Cremation FAQs

Click on the questions below to reveal each respective answer.

The casket or container is placed in the cremation chamber, where the temperature is raised to approximately 1850 degrees Fahrenheit. After approximately, 2 1/2 - 3 hours, all organic matter is consumed by heat or evaporation. The residue which is left is bone fragments, known as cremated remains. The cremated remains are then carefully removed from the cremation chamber. Any metal is removed with a magnet and later disposed of in an approved manner. The cremated remains are then processed into fine particles and are placed in an urn or temporary container. The entire process takes approximately 3-5 hours. Throughout the cremation process, a carefully controlled identification system ensures correct identification of the body and the cremated remains.

No - actually only a small percentage of cremation service providers have their own cremation units. We are one of the only providers in the Greater Hazleton Area to provide this service.

Our funeral home is the only funeral home in the Greater Hazleton area to provide on-site cremation. Our retort is located within our Drums facility. For the families that entrust us with the care of their loved one, we can assure them, that their loved one never leaves our care. All of the other providers in our area, use an off-site third party vendor to provide the cremation, meaning they must transport the body to an off-site location, leave the body there while the cremation takes place, and return later to pick up the cremated remains.

When advising consumers, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) recommends that the first question you ask of your cremation provider is: Do you perform your own cremations? This is a very important question because it is impossible for those providers that utilize an outside vendor to have control over all phases of the cremation process, as stated earlier for some or all of the time between the removal of the deceased from the place of death, until the return of the cremated remains to the family members, the deceased is under the supervision of an unlicensed third party. This can and has led to some serious and unthinkable tragedies in recent history. In February of 2002, in Noble Georgia, more than 300 human bodies were discovered on the property of Tri-State Crematory, a third party off-site cremation provider. This off-site provider was receiving bodies from local funeral homes and instead of performing the cremation, bodies were disposed of and urns were returned with a substance that resembled cremated remains. More than 100 of the bodies discovered could not be identified. In 2005 Bayview Crematory, a third party off-site cremation provider in Seabrook, New Hampshire, was shut down by state officials after many problems were found, including: unidentified bodies, unidentified urns with cremated remains in inside, and records that indicated more cremations were done than their time and equipment would allow. Again many funeral homes in the Seabrook area had used this off-site crematory to provide their cremation services. We provide only on-site cremation, we can assure you that these terrible tragedies can never happen to your family because your loved one never leaves our care.

CANA the recognized leader in consumer information about cremation in our country offers some guidelines for choosing a cremation provider. These guidelines include: Make sure you select a reputable firm. What do you know about them? Ask your friends what they know about them. cremation? Does the crematory facility allow witnessing by family members?

No, cremation is simply a method of preparing human remains for final disposition.

It really depends entirely on how you wish to commemorate a life. One of the advantages of cremation is that it provides you with increased flexibility when you make your funeral and cemetery arrangements. You might, for example, choose to have a funeral service before the cremation; a memorial service at the time of cremation or after the cremation with the urn present; or a committal service at the final disposition of cremated remains. Funeral or memorial services can be held in a place of worship, a funeral home or a cemetery chapel.

It's completely a matter of family preference. Many times when a family is split regarding the decision to cremate, a compromise may be achieved by having a traditional service first - to be followed by cremation.

Cremation services, just like traditional funerals can vary greatly in costs depending on many choices you make. A frank discussion with your funeral director can further answer this question, once a few decisions are made. All cremation services are completed in our Drums facility by one of our licensed funeral directors. This is distinctly different from the way in which most other area providers operate.

We have a large selection of urns starting at $25.00. We also carry an extensive line of cremation jewelry.

This is a question that we are asked often, however to properly answer the question, we must know what type of cremation you are requesting. Cremation is just another form of final disposition of the body, and can be accompanied by as much or as little service as the family desires, much the same way a person can be buried with a complete funeral or just taken to the cemetery. When you compare like services the such as a viewing and funeral service prior to cremation with a viewing and funeral service prior to burial, the cost difference is a few hundred dollars. This difference lies in the fact that for cremation you will incur the cremation cost and the cost of an urn, whereas with burial you will incur the cost of the outer burial container, grave space cost, and grave excavation.

Yes. Laws require that only one casket or container is cremated at a time.

Yes, the body is exposed to direct heat and flame. Cremation is performed by placing the deceased in a casket or other container and then placing the casket or container into a cremation chamber or retort, where they are subjected to intense heat and flame.

Because cremation is an irreversible process and because the process itself will eliminate any ability to determine exact cause of death, Pennsylvania law requires that each cremation be authorized by the coroner or medical examiner of the county in which the death occurs, and that 24 hours passes from the time of death until cremation occurs.

It is essential that pacemakers and other medical devices be removed prior to cremation. They may explode when subjected to high temperature, which can be hazardous to crematorium staff and equipment. In addition, any special mementos, such as jewelry, will be destroyed during the cremation process. Anything you wish to keep should be removed by the funeral director before the casket or container is placed into the retort.

A complete cremation is a two-step process. Firstly, the actual exposure of the deceased to several hours of intense heat and flame; after which the remains are mostly bone fragments, then the entire remaining ash and fragment volume is gathered and run through a processor, creating a uniform powder-like texture.

Due to the irreversible nature of cremation, Pennsylvania and most other states require a waiting period before the actual process may begin. Refrigeration is the only alternative available, other than embalming, that will retard tissue decomposition. Refrigeration is a necessity that protects family and friends, the crematory operator and the general public from potential health hazards.

No. It is your choice. It may depend on such factors as whether the family selected a service with a public viewing of the body with an open casket, or to enhance the deceased's appearance for a private family viewing; if the body is going to be transported by air or rail, or because of the length of time prior to the cremation.

No. For sanitary reasons, ease of placement and dignity, many cremations require that the deceased be cremated in a combustible, rigid container. This does not need to be a casket as such. What is required is a rigid, container made of wood or other combustible material to allow for the dignified handling of human remains. The type of casket or container selected is really a personal decision, Caskets and containers are available in a wide variety of materials ranging from simple cardboard containers to beautifully handcrafted oak, maple or cherry caskets.

Yes, cremation caskets are constructed with minimal metal components. There is a choice of very affordable cremation caskets that are completely combustible. The selection includes options from a plain cardboard container to a hardwood casket.

Yes, we offer a hardwood ceremonial casket for viewing or funeral services prior to cremation. The ceremonial (or rental) casket is specifically designed to provide a very aesthetically pleasing, affordable and environmentally prudent alternative to purchasing a casket for a cremation service.

Yes — although it would be advisable that you discuss this situation with your cremation provider prior to the cremation. The size of your urn will be of great importance if you plan to have your loved one's entire cremated body included in this container.

Arrangements can usually be made for relatives or representatives of the deceased to witness the cremation.

With cremation, your options are numerous. The cremated remains can be interred in a cemetery plot, i.e., earth burial, retained by a family member, usually in an urn, scattered on private property, or at a place that was significant to the deceased. (It would always be advisable to check for local regulations regarding scattering in a public place.) Cremation is just one step in the commemorative process-- the preparation of the human remains for memorialization. Today, there are many different types of memorial options from which to choose. Memorialization is a time-honored tradition that has been practiced for centuries. A memorial serves as a tribute to a life lived and provides a focal point for remembrance, as well as a record for future generations. The type of memorial you choose is a personal decision. The limit is set only by your imagination.

Yes, with permission of the owner.

You might choose ground burial of the urn. If so, you may usually choose a bronze memorial or granite monument. Also available at many cemeteries are cremation niches in columbariums. They offer a mausoleum setting with above ground placement of remains. Some cemeteries also offer scattering gardens. This area of a cemetery offers the peacefulness of a serene garden where family and friends can come and reflect.

A columbarium, often located within a mausoleum or chapel, sometimes free-standing, either indoor or outdoor, is constructed of numerous small compartments (niches) designed to hold urns containing cremated remains.

As long as it is permitted by local regulations, your cremated remains can be scattered in a place that is meaningful to you. This can, however, present difficulties for your survivors. Some people may find it hard to simply pour the mortal remains of a loved one out onto the ground or into the sea. If you wish to be scattered somewhere, it is therefore important to discuss your wishes ahead of time with the person or persons who will actually have to do the scattering. Another difficulty with scattering can occur when the remains are disposed of in an anonymous, unmarked or public place. Access to the area may be restricted for some reason in the future, undeveloped land may be developed, or any of a host of other conditions may arise that could make it difficult for your survivors to visit the site to remember you. Even if your cremated remains are scattered in your backyard, what happens if your survivors relocate sometime in the future? Once scattered, cremated remains cannot easily be collected back up. Having your remains placed, interred or scattered on a cemetery's grounds ensures that future generations will have a place to go to remember. If remains are scattered somewhere outside the cemetery, many cemeteries will allow you to place a memorial of some type on the cemetery grounds, so survivors have a place to visit that will always be maintained and preserved.

Because it provides a focal point for memorializing the deceased. To remember, and be remembered, are natural human needs. Throughout human history, memorialization of the dead has been a key component of almost every culture. The Washington Monument, Tomb of the Unknowns and Vietnam "Wall" in Washington, D.C are examples of memorialization which demonstrate that, throughout our history, we have always honored our dead. Psychologists say that remembrance practices, from the funeral or memorial service to permanent memorialization, serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping to bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin. Providing a permanent resting place for the deceased is a dignified treatment for a loved one's mortal remains, which fulfills the natural human desire for memorialization.

Yes — Depending upon the cemetery's policy, you may be able to save a grave space by having the cremated remains buried on top of your casketed spouse, or utilize the space provided next to him/her. Many cemeteries allow for multiple cremated remains to be interred in a single grave space.

Yes. The remains are normally placed in an urn. Most families select an urn that is suitable for placement on a mantle or shelf. Urns are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials.

Some religions prefer cremation; some do not recommend the practice; most permit you to choose.

A funeral always involves the presence and final disposition of a dead human body as part of the practical and ceremonial obligation. A memorial service is any service that commemorates a death but does not involve the presence or disposition of the dead.

All through history humans have looked for efficient, proper and honorable ways to dispose of their dead and to memorialize them. Burial was and remains the most often used method of disposition. But more and more families, in the last fifty years, have chosen cremation for a variety of reasons. About one in three deaths now ends in cremation in America. As a culture, we are more mobile, less "grounded" than earlier generations and cremation suits this cultural change. A century ago, people were born, lived, and died in the same community. It made sense in such places to bury the dead. Now that is not so much the rule. Our sense of "home" changes many times in a lifetime. So like living, which has become more transient and portable, cremation makes the dead more transient and portable. Cremation may cost less than earth burial -- though the difference is most often in the hundreds, not the thousands of dollars -- because crematory fees are most often less than grave opening charges. Still, when the cost of urns, niches, or cemetery space for the ashes is added, the cost differences may be very little. Too often we mistake cremation as an alternative to a funeral rather than as an alternative to burial. Unlike cultures where cremation has been practiced widely and well, cremation in our culture has too often been seen as a way to get rid of the dead and avoid any bother or expense associated with the death. In some places cremation is highly ritualized, done with ceremony and symbol and has profound meaning for the living. It is seen as "cleansing," "release," or "reuniting with creation." But in western thought, our ideas about fire are often negative -- it is seen as wasteful or punitive -- and so too often it is at odds with our cultural conditioning. But the value of a funeral does not proceed from what we spend or from what we save. It comes from what we do about the fact that someone we love has died. Both burial and cremation can have positive meanings for a family. The question is not so much "what is done" but "by whom and for what reasons." As with all other important decisions, open discussion and careful consideration help to make for good decisions.

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