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How Does Cremation Work?

How does cremation work?

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If you are in the process weighing cremation versus burial, you may be wondering, “How does cremation work?” Choosing how to lay to rest the remains of a loved one is a very personal decision and our hope is that discussing the cremation process will help you explore and narrow down your options.

How Does Cremation Work?

Choosing cremation gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to organizing the ceremony. The body can be cremated after a funeral service should you want to have the body at rest during the ceremony or displayed for visitations. The cremation can be done before the ceremony should you want the remains cremated and at rest in an urn for the ceremony for viewing or to be scattered.

Cremation also tends to be far less expensive than burial, depending on where you live it can make a decisive difference.


PacemakerOnce you’ve contacted the crematory about their services, arrangements will be made to begin the process. Initially the body will be placed in a temperature controlled refrigeration room for 24-48 hours depending on state regulations before cremation. Before cremation, pace makers will need to have been removed (the lithium ion batteries can explode during the cremation process) and all jewelry that you don’t want to have cremated will need to be removed.

Often people will have notes, pictures or small mementos cremated with the body, ask your funeral director about this ahead of time.The body will then be placed in a cremation container (if it hasn’t already) which is designed to hold the body during cremation. It’s usually made from fiberboard and will be cremated with the body.


Temporary cremation boxThe container will be placed into the crematory furnace at temperatures ranging from 1400-1800 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-2 1/2 hours. By the end of the cremation, all organic matter will be vaporized and what will be left is small fragments and particles of the skeletal structure.

At this point the firing process has finished and the remains are removed and set aside to cool. All medical plates, bolt and the like will be properly disposed of at this point, and the remaining ash and fragments will be given a uniform consistency.

The Remains

Temporary Cardboard UrnIf you did not choose an urn in advance, the funeral home or crematorium will place the cremated remains in a plastic bag which will be inserted into what is called a “temporary urn”, usually a plastic or cardboard container.

The urn or temporary urn will then be delivered to a cemetery or picked-up by the family.

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3 thoughts on “How Does Cremation Work?

  1. […] How Does Cremation Work? – The basic info. […]

  2. My brother was just cremated against his siblings wish. how long before the funeral does the body have to be cremated? Do you still need a plot if the ashes go home with family member? thank you I need to know.

  3. Sorry about the situation, but you will have to contact the funeral home on the time frame before cremation. This can vary for many reasons. You do not need a plot if you are not going to use a plot. You have choices and the family should decide together what will be the final outcome.

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