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Flashcards in NFDA Cremation 4 Deck (70):

Funeral home needs to ensure that the right body is being removed.

  • paperwork signed at place of death when making a removal.
  • Residence- NOK should make identification in writing
  • Institution- representative of facility or medical examiner should make identification
  • Removal crew takes the person directly to funeral home- preparation room/cooler

Removal from Place of Death


Responsible for maintaining proper identificatino of the remains delivered for cremation and throughout the entire cremation process.

  • Never accept decased without label indicating name of the deceased and the name and location of the funeral establishment, placed on the exterior of the container



  • Require special authorization forms to legally establish the identity of the deceased
    • Electronic means
    • Photograph
  • Deceased is not viewable- must rely on coroner or another official to provide means of identification
  • In any case, proper legal form should be used

Unique Circumstances


  • Funeral home held liable if it does not require identification and the wrong body is cremated
  • Deceased is bathed, dressed in hospital gown or other suitable clothing, covered with a sheet or comforter and placed in container selected
  • Funeral home should set specific limits- may want to offer private family viewing for multiple families that want to view
  • Funeral homes may charge

Identification Viewings


  • Crematory is not a holding facility- may not be able to show up unannounced with decedent
  • No refrigeration at crematory- funeral homes must be informed. May need to hold a decedent for several hours before cremation process. (should not be more than 3 hours)

Holding the Remains


  1. Prior to taking custody by removing decedent from removal vehicle, crematory must make certain that all authorization paperwork is in order and the container is suitable for cremation.
  2. Establish identification in the presence of the representative who delivered the decedent.
  3. If opening of the casket/container is permitted, verify the decedent's identity by chekcing the name on the body and comparing it with the name in the paperwork, leaving all idnetification disks or bracelets in place. If opening is not permitted, identification is checked by paperwork. Make sure decedent's name is on the outside of the cremation container.

Due Diligence Prior to Taking Custody


  • State, local, medical, and civil authorizations as required are missing or incomplete.
  • Container is unacceptable for cremation.
  • The weight of the decedent is in excess of hte cremator capacity.

Crematory has the Right to Refuse Custody:


  • Funeral providers may not represent that a deceased person is required to be embalmed for direct cremation (or immediate burial or a closed casket funeral without viewing or visitation when refrigeration is available and when state and local law does not require embalming).
  • It is a "deceptive act or practice" to represent that state or local law requires a casket for direct cremations or to represent that a casket is required for direct cremations.

Misrepresenations- Direct Cremations


  • Unfair or deceptive acts or practices
  • Preventive requirement

Casket for Cremation Provisions


In selling or offering to sell funeral goods or funeral services to the public, it is an unfair and deceptive act or practice for a funeral provider, or a crematory, to require that a casket be purchased for direct cremation.

Unfair and Deceptive Acts or Practices


To prevent this unfair or deceptive act or practice, funeral providers must make an alternative container available for direct cremations, if they arrange direct cremations.

Preventive Requirement


Caskets specially constructed to allow the insertion of a cardboard or fiberboard inner container to hold the body.

  • Usually made of wood 
  • Not covered by the FTC funeral rule, do not have to appear on GPL or CPL (most funeral homes do list them)
  • Disclosure- some funeral homes have families sign a disclosure stating the unit is rented

Rental Caskets (Ceremonial Caskets)


  • Must be composed of readily combustible materials suitable for cremation, be able to be closed for dignified, complete encasement of the human remains, be resistant to leakage or spillage, of sufficient strength and rigidity for easy handling, and provide protection for the health and safety of crematory establishment personnel and the public.
  • Metal caskets should not be accepted 
  • No funeral home or crematory can make or enforce rules that require human remains to be placed in a casket
  • Shipping contains (air trays) acceptable for use, particularly for decedents whose weight exceeds normal standards.
  • Some states do not allow lightweight pouches, heavy duty disaster pouches, fiberglass, plastic or syrofoam containers. Chlorinated plastics in the container may also not be allowed in some states.

Cremation Casket and Container Guidelines


  • Noncombustible casket or any other container that is not an alternative container
  • A container that is not labeled as required

A Crematory may Refuse to Accept:


  • Cremation casket- generally lined
  • Cremation container- not lined

Cremation Casket vs Cremation Container


  • Complete first- varnish, lacquer or other coating material may be higly flammable
  • Placed in cold cremator (no cremation having occurred in the prior 4 hours)
  • Coat the casket with water before placement

High Polished Caskets


  • Many have a varnish finish- highly flammable
  • Run as first cremations of the day since they pose the same amount of risk as a high polish casket.

Plain-Finished Wood Caskets


  • Sometimes used for large cases
  • Usually wood based
  • Plywood or corrugated base
  • Not immeditely driven off or consumed

Air Trays


Uses a paper-based material consisting of a fluted corrugated sheet and one or two flat linerboards.

  • Often cloth covered
  • Least problematic during cremation process
  • Driven off or consumed almost immediately
  • Be careful that the burn rate at the beginning of the cremation process is not occurring so rapidly that particulate emissions are released

Corrugated Cardboard/Fiberboard Containers


Manufactured from dry wood particles that have been sprayed with a binder resin, then bonded together with pressure and heat.

  • May take longer to cremate
  • Cremation of decedent likely finished before container is completely consumed
  • Vaneers may be added
  • Normal policies and safety procedures apply

Particleboard/Particlewood Containers


Odd number of thin layers of wood glued together under pressure, with the grain of one layer at right angles to the grain of the adjoining layers.

  • May be plan or stained
  • May be lined
  • Normal practices and procedures unless plywood container has a highly polished finish

Plywood Containers


  • First cremation of the day
  • May result in visible emissions from the stack during the first few minutes of the cremation cycle
  • Some suppliers offer "eco-frendly" green body bags that are engineered for cremation purposes.

Vinyl/Plastic Body Bags/Disaster Pouches


Recorded on all paperwork regarding the decedent.

  • Personal identification disk placed with the body entrusted into the crematory's care and must accompany the deceased throughout the time at the crematory.
  • often, disk is imprinted with identification number

Personal Identification Number


  • Placed in right hand corner of the chamber during the cremation
  • Paperwork outside, attached to door during process
  • When CR are packaged, should be secured with a lock strap on the outside of the plastic bag holding the remains.

Personal Identification Disk


  • Kentucky- no less than 48 hours
  • Illinois- 24 hours, unless deceased is infectious or religious requirement

Time Lapse Between Death and Cremation


  1. Name of decedent
  2. Crematory identification number
  3. Gender
  4. Date of birth
  5. Date of death
  6. Name of individual delivering decedent to crematory
  7. Name of employee receiving the decedent
  8. Date and time of cremation
  9. Name and address of authorizing agent
  10. Name of individual who accepted the cremated remains; date and time
  11. Name of individual who performed the cremation; date and time
  12. Name of individual who released the cremated remains; date and time
  13. Final disposition of cremated remains

Log Book


Upone recepit at the crematory of any dead human body that has been embalmed, the body is placed in teh crematory holding facility, where it is held until the cremation process commences.

Embalmed Human Remains


  • No crematory can refuse these remains
  • Held by the crematory in its refrigerated holding facility, if it has one, or in compliance with applicable public health laws (40 degrees F)

Unembalmed Human Remains


A cremator can safely process pathological waste, such as organs, limbs, and other organic material, as long as the recommended weight limit of the unit is not exceeded.

  • Plastic bottles, syringes, etc must be removed. Crematory policies and state regulations vary.

Pathological Waste


  • Signage required by OSHA
  • Adequate provision must be made for the storage, laundering/cleaning, repair, and replacement of all protective clothing and equipment. many PPE are disposable
  • May want to consider ear protection (even when new equipment minimizes noise)

Operator Protection and Attire During Operations


  • Heat resistant gloves and aprons
  • Protective face shields
  • Back support
  • Eye protection 
  • Dust protection
  • Gloves
  • Heat reflective apparel
  • Heat resistant apparel
  • Hearing protection
  • Shoe covers

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)


Aprons/Jackets that insulate and protect up to 1000 degrees F, used during successive cremations

Heat Reflective Apparel


Routinely used; provides protection from high temperatures through coverage that is resistant to heat and sparks

Heat Resistant Apparel


  • Weight of the container/casket and the decedent
  • Potentially hazardous objects

Pre-Cremation Assessment of Human Remains


  • Determined prior to start of cremation
  • Not all crematories/cremators have scales 
  • Funeral home or hospital may be able to provide the information
  • Particularly with a large case, it is imperative to make effort to obtain or estimate weight
  • If there is a question about the weight of the container, the container manufacturer should be able to provide this information
  • When in doubt, it is best to delay the cremation until complete information is obtained

Weight of the Container/Casket and the Decedent


  • Medical devices removed prior to bringing decedent to crematory
  • Lithium-ion batteries- may cause violent combustion or explosions that will damage cremation equipment, brickwork, electronic sensors, and door seals- and also possible injure operator or anyone in the area.
  • No crematory operator who is not a licensed embalmer should not remove devices without written authorization

Potentially Hazardous Objects


  • Brachytherapy treatment
  • Most often used for prostate cancer
  • Hold cremation until determined if the seed is inactive
  • Implanted within 12 months- do not cremate, if cremation occurs:
    • universal precautions
    • Prohibit pulverizing
    • if CR are not to be buried, require that they are to be stored for at least 2 years from teh date of implantation in a metal urn
  • Imperative for funeral director to obtain facts concerning implant- no cremation without information

Radioactive Seeds


  • Written authorization to remove: dental gold or jewelry, body prostheses, dental bridgework, bod parts, organs or other items prior to or subsequent to a cremation.
  • Must be lawfully disposed of unless alternative disposition is agreed to in authorization
  • Under no circumstances should a crematory profit from removing or assisting in removal or valuables.
  • If any objects are to be removed from the container, the crematory must obtain signed authorization from authorizing agent prior to cremation- never by telephone, must be signed and specific and the disposition of any objects must be verified.

Other Objects- Jewelry, Mementos


Not permitted in certain states.

  • If allowed- written authorization and state regulations
  • Assessment should be made about the impact on equipment capacity and compliance with applicable state laws.

Simultaneous Cremations


  • Cremator blower started
  • ignition of secondary burner/afterburner
  • loading
  • Repositioning remains during cremation process
  • Monitoring operations during cremation process
  • Completion of cremation process
  • cool down
  • removing the cremated remains
  • clean out

Operation Sequence under Normal Conditions


  • Check the time of any control timer, adjusting as necessary to match the case
  • Check that the primary chamber is clean and empty
  • Check that the hopper or sweep-out tray is cleaned out and in proper position
  • If the first case of the day is one that requires the cremator to be completely cool (obese, highly-varnished casket), the operator must ensure that sufficient cooling time (10-12hrs) has passed

Before the First Cremation of the Day


This beings the purge cycle- a safety step that must occur before teh secondary chamber afterburner can be ignited.

  • Air in primary and secondary chambers is exchanged with outside air as the unit's air solenoid valves open the vent system.
  • Purging occurs to ensure that all chambers are pressurized with air and contain no flammable substances, as protection against explosion.
  • May involve multiple air changes to ensure safety
  • Burners cannot be ignited
  • When cycle is complete, an indicator light is illuminated

Cremator Blower Started


  • Practice of some crematories to have case paced into the retort chamber and then preheat the chamber
  • Some wait for temperature to be reached, then place the case in the retort.
  • Sequence procedure and temperature "set point" requirements will vary by air quality protection regulations.
  • Secondary chamber monitored by controlled that adjusts the burner gas output to maintain the desired temperature set point once temp reached
  • Preheating to correct the temperature range accelerates the process to properly combust gases from the primary chamber where the container is placed.
  • Not until the secondary chamber reaches the prescribed temperature can the main burner in the primary chamber be ignited to begin the cremation.-prevents visible emissions
  • When preheat cycle is complete- light goes off
  • Some states (WV) regulate the preheat set point in the secondary chamber to a degree range that must be met in a specified amount of time.

Ignition of Secondary Burner/Afterburner


  • Church truck, cart, hydraulic lift table, or other means is used to convey case to primary chamber
  • Charge door is fully opened- foot end pushed in first, resting on heavy duty cardboard rollers (should be used at all times) metal rollers can excessively wear and shorten floor life of cremation chamber
  • The case is placed on the chamber floor at a distance from the opening per manufacturer instructions, and the door is shut.
  • Start button is engaged, burner will ignite, air solenoid valves will open, main burner in the primary chamber begins to time down
  • All substances are incinerated or vaporized except for bone fragments and non-combustible materials



May be different (such as for a large case). Depending on the maximum insertion dimensions of the unit. 

Loading Special Cases


The skeletal framework is reduced to bone fragments and particles of bone fragments, which are known as this.

Cremated Remains


  • May be necessary at least once
  • Do not open the loading door of the retort during the first hour of the cremation process
  • After one hour, raise the door a maximum of six inches and position the decedent near the flame.
  • Do not raise the door half way or all the way
  • use proper PPE
  • Some states do not allow this (check laws)

Repositioning Remains During the Cremation Process


Confirms relability of the operation.

  • Temperature
  • Oxygen
  • Emissions

Monitoring Operations During the Cremation Process


  • Afterburner, primary chamber, flue gas as measured in the stack
  • Secondary burner is monitored to ensure it is sufficient for the complete combustion of products of incomplete combustion (particlate matter, CO, volatile organic compounds.
  • Burners must be checked visually at least once each operation shift and adjusted if necessary
  • Check that temperature readouts displayed on the panel agree with readings being recorded by teh chart recorder pen.- adjust recorder pen to align it with the temperature readout if necessary.



Monitored to maxamize air flow and to ensure correct oxygen percentages that will result in a faster cremation cycle and cleaner emissions.

  • Combustion chamber temperature readouts must all be compatible with gauge, display panel, chart recorders, etc. readings.



  • PM emissions must be controlled and monitored to ensure compliance wiht acceptable state pollution laws.
  • States require stack emissions must be checked and regulated to prevent visible emissions during cremation process.
  • Discharge velocity of the glue glasses muts also meet requirements (vary by state)
  • No opacity monitor-visual check, requires certified individuals
  • Opacity monitor gives the operator the ability to respond quickly to any possible issues.



  • Operator always aware of potential infectious hazards
  • Monitor general safety equipment
  • Workplace safety
  • Fire safety

Other Considerations


  • Periodic checks to determine when process is complete, usually complete when no flames present.
  • Either raise the door (no higher than 6 inches) or use a viewing port to check condition of the cremated remains.
  • Various sizes of bone fragments on chamber floor.
  • Occasionally cremation of decedent is complete, but container is still burning (needs more time)
  • Cremation times vary- equipment being used, weight and size of decedent remains, type of container holding remains
  • Anywhere from 60 minutes to 3 hours

Completion of Cremation Process


  • Periods vary by manufacturer
  • Generally best to allow the cremated remains to cool down before removal for an additional period of 30-40 minutes
  • During this time, both burners shut off while the main blower stays on for the approximately 30 minute cool down cycle.

Cool Down


  • Specialized rakes, brushes, and other tools, like a heat-resistant vacuum.
  • Every practical effort to remove all cremation residues
  • Remains (4-8lbs) swept toward and then into hopper (loading tray)
  • Operator separates all non-combustible matter from the bone fragments by visible and/or magnetic separation.
  • Wear a mask- ambient dust
  • Chamber floor disintegrates slightly- commingles with the cremated remains
  • Some bone fragments are not combustible at the incineration temperature and remain in chamber
  • Nearly all contents of cremation chamber- cremated remains, disintegrated chamber material, and reside from pervious cremations are removed together into the hopper or tray 
  • Refractory material is subject to abrasion- sweep remains to avoid abrading the floor

Removing Cremated Remains


Airborne particulate matter that may be present when removing or handling the remains.

 Ambient Dust


Any residue inside the cremation chamber may result in unavoidable commingling with other cremated remains from previous cremations since it is impossible to retrieve all residues and every skeletal fragment for processing.

  • Every reasonable effort must be made to be certain the chamber is swept out and as clean as possible.- still may remain

Clean Out


  • Allow cremated remains to cool before processing. Remove all ferrous metal with a magnet. Noferrous metal is removed by hand. Remove foreign objects that should not be processed.
  • Do not process any hot items (pieces of container or casket) that remain with CR. This leads to the CR turning a charcoal color.
  • Every practicable effort must be made to not combine the processed remains with other cremated or processed remains.
  • Make every effort to remove recoverable human residue that may be affixed to the non-human materials (screws, nails, staples, refractory brick)
  • Dispose of all non-human residues recovered from human remains in the proper non-recoverable manner.
  • Processing should be consistent each time. Should not be recognizable as skeletal fragments and should be milky white in color. Usually reduced to 200 cubic inches.
  • Operator must immediately report to the crematory manager/owner any instance of overage

Processing/Pulverization of Cremated Remains


Excess cremated remains that will not fit into the temporary container or the urn provided by the family.



Recover dust when transferring human cremated remains into the processor and when packaging.

  • Some have filtering systems- may be ventless, without any need for ourside venting through the wall, ceiling or another opening.

Processor Stations


  • Many new processors automatically fill containers. After pulverization, all of the processed human remains are paced in a sturdy plastic pag fastened with a lock strap that secures the identification disk or tag.
  • Plastic bag containing remains is placed inside the urn or temporary container. Outside container clearly identified with decedents name, date of date, date of cremation, and cremation identification number.
  • Extra space may be filled with clean packing material that will not combine with cremated or processed remains. Lid/top closed securely
  • Any overage must be placed in a separate, additional container to be returned to agent. Should be attached to the first container or urn, with labeling indicating that the containers belong together.

Transferring/Packing Cremated Remains


Must be stored in a secure location that is inaccessible to unauthorized individuals until the time they are picked up or delivered.

Temporary Storage of Packaged Cremation Remains


  • Under no circumstances do remains go to anyone other than the family member or agent named on the written cremation authorization and disposition form.
  • No exceptions to the policy
  • Ask for identification (recommended) and document in writing that this has been done.

Delivery of Remains/Pick-up


Cooldown period serves 2 purposes:

  1. Preparation for placement of the casket/container for the next cremation
    • if the floor is still hot- placing the casket/container too soon may cause it to ignite due to ambient heat
  2. Avoid producing smoke emissions from the next container igniting too quickly.

Cooldown period serves 2 purposes:


Normally can be made without additional heat from the burner since sufficient heat is stored in the refractory to ignite the successive container.

  • No need to add direct flame to next cremation

Successive Cremations


  • Periodically removed and interred in a dedicated cemetery property or other appropriate area (per state law and ordinances)
  • Should not be combined with other cremated or processed cremated remains

Disposition of Accumulated Residue of Cremated Remains


  • Set expectations of amount of cremains returned
  • Lack of skeletal formation- very little or no cemated remains left
  • Start with warm retort- after 2 to 3 cremations have been performed
  • Use small size stainless steel pan placed near but not directly under the flame in front of retort
  • If no pan used- place refractory bricks across the floor to build a wall between the burner and the back of the retort (force of blower would make recovery impossible otherwise)
  • Allow pan to cool after cremation
  • Stay in the area at all times during cremation

Infant and Stillborn Infant Cases


  • Cases over 300lbs
  • know manufacturer-specified weight limit, maximum insertion dimensions, other capabilities
  • Compliance with state-mandated test methods
  • Factor the combined weight of the decedent and weight of the container as total weight of case
  • Remain close to the equipment and in control at all times during the cremation process to ensure that the temperature does not rise to an uncontrollable level.

Large Cases


Range of weight greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height according to the US CDCP.



  • First cremation of the day- if in a hot retort visible emissions and fizard hazard could occur
  • Retort should have been cooled downf or a period of 12 hours
  • Make sure there is enough surrounding clearince to load- some manufacturers recommend head first.
  • Use as many rollers as needed
  • Once primary burner is turned on, observe ignition of container/casket by raising door 4-6 inches. when container is ignited, cremation burner is turned off, aferburner remains on
  • Loading door should not be opened for at least one hour after the start of the process
  • The heat generated during the process will take care of cremating the decedent. Body fat has a BTU vaue of approximately 17
  • If during the first 10-15 minutes there is a rapid reduction of temperature, burner needs to be turned back on.
  • If there is a rapid increase in temperature it is best to turn off the afterburner

Proper Approach to Handling Large Cases