Cremation Temperature and other Important Cremation Questions
Many families are hesitant to opt for cremation for their loved ones because the process is shrouded in mystery. How is the body handled as it is placed inside a crematorium? What is the cremation temperature needed to fully transform a body to ashes? What are the chances of bodies getting mixed up, or lost?
In order to feel fully comfortable with your decision to cremate, it is a good idea to visit a crematorium, talk with a funeral director, or spend some time exploring online resources like ours. Although the following is not a comprehensive list of cremation facts, here are a few of the most common questions that arise regarding cremation.
- How hot does the cremation temperature get?
In order to render a body into ashes, it is necessary to reach temperatures between 1400 and 1800 degrees Fahrenheit (for about two or three hours). This not only breaks down the body tissues, but it evaporates the organic matter so that you are left with ashes that can be transported.
- How many bodies are cremated at a time?
Not to worry—most state laws prohibit the cremation of more than one body at a time. This means that your loved one is placed in the cremation chamber alone (and it is cleaned out between uses). You will only receive the ashes of your dearly departed. In some cases, you may be able to have family members cremated together, but this requires consent forms.
- How formal is the cremation process?
Because the death industry is such an emotionally important one, bodies in a crematorium are handled the same way they would be at a traditional funeral home. The deceased is prepared for cremation according to your specifications (in clothes of your choosing, with sentimental items, embalmed or not embalmed, etc.) and is placed in a cremation container you purchase. This helps maintain a high level of dignity for the deceased.
- Can I still hold a funeral for the deceased?
Absolutely you can. One of the biggest misconceptions about cremation is that it is impersonal or otherwise “less” than burial, but this simply is not true. You can hold a formal funeral with a body viewing (prior to cremation), have a memorial service afterward, celebrate with an ash scattering ceremony, or perform any other religious custom you desire. Cremation merely gives you more flexibility and choice.
- Is it possible to sit and watch the cremation take place?
If you would like to witness the cremation, arrangements may be made with the crematory or funeral home. The viewing room is fairly small, however, so won’t be able to invite the whole family. Save a larger, more formal gathering for later.
- How soon can I take the cremated remains home?
There is some processing (and cooling) that must occur before the cremated remains are ready to go, so you won’t get them the day of the cremation. In most cases, you can expect to wait from two days to up to a week. If you have an urn you would like to receive the ashes in, the crematorium will also take the time to transfer and prepare the ashes according to your wishes.
Always be sure to ask the funeral home or crematory professionals if you have any additional questions about the process of cremation. Although taking a tour of the facilities isn’t right for everyone, being able to sit down and ask your questions can help put your mind at ease—and help you feel confident in the decision to cremate.
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By Amy Johnson