What happens during the cremation process?

Heflebower Funeral and Cremation Services fields a lot of questions and many people, especially those who are experiencing funeral arrangements for the first time, want to know more about cremation. Cremation is an irreversible processes and just one of many decisions that should be communicated to the family before passing. Some religious practices encourage cremation and others are against it, so it is a personal choice unique to you.

In the United States, over 40% of funerals performed were completed with cremation rather than burial. If you are making the decision for someone who hasn’t communicated their wishes, or you are considering it for final arrangement pre-planning, we hope clearing up some of the confusion about the process will help.

Are cremations done individually?

Colorado State law requires that only one body is to be cremated at a time. There are times, such as in the case of multiple family members passing, that they can be cremated together. Unfortunately, there have been stories of crematoriums who have not followed the law and were exposed by news media. This is absolutely the very rare exception. You do have the right to request being present for the cremation or portion of the cremation.

Information to know before the cremation process

Caskets can be the single most expensive part of a funeral, and in the case of cremation, unnecessary. Caskets can be rented for the purpose of viewing, but a casket is not required for cremation. Additionally, embalming is not required before cremation.

Colorado law requires a 24 hour waiting period before cremation, so the exact cause of death can be determined.

How long does a cremation take?

The actual incineration takes between 1-3 hours. Certain factors such as size and weight of the body can change the cremation time. The age and condition of the cremation equipment, including the temperature of the chamber, can also effect the time required to complete the process. Other factors include the type of casket or cremation container that is being used and any medical or dental objects the deceased had. These metal objects won’t disintegrate in the cremation process, but instead are removed later from the ashes. The exception to that are pacemakers, which are removed prior to cremation to prevent them exploding and causing damage to the equipment.

What is the cremation process?

The deceased is placed in a casket or a cremation container and slid into the preheated chamber using a mechanized system that reduces heat loss. During the cremation process, the body is exposed to temperatures between 14-1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Before the cremation, any jewelry or items that were placed in the casket, should be removed. These mementos will either be destroyed in the intense heat or will be damaged and will be in the remaining ash, also know as cremains or cremated remains.

The cremation furnace runs on natural gas, oil or propane and the gases are released through an exhaust system. There isn’t an associated smell with this as the emissions are filtered.

The cremated remains can include bone fragments and metal or other durable items from medical or dental procedures, such as prosthetics and hardware. Additionally, there may be hinges and nails or other metal components left behind from the casket. The bone fragments can be ground down, but the medical and casket metals are disposed of. After a cooling period, the cremated remains are placed in an urn for the family or in a container provided by the crematorium.

Talk to your family about your end of life wishes.

Talking to your loved ones about the way you want your funeral to happen, including your desire for cremation or burial, is very helpful during a difficult time for them. You can do pre-planning arrangements with a funeral home, lawyer or other trusted individual. The main point is to have your wishes known.

Call us and let’s talk about your final plans and how we can celebrate your LIFE!