Cremation is growing in popularity. With the pandemic, more families in the state of Florida have made it their preferred choice to honor their loved ones. People choose cremation for various reasons.
For some, cremation costs are more affordable than traditional funeral services. Moreover, the shift in religious beliefs has made cremation services increasingly acceptable to many families. Let’s not forget the eco-friendly nature and flexibility of the cremation process compared to traditional burials.
Even so, not everyone understands the cremation process, who performs it, and what it entails. So, what happens at a cremation service?
Here’s the Florida Family Cremations guide.
What Is a Crematory?
A crematory is a structure that houses the cremation chamber, where the cremation process occurs. Only a licensed professional can run a crematory. Cremation technicians also receive training to ensure everything is handled with care.
The cremation chamber, a.k.a retort, is a furnace where the operators carry out the cremation process. It has a brick lining and an outer encasing of stainless steel. The chamber also contains a stack that acts as a vent. This chamber can operate under temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Older cremation chambers had buttons. The newer chambers are digital and use diesel or natural gas.
Types of Cremation Processes
Two cremation processes exist.
- Direct cremation – This cremation process involves cremating a loved one immediately after the body gets to the crematory. Typically, no viewing, funeral service, or visitation takes place beforehand.
- Liquid cremation – This process is also referred to as alkaline hydrolysis. It’s a flameless cremation that uses alkali, pressure, water, and heat. It can take upto 16 hours and require a larger chamber than the one used in direct cremations. Also, unlike direct cremation, crematories don’t need to remove pacemakers and other medical devices.
Liquid cremation is a green cremation process. It minimizes over 75% of carbon emissions and utilizes about 1/8 of the energy used in flame-based cremation. It also recycles the sterile solution used during hydrolysis.
Cremation Service Options
Before answering what happens at a cremation service, it would help to understand the different cremation options available.
- A simple cremation – This cremation process is the most affordable. It involves a direct cremation. It’s typically a preferred choice for those with few living family members and friends.
- Cremation with a celebration of life ceremony is another available option. Once the cremation service is complete, friends and family gather for a memorial service with the loved one’s ashes present. It’s becoming a popular option, primarily due to the pandemic, as it allows loved ones to hold the memorial service even a year later.
- Cremation and a funeral service involve additional steps to the direct cremation process. The family holds a casket viewing and funeral service before the cremation process. The deceased must undergo preparation. Typically, this involves embalming and makeup application.
- Witness cremation – In this type of service, family members participate in the cremation process. They can watch the body as it goes into the retort. The crematory may allow one member to push the cremation container and even press the button to begin the process. Note that not all funeral homes can accommodate witness cremation. Also, while viewing may seem challenging for living loved ones, it can assist the healing process. Not all cremation services offer this service.
How Long Does a Cremation Take?
The cremation process takes about one to three weeks, based on the cremation services you choose. The only exception is if the deceased had registered for body donation. If this is the case, the institution will cater for cremation costs. Also, it will take about a month before the donation recipient sends your loved one’s cremated remains to you.
What Happens at a Cremation Service?
Here’s a breakdown of what happens at a cremation service.
- Body identification and death certificate application. A family member visits the hospital or hospice to confirm the deceased’s identity. The coroner will then place a metal identification tag. State laws on cremation in Florida require families to file for a death certificate before proceeding with cremation services.
- The family selects a crematory. Here, the family members choose a local funeral provider to facilitate the transportation and cremation process. Note that you may opt to let the crematory file the death certificate on the family’s behalf.
- Authorization – The family must sign the paperwork, giving the crematory authority to proceed with the cremation process. You meet the funeral director at this stage to discuss which cremation services you would like. However, if the deceased has existing prepaid funeral plans, the crematory will proceed with the actual process.
- Body preparation – This process will depend on the option chosen. If you plan to hold a funeral service, the deceased is cleaned and dressed before public viewing. Otherwise, the operators will prepare the body for cremation by taking out jewelry or medical implants before placing the body in a cremation container.
- Cremation – Cremation is a process that reduces the body to bone fragments. The direct cremation option involves two combustion processes. The first entails dissolving the tissues and body fat. The final process pulverizes the bone fragments into ashes.
- The family receives their loved one’s ashes – The final step involves transferring the ashes into a wooden container before sending them to the living family members. Alternatively, you could purchase a cremation urn. Plus, you could request the crematory to place some of the loved one’s ashes in keepsake jewelry, which you can send as a gift to loved ones.
We hope this in-depth guide to what happens at a cremation service has helped you and your loved ones understand this final disposition option. Remember, planning a cremation while grieving can be stressful, which is why we recommend getting a prepaid plan for you or a loved one.
Florida Family Cremations offers a wide range of cremation services in Clearwater. We are proud to provide veterans’ services for cremation as well. Please feel free to view other resources. Do you have any questions or concerns? Call us today for a free consultation.