FAQ – Cremation
What is cremation?
Cremation is simply the process of reducing the human body to bone particles and ash through the application of direct flame and intense heat.
Are there laws governing cremation?
Cremation laws vary from state to state. We can provide you with current Georgia or other state information, please let us know and we will gladly do so.
Is embalming required?
No, absolutely not. It is against the law for you to be told otherwise. We DO require embalming ONLY if you elect to have a public ceremony/viewing with an open casket.
Can the body be viewed without embalming?
Yes, for identification purposes a family member will view the deceased. Also, immediate family members may choose to briefly view the deceased prior to cremation in a private viewing room. The deceased is first washed, dressed and prepared for viewing. However, under certain circumstances embalming MAY be required, such as a public
Can a family witness the cremation?
Absolutely, yes. We own and operate our own crematory here on site at McCullough. We offer a comfortable room from which to view the entire process and we encourage you to exercise this option should you wish to do so. Some religious customs actually involve the family or friends being a part of the process, and we often accommodate these requests. visitation/viewing with open casket.
Can I have a service with cremation?
Certainly, and the majority of people do choose some type of service - if only a small private family farewell. For those desiring cremation, you actually have more options and flexibility when it comes to service offerings. Everything is available from a traditional ceremony followed by cremation and then burial to a memorial service after the cremation has occurred. Furthermore, since we are not restricted by the operating hours of the cemetery, you have the flexibility to schedule your ceremonies for day or evening.
Is a casket needed for cremation?
No, all that is required by law is a rigid container which is cremated with the body. However, there are a variety of cremation containers and caskets that are very economical and manufactured specifically for cremation. If preferred, we also have traditional burial caskets that you can rent for ceremonial purposes. These rental caskets have removable interiors that take the place of the rigid container and will be cremated with the body. A new interior insert is used each time. Please speak with a member of our staff for further details.
How long does the cremation process take?
This will vary based depends on the weight/size of the individual and the type of cremation container or cremation casket. On average, the actual cremation process takes 2 to 3 hours at temperatures ranging between 1600 to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
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.
What happens following the cremation process?
Following the actual cremation, all organic bone particles, as well as other non-consumed materials are retrieved from the cremation equipment by "sweeping" them into the front of the cremation chamber where they drop into a stainless steel collection pan for cooling. Once cooled, all metal materials, including metal casket parts, hip joints, & bridgework, are removed by both visual inspection and use of a strong magnet. The remaining bone particles and ash are then reduced using a processing machine into a small, consistent size and placed in the selected container, urn, or keepsake items.
What do the cremated remains look like?
Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light gray in color. The remains of an average size adult usually weigh between four to eight pounds. Except for some minuscule/microscopic particles which cannot practically be removed from the cremation equipment, all cremated remains are placed in the selected containers.
How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?
We are members of and adhere to the strictest CANA guidelines involving operating policies and procedures in order to maximize our level of quality and minimize any potential for human error. Positive identification of the deceased is assured throughout each stage of the cremation process. Our crematory operators are licensed and certified professionals and we offer many options for your complete peace of mind such as the ability to view the procedure from start to finish.
In what kind of container are the cremated remains returned?
The cremated remains will be placed in a temporary cardboard/plastic cremation container unless something different has been selected. Other options are widely varied, and range from traditional style metal, stone, ceramic or wooden urns to small miniature keepsake items to cremation jewelry that actually holds tiny portions of the ashes. It all depends on family selection/preference.
Do I need an urn?
No, it is not a necessity. An urn is not required by law or regulation. 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 or kept at home. If an urn is not selected, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary cardboard and plastic container.
What can be done with cremated remains once returned to the family?
There are many options. Remains are often buried in a cemetery lot or cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, or mausoleum niche, kept at home, or scattered on private property. Our staff will be happy to discuss these options with you and help you make any arrangements.
Can I be cremated if I am Catholic?
Prohibited prior to the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has permitted cremation as a means of disposition since the mid-1960's, though perhaps not the preferred method. The Savannah Diocese can provide you with more guidelines, or we will be glad to request a copy of the Diocese's guidelines for cremation on your behalf.