Following the funeral service, the coffin is moved to the crematorium. Once accepted by crematorium staff the coffin remains sealed throughout the cremation process.
Verification of deceased
Staff verify the identity of the deceased via the name plate on the coffin, ensuring the details match the ‘Application for Cremation’ (the document required by Health Regulations before a cremation can take place) and the two Medical Certificates or Coroner’s Cremation Permit received from the funeral director. In addition to confirmation of death the medical certificate indicates if battery powered devices (such as a pace-maker) have been removed.
Flowers remaining with the coffin at this stage are carefully disposed. Families should ask their funeral director during the arrangement process if they wish to retain flowers following the funeral service.
When will the cremation occur?
The cremation will generally be carried out on the same day as the funeral service but, in accordance with Health Department Regulations, can occur up to 48 hours later. If the cremation is not to occur immediately, the coffin is held in a refrigerated holding room.
Preparation for cremation
When cremation is due to occur:
The cremation process
Cremators generally comprise two chambers and a cooling tray (some cremators operate with three chambers and cooling tray). The coffin is cremated within the first chamber. In accordance with Health Department Regulations, coffins must be cremated separately, or in other words, only one coffin is ever placed inside the first cremation chamber at any one time.
At the completion of this initial phase of the cremation process the remains are relocated to the second chamber to remove any ash from the coffin itself. Once this has been completed the remnants of the deceased are placed into a cooling tray. When cooled, metallic contents (such as prostheses, coffin nails etc) are removed, collected and interred within the grounds of the crematorium.
Cremated remains or ashes
Cremated remains are commonly referred to as "ashes". However, technically there are no ashes, what are left are the fragile calcified bone fragments.
The cremated remains are transferred to a processor to reduce the bone fragments to a fine granule type consistency which in turn is placed in a sealed container. The name plate and an identifying label are attached.
The container accommodates all of the cremated remains. In the unusual event that an ash container is insufficient to hold all of the ashes, an extra container is used.
Ash containers are held until instructions are received from the family or applicant. . The ashes are then, subject to Health Regulations, dealt with according to the instruction given.
Should no instructions be received within a reasonable time (approximately 12 months), in line with Health Regulations, unclaimed cremated remains are interred within the grounds of the crematorium.