Why are so many people choosing cremation today?
It's appealing because it's simple, affordable, and ecologically sensitive. In addition, cremation provides you with a greater variety of choices.
How can I tell if I am getting a reputable firm to handle the cremation?
Ask about the qualifications of the entire staff and about any hidden costs. Ask about the ownership of the crematory. Also, ask about the procedures in place for ensuring correct identification.
Do all religions accept cremation?
Most religions permit you to choose cremation, including the Catholic Church. It is our understanding that some religions actually prefer cremation. If you have any questions, please consult your religious advisor.
How soon after death can cremation take place?
First, all of the necessary forms must be completed including the "Cremation Authorization". During this document-processing period, the deceased will be sheltered in a climate-controlled environment. Some provinces have specific minimum time limits that must elapse before the cremation. We can assure you that all provincial and local rules and regulations will be followed accordingly.
Is a casket required?
No. However, the deceased is cremated in a combustible, rigid, covered container to allow for dignified handling.
Is embalming necessary for cremation?
No. If the body is going to be transported by air or rail, embalming may be necessary. Also, if you select a service with a public viewing or a private family viewing with an open casket, then embalming could be required.
Is there any special preparation required prior to cremation?
Any special mementos, such as jewelry, will be destroyed during the cremation process. Anything you wish to keep should be removed before the deceased is transferred into our care. Other metals, such as prostheses, are removed after the cremation is complete and discarded in an irrecoverable manner. It is essential that pacemakers and other medical devices be removed prior to cremation. It's also important to notify your provider of such a device, as the device may rupture when subjected to high temperature, which can be hazardous to crematory staff and equipment.
What are the steps in the cremation process?
The container holding the body is placed in the cremation chamber, where the temperature is raised to approximately 1600 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. After approximately 2 to 2.5 hours, all organic matter is consumed by heat or evaporation. The residue remaining is bone fragments (more commonly referred to as ashes), which are then carefully removed from the cremation chamber. Any ferrous metal is separated by a magnet and later disposed of in an irrecoverable manner. The ashes are then processed into fine particles and placed in a temporary container provided by the crematory.
How can my family be sure the ashes they receive are mine?
First Memorial Funeral Services crematoria have a carefully controlled labelling system to ensure correct identification throughout the cremation process. When a member of our staff arrives to bring the person into our care, an initial identification band is attached around the ankle of the deceased. Included on the band are the deceased's name, the location name, and any additional information required by law. A second identification band is also attached upon completion of vital information and cremation authorization.
Then, a numbered metal disc is assigned and placed with the body. The metal disc will accompany the body throughout the cremation process and stay with the ashes as they are placed in the temporary container.
Is it possible for my loved ones to witness the cremation process?
Yes, it is possible to witness the placement of the cremation container into the cremation chamber. We must be informed in advance so that a mutually-convenient time can be arranged. Additional charges may apply.
What if I want a memorial service?
A memorial service is really a "celebration of life" and it can take place with or without the ashes present. At First Memorial Funeral Services, we believe wholeheartedly that every life should be celebrated. Contact your nearest First Memorial Funeral Services office and the helpful staff will offer suggestions on personalizing a remembrance that is right for you.
Is having a place for family and friends to visit important?
Yes, for some it can be significant because it provides a focal point for remembering. Many choose to have their ashes placed in a cemetery or in a cremation garden for this very reason.
If I am cremated and my spouse chooses ground burial, can my ashes be placed in the same gravesite that my spouse has?
It really depends on the cemetery's policy. You may be able to have the ashes buried on top of the casket of your spouse or utilize the space provided next to him/her.
Some cemeteries allow for multiple containers of ashes to be interred in a single grave space for an additional charge.
Is scattering my ashes legal?
Always check local laws first. For example, laws do prohibit scattering on private property without the consent of the property owner. Check with national and provincial parks for their policies. In some instances, specific areas are recommended for their scenic and memorable settings. For those who choose scattering at sea, some
First Memorial Funeral Services locations will provide information and assistance. Please contact the appropriate office.
What if my family can't decide on one place for the ashes?
If you wish to leave it up to your family, some may choose to divide the ashes, scatter some and bury the rest, or give small amounts to various family members, or scatter portions in several different locations, thus allowing all family members to participate.
How can I make sure that my wishes will be honoured once I'm gone, especially if my family wants something different, like a ground burial?
Most family members and friends want to do the right thing. You can help tremendously by prearranging. This includes writing down your wishes and providing copies to family and closest friends. Please contact your nearest First Memorial Funeral Services location for more information on prearrangements. It's also important to have a "Will" stating your wishes and naming an "executor". We encourage you to contact your legal adviser for more information regarding a Will.
If I choose First Memorial Funeral Services, what happens upon my death? What does my family need to do?
When the death occurs, your family simply calls First Memorial Funeral Services at the nearest location, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will take it from there.
A representative will gather some information, including the deceased's date and place of birth, and other vital statistic information for the legal documents. We will then arrange the necessary paperwork and make preparations to transfer the deceased into our care. Typically, our representatives arrive in a plain vehicle. The body is taken to our nearest facility where it is cared for in a climate-controlled sheltering environment until the cremation takes place. Once the cremation is complete, the ashes will be placed in a temporary container and we will contact your family or legal representative. The container holding the ashes will be given to an authorized individual only.
What if I prearrange with First Memorial and then move?
That's fine. Your prearrangements will move with you. First Memorial Funeral Services has a growing network of offices to serve your needs. This transferability benefit is included in our cremation plan. If for any reason we can't perform our service, your money is safe and your designated beneficiary will receive it. There is no additional charge for this benefit.