Cremation Policies, Procedures and Requirements
Semian Funeral Home follows the highest industry standards related to cremation. The following policies, procedures and requirements are meant to 1) comply with State Law, 2) insure the confidence of the families we serve, 3) protect funeral home and crematory staff, and 4) eliminate any doubt as to the cremation process, including the full consent of legal next of kin, the identity of the person being cremated, and the proper disposition or return to next of kin of the cremated remains.
Requirements For Cremation
Cremation will take place only after all the following conditions have been met.
- The decedent's remains have been identified by the next of kin or an authorized representative of the next of kin.
- All necessary authorizations have been obtained from the next of kin, and no objections have been raised.
- A minimum of 24 hours have transpired since the death occurred. (PA State Law)
- Civil and medical authorities have issued all required signed documents such as PA Burial/Cremation Permit, PA Commonwealth Certificate of Death, releases, authorizations including Lackawanna County Coroners Authorization.
- Removal of medical devices as required by crematory.
The Cremation Process
All cremations are performed individually.
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. Using suitable fuel, incineration of the container and contents is accomplished and all substances are consumed or driven off, except bone fragments (calcium compounds) and metal (including dental gold and silver and other nonhuman materials) as the temperature is not sufficient to consume them.
Due to the nature of the cremation process any personal possessions or valuable materials, such as dental gold or jewelry (as well as any body prosthesis or dental bridgework), that are left with the decedent and not removed from the casket or container prior to cremation will be destroyed or if not destroyed, will be disposed of by the crematory. As the casket or container will not normally be opened by the crematory (to remove valuables, to allow for a final viewing or for any other reason), arrangements must be made with the funeral home to remove any such possessions or valuables prior to the time that the decedent is transferred to the crematory.
Following a cooling period, the cremated remains, which will normally weigh several pounds in the case of an average size adult, are then swept from the cremation chamber. Crematories make a reasonable effort to remove all of the cremated remains from the cremation chamber, but it is impossible to remove all of them, as some dust and other residue from the process are always left behind. In addition, while every effort will be made to avoid commingling, inadvertent or incidental commingling of minute particles of cremated remains from the residue of previous cremations is a possibility.
After the cremated remains are removed from the cremation chamber, all non-combustible materials (insofar as possible), such as bridgework, and materials from the casket or container, such as hinges, latches, nails, etc., will be separated and removed from the human bone fragments by visible or magnetic selection and will be disposed of by the Crematory with similar materials from other cremations in a non-recoverable manner.
When cremated remains are removed from the cremation chamber, the skeletal remains often contain recognizable bone fragments. Unless otherwise specified, after the bone fragments have been separated from the other material, they will then be mechanically processed (pulverized). This process of crushing or grinding may cause incidental commingling of the remains with the residue from the processing of previously cremated remains. These granulated particles of unidentifiable dimensions will be virtually unrecognizable as human remains.
Most crematories require either a casket or an alternate (cremation) container for cremation. All caskets and alternate containers must meet the following standards: 1) be composed of materials suitable for cremation; 2) be able to be closed to provide a complete covering for the human remains; 3) be resistant to leakage or spillage; 4) be sufficient for handling ease; and 5) be able to provide protection for the health and safety of funeral home and crematory personnel.
Pacemakers, Prosthesis & Radioactive Implants
Pacemakers and prosthesis, as well as any other mechanical or radioactive devices or implants in the decedent, may create a hazardous condition when placed in the cremation chamber. It is imperative that pacemakers and radioactive devices be removed prior to cremation. If the funeral home is not notified about such devices and implants, and not instructed to remove them, then the person(s) authorizing the cremation will be responsible for any damages caused to crematory equipment or personnel by such devices or implants.
Choice of Crematory
The cremation will take place at a crematory chosen by the next of kin. Semian Funeral Home may advise next of kin of a preferred provider based on our experience. The procedures of our preferred provider are separate from this document, but may be attached. The crematory is an outside provider independent of the funeral home.
After the cremated remains have been processed, they will be placed in the designated urn or container. The crematory will make a reasonable effort to put all of the cremated remains in the urn or container, with the exception of dust or other residue that may remain on the processing equipment. In the event the urn or container provided is insufficient to accommodate all of the cremated remains, the excess will be placed in a separate receptacle. The separate receptacle will be kept with the primary receptacle and handled according to the disposition instructions on the Cremation Authorization Form. Semian Funeral Home require that all cremated remains be in a minimum cremation urn suitable for handling and further disposition. In the case of an adult, it is recommended that the urn or container be a minimum size of 200 cubic inches. If such an urn or container is not provided for the cremated remains, then Semian Funeral Home will place the cremated remains in the minimum container designed for shipping or temporary storage.
Cremation is NOT final disposition. The cremation process simply reduces the decedent's body to cremated remains. These cremated remains usually weigh several pounds and usually measure in excess of 150 cubic inches. Provision must be made for the final disposition of these cremated remains. Therefore, Semian Funeral Home strongly suggests that arrangements for disposition be made at the time that the cremation arrangements are made and that the Cremation Authorization Form is completed.