This Cremation Process Explanation Is Required By Law
All cremations are performed individually. Exceptions can be made only in the case of close relatives, and then only with the prior written instructions of the authorizing agent(s) or family and only if the state or local laws allow this. (SC laws do) The cremation process begins with the placement of the cremation container or casket, holding the remains, into the cremation chamber, where it is subjected to intense heat and flame reaching temperatures between 1,400 and 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. All substances are consumed except bone fragments (calcium compounds/skeletal remains) and any non-combustible materials, such as jewelry, dental work, prosthesis, latches, hinges, etc., that were not removed prior to cremation as the temperature is not sufficient to consume them. During the cremation process, it may be necessary to open the cremation chamber and reposition the deceased in order to facilitate a complete and thorough cremation. The time for cremation to be completed varies with the size and weight of each human remains, but usually takes between 1 1/2 and 3 hours. Following a two-hour cooling period, the cremated remains are then swept from the cremation chamber, collected in a holding container and allowed to cool further. Every effort is made to remove all human remains. However, a small dust like microscopic residue may remain in the cremation chamber, resulting in incidental commingling with other microscopic cremated remains. After the cremated remains are removed from the cremation chamber, all non-combustible materials that have not been removed prior to cremation will be separated and removed from the bone fragments by visible or magnetic selection and will be disposed of by the crematory authority in a non-recoverable manner. Once the bone fragments have been separated from the other material, they will be further processed to reduce the size of the larger bone fragments into more uniform particles that look more like beach sand and splintered shells, suitable then for scattering or placement into the urn provided by the family, or the temporary cardboard container provided by the FH/crematory. Cremated remains, depending on the bone structure of the decedent, will weigh between three and nine pounds, and are usually white to gray in color, but can be other colors due to temperature variations. The crematory should be provided with an urn from the family or legal representative, in which the cremated remains will be placed. All urns/vase type containers provided, should have a minimum two inch (2") opening to facilitate placement of ashes. If no urn is provided or the urn provided is not large enough, the crematory will place the remains or any excess in a container made of cardboard to temporarily hold the loved one's remains until an urn is acquired or the cremated remains are scattered. Total time involved for the cremation process is normally 5-7 hours.
SC law requires all funeral homes to make available an explanation of the cremation process to anyone (agent) authorizing a cremation either for themselves or a loved one.
Owners Note - Having personally been involved with moving graves/caskets, with my history as a licensed mortician and as being employed with the worlds largest casket manufacturer for 26 years, what I have seen in the grave as skeletal remains after years of the burial of a loved one, is almost identical to what I see when I open the cremation chamber after a cremation is complete. Embalming, which is a similar process to kidney dialysis, does preserve the loved one's remains temporarily, but not permanately, and eventually as the "Good Book" says, "ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we shall return," does occur. I only say this, because some families I deal with are apprehensive about cremation and are only carrying out the cremation wishes of their loved one. They tell me they find comfort in my explanation and feel better about having to carry out their loved one's wishes.