Explainer: Here is what you need to know about cremation

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Harish Patel looks on as a worker at Kariokor Hindu Crematorium opens the furnace. Many Hindus prefer traditional cremation with an open-air pyre, sacred ghee, black sesame seeds and eucalyptus logs. Photo April 25

Late Kenyan actor Charles Ouda will be cremated this week.

The family through a representative disclosed his burial plans 

Here is how cremation works:

Cremation according to dictionary Britanicca is a practice of reducing a corpse to its essential elements by burning.

The body is placed in a chamber where intense heat transforms it in an hour or two to a few pounds of white, powdery ash that is disposed of in accordance with law and sentiment.

According to Lincoln Heritage funeral Parlour, there are six steps 

Step 1. Identifying the Deceased

Identification involves a family member confirming the identity. Then a metal ID tag is placed on the body, which will remain throughout the process and then be put with the remains for final verification.

Step 2.  Authorizing the Procedure

The crematory must have official permission to move forward with the cremation. Most require that the person(s) making the final arrangements completes paperwork that authorizes the crematory to proceed.

Step 3. Preparing the Body

It usually involves cleaning and dressing. For typical cremation, the body is not embalmed unless the beneficiaries request this for a public viewing or other personal reason. Jewelry or other items are taken off for the loved ones to keep, except those requested to stay with the body, and medical devices and prosthetics that are mechanical or battery-operated are removed to avoid a reaction. Finally, the body is placed in a vessel that is combustible yet strong enough to hold the weight.

Step 4.  Moving into the Cremation Chamber

The cremation then takes place in a specially designed furnace, referred to as a cremation chamber or retort, and exposed to extreme temperatures – up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit – leaving behind only ashes. Following the procedure, a cooling period is required before the remains can be handled.

Step 5. Finalizing the Remains

After cremation, the remains are inspected for any metal remnants left behind. This can be the result of items such as pins, screws, and joints the deceased had surgically placed during life. Metal is removed by hand or with strong magnets, and then it is often sent for recycling. The cremated remains are then ground down by a special processor into the final resulting ashes.

Step 6.  Transferring the Ashes

Unless specified otherwise, the remains are placed in an urn (or another container) and returned to the family.

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Source : Mpasho Kenya

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