The following are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about cremation. Please o What is Cremation? o How is a Cremation arranged? o Do I sign anything else at this stage? o Who gives permission for cremation to take Place? o Are there any religions that do not approve of cremation? o How can one be certain that all remains are kept separate, and receive the correct remains? o Is a casket/coffin required for a cremation to take place? o Can a cremation be witnessed by the family? o What options are available with the cremated remains? o What usually happens after the cremation is finished? o Can more than one cremation be performed at once? o How long does the cremation process normally last? o What do cremated remains look like? o Are urns required to collect the cremated remains? What is Cremation? Cremation is the process by which a body is exposed to extreme heat, usually 1800 - 2000 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more. Through this process the body is reduced to its basic elements, which are referred to as the "cremated body" or "cremated remains". Cremation occurs at a crematorium in a special kind of furnace called a cremation chamber or retort. It may surprise many to learn that ashes are not the final result since cremated remains have neither the appearance nor the chemical properties of ashes. They are, in fact, bone fragments. These fragments are further reduced in size through a mechanical process. After preparation, these elements are placed in a temporary container that is suitable for transport. Depending upon the size of the body, there are nomally three to nine pounds of fragments resulting. How is a Cremation arranged? As there are a number of legal formalities with which one must comply, it is wisest to let Martin’s arrange for the completion of the statutory forms for cremation. If you are the executor or the next of kin, or are authored by either to do so, you will be required to sign the statutory Application for Cremation before a Commissioner of Oaths, Martin’s will help you with this. Do I sign anything else at this stage? A. Apart from the agreement with Martin’s which you should sign confirming your wishes for the funeral service, you will be asked how you wish to dispose of the ashes. If you are undecided Martin’s will arrange storage for the ashes for up to one month, giving you time to make a decision. Who gives permission for cremation to take Place? A. Permission may only be given by a Medical Referee appointed by the crematorium authority. No cremation may take place without his/her authority. Before giving his/her authority, the Medical Referee must satisfy himself/herself that the deceased has been identified; that the primary cause of death has been established beyond doubt; and that the cremations not contrary to the written wishes of the deceased. He/She normally relies on the Application for Cremation, together with the Medical Declaration from the doctor who attended the deceased in the final illness, as well as a Confirmatory Medical Declaration from a second doctor, who confirms the findings of the first doctor relating to the cause of death. Should the Medical Referee decline to authorize cremation, a private autopsy will be necessary, if you still desire cremation. This can be performed by a qualified pathologist at our premises, and Martin’s can arrange this for you. We cannot overemphasize that it is in the interests of all concerned that the legal formalities be completed prior to the funeral taking place whether it be cremation or not. Are there any religions that do not approve of cremation? Orthodox Judaism and Islam forbid cremation. Today, all of the Christian denominations allow cremation. All other main religions are happy for their members to choose to be cremated. (The Catholic Church accepts cremation as long as it is not chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teachings.) How can one be certain that all remains are kept separate, and receive the correct remains? All responsible cremation providers have thorough operating policies and procedures in order to provide the highest level of service and reduce the possibility of human error. If you have questions, ask the cremation providers what procedures they use. Is a casket required for a cremation to take place and what happen to It? A casket is not required for a cremation to take place. All that is required is an alternative container. The construction can be made of wood or cardboard, which is cremated with the body. The body is creamated in the casket/coffin which was purchase by the Family. Can a cremation be witnessed by the family? Yes, in most situations, the cremation providers will permit family members to be in attendances when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. Actually, a few religious groups include this as part of their funeral practice. What options are available with the cremated remains? Some options include remains being buried in a cemetery lot or cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered into the sea. What usually happens after the cremation is finished? All organic bone fragments and all non-consumed metal items are placed into a stainless steel cooling pan located in the back of the cremation chamber. All non-consumed items, such as metal from clothing, hip joints, and bridgework, are divided from the cremated remains. This separation is accomplished through visual inspection as well as using a strong magnet for smaller and minute metallic objects. Items such as dental gold and silver are non-recoverable and are commingled in with the cremated remains. Remaining bone fragments are then processed in a machine to a consistent size and placed into a temporary or permanent urn, selected by the family. Can more than one cremation be performed at once? It is never done. Not only is it practical impossibility, but illegal to do so. The majority of modern cremation chambers are not of adequate size to house more than one adult. How long does the cremation process normally last? Approximately 90 to 120 minutes What do cremated remains look like? Cremated remains bear a resemblance to coarse sand and are pasty white in color. The remains of a normal size adult usually weigh between four to six pounds. Are urns required to collect the cremated remains? Law does not require an urn. Nevertheless, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased, or provided by the family, the cremated remains are usually returned in a temporary container. Home Carletonville Kempton Park