What Are the Steps in a Cremation?


Quick Answer

The steps in a cremation are removing any prostheses, radioactive materials or personal belongings from the decedent, placing the decedent and casket into the cremation chamber, exposing the casket to intense heat, and collecting the remains into an urn or other vessel. Other than bone fragments, the only other items that do not turn to ash are metallic implants or jewelry.

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What Are the Steps in a Cremation?
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Full Answer

Most cremations take place at between 1,400 and 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the decedent's size and weight, the cremation takes between 90 minutes and three hours. Rarely, cremations take place at higher temperatures or for longer periods.

After the cremation, the staff allows the remains to cool. A staff person then brushes or rakes the remains out of the chamber and into an urn or other vessel. If the bone fragments remain intact in large pieces after the cremation, the staff may process them into smaller pieces.

Depending on the family's wishes, a cremation may take place before or after the funeral ceremony. After the cremation, some families choose to keep the remains in decorative urns in their homes, while others opt to have the remains interred or stored in mausoleums. Others may choose to scatter the ashes in places that held special meaning for the decedent.

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