Cremation Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is cremation?
A. To begin with, it is probably easier to describe what cremation isn't. Cremation is not final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service. Rather, it is a process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame.
Q. How long does the actual cremation take?
A. It depends on the weight of the individual. For an average size adult, cremation takes from two to three hours at normal operating temperature between 1,500 degrees F to 2,000 degrees F.
Q. What happens after the cremation is complete?
A. All organic bone fragments, which are very brittle, as well as non-consumed metal items are "swept" into a stainless steel cooling pan. All non-consumed items, like metal from clothing, hip joints, are separated from the cremated remains. This separation is accomplished through visual inspection as well as using a strong magnet for smaller and minute metallic objects. Remaining bone fragments are then processed in a machine to a consistent size and placed into a permanent urn.
Q. What do the cremated remains look like?
A. Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average size adult usually weigh between four to eight pounds.
Q. In what kind of container are the cremated remains returned?
A. The cremated remains are returned in whichever urn the family selects (additional fees apply). We have a large selection of permanent urns available that you may choose from.
Q. Are all the cremated remains returned?
A. With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
Q. What can be done with the cremated remains?
A. There are many options. Remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered on private property.
Q. Do people choose cremation only to save money?
A. While some people select cremation for economy, many choose this option for other reasons. The simplicity and dignity of cremation, environmental concerns, and the flexibility cremation affords in ceremony planning and final disposition all add to its increasing popularity.
Q. Don't most funeral homes have a crematory?
A. Most funeral homes subcontract this delicate procedure out to a third party provider in another location where the funeral home has little or no control over the crematory's operating procedures. Often, the family incurs additional transportation expenses and needless delay. By contrast, we operate our own crematories by our fully certified and highly trained staff. Our crematory equipment is state-of-the-art and meets or exceeds every state and local operating requirement. Our crematories are open for inspection any time during normal business hours.
Q. Are there any special benefits for veterans?
A. Benefits may be available for veterans’ families who pass away in a VA hospital, or a VA contracted health care facility. Once our financial requirements are satisfied, we file for the VA reimbursement to be sent directly to the entitled family member. We obtain the government provided flag for the next of kin and make arrangements for the cremated remains to be interred in a National Cemetery. The cemetery provides the grave, cost to open and close the grave, and the head stone. If the Veteran is not interred in a National Cemetery, they are still entitled to Military Honors, which may take place at another cemetery or place of service. If they bury the cremated remains in a non-military cemetery the government head stone is still available.
Q. Is there any assistance for families on welfare?
A. If the deceased is on Public Aid, we will be happy to help the family in filing an application for a claim with the Kootenai County Assistance Office. The Board of Commissioners makes the final decision as to the eligibility of the deceased. If approved, the funeral home will be reimbursed by the county for their cremation services.