FAQ

Cremation Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the Cremation Process


What is cremation?
To begin with, it is probably easier to describe what cremation isn't. Cremation is not a 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.

How long does the actual cremation take?
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 ºF to 2,000 ºF.

What happens after the cremation is complete?
All organic bone fragments, which are very brittle, as well as non-consumed metal items are "swept" into the back of the cremation chamber and into a stainless steel cooling pan. All non-consumed items, like metal from clothing, hip joints, and bridge work, 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. 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.

What do the cremated remains look like?
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 of cremated remains.

In what kind of container are the cremated remains returned?
Virginia Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers regulations state "Cremated remains shall be placed in a plastic bag inside a rigid container provided by the crematory or by the next-of-kin..." Cremation Services of Virginia returns remains in a temporary plastic box but we offer a variety of affordable urns. The family may choose to provide their own container in which the cremated remains will be placed.

Are all the cremated remains returned?
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.

What can be done with the cremated remains?
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. Our staff will be happy to discuss these options with you and make any arrangements.

Concerns About Cremation


Are there any laws governing cremation?
Cremation regulations vary from state-to-state.

Can two cremations be performed at once?
Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.

Can the family witness the cremation?
Yes. Our state-of-the-art cremation facility is set up to allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom.

How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?
We have developed the most rigorous set of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize our level of quality and minimize the potential for human error. Positive identification of the deceased is assured throughout each stage of the cremation process. We only allow certified professionals to operate our cremation equipment.

Questions about Urns, Caskets & Embalming


Do I need an urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or the cremated remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not selected, the cremated remains will be placed in plastic bag and then placed in a temporary plastic box or container provided by the family.

Is a casket needed for cremation?
No, a casket is not required for cremation. Effective July 8, 2009, Virginia requires a cremation container which is able to be closed, rigid and resistant to leakage or spillage..

Is embalming required prior to cremation?
Absolutely not and it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.

Can the body be viewed without embalming?
Yes, you may select for immediate family members to briefly view the deceased prior to cremation at our cremation facility at an additional cost. The deceased is first washed, dressed and prepared for viewing. However, under certain circumstances additional alternative care may be required for autopsy remains, organ/tissue or bone donors.