed into the cremation chamber. The casket or container is then exposed to intense heat and flame for a period of approximately 2 to 3 hours. The exact length of time necessary for cremation will vary depending on the size and weight of the deceased and temperatures will range between 1400 to 1800 degrees. During the cremation process all matter will be consumed except certain bone fragments and non-combustible items such as prostheses, casket hinges, and jewelry.

After cremation is completed, a cooling period is required prior to the recovery of the cremated remains. Following the cooling period, the cremated remains are carefully gathered from the cremation chamber and all non-combustible items are separated and disposed of properly. The remaining bone fragments are further processed, reducing them to a fine, grayish-white, granular or powdery consistency that generally weighs between 4 to 8 pounds. Crematory personnel then carefully place the cremated remains into an urn selected by the family or into a container designed for temporary storage.

Cremation can reduce the cost of a standard funeral service by as much as $800.