A casket containing the body is put into a cremation chamber that is raised to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. It is left in the chamber for about 2 hours, in which time all organic matter is consumed by the heat. The ashes and bone fragments are what remains, referred to as cremation remains, or cremains.
The cremation remains are removed and inspected for any metal, which is removed by a magnet. The approved remains can then be placed in a container and given to the family. The entire process rounds up to about 3 hours.
By law, all cremations must be done individually. Some states allow the cremation of family members to be done together if requested by the family. Because the process of cremation cannot be undone, there is a specific waiting time determined by each state before a body may actually be reduced to ash. Some states require a medical examination of a body to determine cause of death before the cremation to prevent any evidence in a potential crime from being destroyed.
Caskets are not required in the cremation process, but the body must be in a leak-proof, combustible container, such as a wooden box for sanitary reasons. The ashes will be transferred to a container of the family's choice, which can be bought by the family prior to the cremation or from the funeral home.