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Crematorium Technician here

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kermitrulesok Thu 31-May-18 13:11:53

I see lots of threads about cremations and Crematoria. I'm currently a crem tech so please ask me questions and I will endeavor to answer them.

Chimchar Fri 01-Jun-18 08:57:57

Thank you Kermit.
It is really comforting to know that someone so lovely is looking after our loved ones behind the scenes.
You do a bloody brilliant job.

HateSummer Fri 01-Jun-18 09:04:24

Thanks, I always thought families weren’t allowed to be there. I know Hindus like to witness the initial process in traditional cremations in India so wondered how that would’ve worked in the uk.

Pebbles789 Fri 01-Jun-18 09:12:47

I haven't been totally sure whether I want to be buried or cremated when my time comes, mainly because I've never really thought about the whole process of cremation.
Thanks to your thread, and the learning about what actually happens , I'm now feeling more sure that cremation is the right thing for me.

Can I ask, do the Crem staff put a person's ashes into their 'final containers' (and if so, have you ever placed ashes into something unusual?) or are ashes put into the same containers and then sent to the Funeral Directors to be placed into containers of the persons/families wishes?

I hope that made sense!

ArcticMumkey Fri 01-Jun-18 09:27:50

Kermit This thread is fantastic thank you for your responses. After my miscarriage it brought me great comfort to know my baby was cremated and their ashes scattered and it's lovely to think of someone being as kind and respectful to them as you are.

Puzzledandpissedoff Fri 01-Jun-18 09:35:26

ILoveKermit can I just say an enormous thank you for this very valuable thread ... you too, @oohnarna for offering to do another from the "FD side"... it's one of the most worthwhile things I've seen on here for some time

My own question: I appreciate that in some cultures it's important for the deceased to be cremated very quickly, but I wondered how this works in light of the 2-3 week wait for slots which often build up (at least round here). Are some "blocks of time" somehow held back so that these wishes can be respected?

Firework1 Fri 01-Jun-18 10:05:02

There’s an excellent documentary on YouTube about cremation and what happens afterwards.

SnugglySnerd Fri 01-Jun-18 10:05:35

oohnarna that would be really interesting. Please could you link to your thread from this one so we can all find it? I think a lot of people have found reassurance from this thread and yours will be equally helpful.

ciderhouserules Fri 01-Jun-18 10:08:57

Thanks for all your clear answers, kermit.

I read somewhere once about a crematorium that 'recycled'the heat into heating the local swimming pool. it caused consternation in the local area with headlines like 'swimming with ashes' etc hmm

Does 'your' crem reuse its leftover heat?

(I went for a job recently for a Funeral Directors - it sounded really interesting and i was gutted when I didn't get it. The office had a 'cold store' in the back and I was asked at interview if I would be nervous working there alone! grin)

ParisUSM Fri 01-Jun-18 10:22:51

I want to have a direct cremation as I really can't stand funerals. I see today that the Co-op has started providing them which is great

catinboots9 Fri 01-Jun-18 10:38:24


How much info do you know about the people you are cremating?

Name? Age? How/why they died?

I have so much admiration for you thanks

Pupsiecola Fri 01-Jun-18 10:53:46

Thank you for this thread @ILoveKermit. I tell DH every few months to remember that I want to be cremated. My grandmother died when I was 7 and whilst I didn't go to the burial I had recurring full on nightmares for weeks and weeks afterwards about being buried alive. It's had quite a profound effect on me in that I cannot go underground (cellar, tunnels etc. (apart from the Channel tunnel weirdly)). Your thread has really resonated with me, and has helped me feel better about this topic.

SchadenfreudePersonified Fri 01-Jun-18 10:58:55

Marking to read later.

Geordiegirl1988 Fri 01-Jun-18 11:37:53

There is an excellent documentey on you tube called " gods waiting room" and it's about a Muslim funeral directors. It is very informative and shows how they wash and prepare the bodies and try to bury the deceased as quickly as possible due to their beliefs and faith. I highly recommend you watch it

Jenasaurus Fri 01-Jun-18 11:48:14

I have a titanium bar in my leg from my knee to my ankle, do you know if I get buried it will remain intact whereas if I get cremated it will get removed?

NotAnotherNoughtiesTune Fri 01-Jun-18 11:55:05

Was just wondering what metal the coffin is placed on as it's skipped in? As in, what material goes inside the cremator that doesn't melt at that high temperature?

OhMyGodTheyKilledKenny Fri 01-Jun-18 11:55:31

What an interesting, reassuring and lovely thread.

I have every admiration for you Kermit and anyone else who works in the "death industry". I think it's a certain person that finds its their calling IYSWIM.

There's a local female funeral director in my home town that is so highly regarded and respected by anyone who has dealt with her. It's so important to have people like her (and you Kermit) at such a difficult time for families.

sherrifffatman Fri 01-Jun-18 11:57:30

Thank you so much for this thread, I'm collecting my DPs ashes in a few days and this has been really helpful x

CookPassBabtridge Fri 01-Jun-18 12:11:48

Thankyou Kermit, it's been a great read. Half of me is so reassured and glad that the process in the UK is so clean and efficient, and half it leaves me feeling cold that its like that! I suppose part of me wants viking boat funeral pyres or burying loved ones in the ground in a shroud and wrapping leaves and flowers all over them grin More naturey burials/cremations that make us connect more with death. But just wouldn't be possible in this country!

Oogle Fri 01-Jun-18 12:19:46

This thread is wonderful, I really hope it can go into classics.

I'm quite an emotional, sappy person but I'd love to work for a funeral director or at the crematorium, I don't know why. I just like the idea of being able to offer comfort to those in sad times.

The funeral director who dealt with my Grandads funeral was wonderful. I saw my Grandad before my Nan and I noticed his hair was combed into the wrong style. I told the FD and he came in, and quietly spoke to my Grandad "Right now Sir, you need to be looking your best for your wife, let me sort your hair out, I'm so sorry I didn't get it right first time". I loved that, he was so respectful.

piefacedClique Fri 01-Jun-18 12:27:54

It’s good know it’s fine in a more dignified manner here. Thank you Kermit. I stumbled upon the American video posted upthread and found it very upsetting after an aunt died. I had so many questions and that video was very disturbing. I personally like the idea of a liquid cremation, mushroom suit or one of the tree pod burials. You are doing a great job Kermit.

SofieMonde Fri 01-Jun-18 12:35:22

Why would a relative want to keep one body part, a bit grim, and which body part would it be? Where would they keep it??

SofieMonde Fri 01-Jun-18 12:38:15

Has any relative ever requested to press the charge button on the cremator?

HoppingPavlova Fri 01-Jun-18 13:20:16

Brilliant thread.

Thank you so much for doing the job that you do and in such a dignified and respectful manner. The world needs more people like you flowers.

Zaphodsotherhead Fri 01-Jun-18 14:15:59

Having had my mum, dad and beloved dog cremated fairly recently, I am sobbing like a baby (but in a good way) at this thread. I don't even know why!

Thank you so much, OP.

catinboots9 Fri 01-Jun-18 14:42:40

@Zaphodsotherhead I'm so sorry for your losses thanksthanksthanks

makingmiracles Fri 01-Jun-18 14:44:34

Why does the smoke come out of the chimney black?

When I lost my best friend a couple of years ago, when we stepped outside the chapel bit, about 10mins later black smoke was coming out of the chimney, was quite horrible tbh

kateandme Fri 01-Jun-18 15:15:26

have you ever had anyone try to stop a relative being cremated.or break ins.
do you do animals?

Mibby16 Fri 01-Jun-18 15:45:58

Thank you ILoveKermit

Have requested this is moved to Classics smile

Firstdatesfear Fri 01-Jun-18 15:49:56

Wow, what a thread!

When my Grandma was cremated last year, we put the ashes of her dead cat in with her, it it’s little coffin as she was an ancient Egypt fan so it seemed a little fitting. They took them without a problem.

Zaphodsotherhead Fri 01-Jun-18 16:01:38

Thank you catinboots. I'm fine, really.

ChimpyChops Fri 01-Jun-18 16:38:42

What an interesting thread, thankyou Kermit. I work in end of life care and it fascinates me what happens after they leave us. The undertakers I have dealt with have always been very respectful when coming to collect a person, they speak to them with their proper names and so gently.

We have a chance to go and have a tour of a local funeral parlour and I am going to see if we can also set up a tour or certainly a talk at the local crematorium too.

UpstartCrow Fri 01-Jun-18 16:55:03

@ILoveKermit Your thread has been interesting and informative, thanks for posting.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 16:57:14

@Pebbles789 we put ashes in a suitable container to be either collected by family or funeral director. We can put them in an urn or casket if asked to.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 16:58:53

@Puzzledandpissedoff I've never known slots to be held and normally the religion that this applies to are buried anyway. I have known a grave to be dug on a Saturday ready for Sunday.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 16:59:53

@ciderhouserules we don't reuse heat but I've always thought it's a fabulous idea as the heat is wasted.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 17:02:07

@catinboots9 I know age/name/ashes instructions and date of death. That's all I need to know however I also work in the office so know cause of death.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 17:03:28

@Jenasaurus I believe you would be buried intact but after cremation yes it would be removed and either recycled or returned to your family.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 17:05:56

@SofieMonde we don't have a button as such but I have had someone ask if they could close the door but I couldn't let them unfortunately as it was too close to cremator.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 17:07:27

@makingmiracles chances are that wasn't the funeral that you had just been too but I'm very sorry you had to see that. Sometimes things are put into coffins that we don't see and we have to trust funeral directors.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 17:08:27

@kateandme yes we've had people try to break in but more for gardening tools. And no we don't do animals out cremator is for humans only.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 17:09:16

@ChimpyChops please do as you'll find it very interesting.

Pupsiecola Fri 01-Jun-18 17:10:37

@ciderhouserules is this the article?

Excitedforxmas Fri 01-Jun-18 17:36:31

When my baby died years ago I was told the baby might be put on top of another coffin for cremation - would this have been correct as no ashes were given back

Mimsy123 Fri 01-Jun-18 17:37:42

Is it true that if I people are late to a cremation, you can put the deceased on a low-light until everyone arrives?

NorksAreMessy Fri 01-Jun-18 17:39:49

Thank you kermit

Sadly we have lost an Aunty, MIL, FIL stepMIL and a family friend all in the last two years. Each of them was cremated, and although I was curious, there was never a right time to ask ‘so what happens now?’

Thank you for being so kind and respectful. You have made me a bit tearful.

Buxtonstill Fri 01-Jun-18 17:40:00

What an interesting thread. I hope it gets moved to classics. Thanks OP

HappenedForAReisling Fri 01-Jun-18 17:41:05

Do you have any thoughts about the alkaline hydrolysis 'water cremation'? Seems to take longer, and not used here because effluent not approved for going into sewers (yet). Personally, I'd rather go up the chimney than down the drain..........

I'm hoping that's available when I pop my clogs because that's my chosen method.

Icanttakemuchmore Fri 01-Jun-18 17:42:01

Hi. You said pins plates etc are removed from the ashes before they're cremated but they're not ashes until the cremation so do you actually cut the pins plates etc out of the body before cremation?

Topseyt Fri 01-Jun-18 17:45:32

Ican, I think she meant after cremation but before the bones go into the cremulator to be ground to ash.

I could be wrong.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 17:45:55

@Excitedforxmas I really hope not. Sometimes we can't get any ashes after a baby but we endeavor to.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 17:47:04

@Mimsy123 the coffin is put on a catafalque during the funeral so hasn't even gone into the crematory yet so no that's not right.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 17:48:11

@Icanttakemuchmore pins/plates/metal bits are removed after cremation but before cremulation.

ciderhouserules Fri 01-Jun-18 17:56:33

Pupsiecola yes I think that's probably the article. (I thik I prob read it on FB and the 'Swimming with Ashes' comment was on there) Gosh was it really 2013? It's a shame things haven't progressed further to using the heat from all cremators.

WorkingItOutAsIGo Fri 01-Jun-18 17:57:22

Thank you so much - I had such a wonderful experience with the Funeral Directors when we buried my DF but knew less about the crematorium side of things - in fact always found it a bit creepy and soulless. I know see I was wrong and am so touched and moved by your words. I hope you - or someone like you - works where we cremated my DF.

Nominating for classics too.

Elendon Fri 01-Jun-18 18:00:08

What's the cheapest way to get buried?

Is cremation adding to climate warming?

Am I better just getting burned without the coffin? I really don't mind if ashes are mingled. I'm not into purity.

Catrina1234 Fri 01-Jun-18 18:00:19

Sorry I haven't read the whole thread as don't have time now but will come back to it - very interesting. I don't want an expensive funeral as I think charges are excessive. I've looked into it and there are people operating a much cheaper system. I don't want a funeral - just my immediate family gathering later. I understand that the body can be handed over at the crem (by arrangement) but can't be a cardboard coffin. Is that right, something to do with the burning process? There are other papers you need aren't there - obviously death certificate, but anything else? I don't want any ashes, just driven in a car to the crem and handed over - is that possible. Thank you so much for this thread.

DesignStatement Fri 01-Jun-18 18:00:48

Do you not think it is such a waste when people have loved ones cremated wearing precious jewellery if it just ends up at the scrapyard?

LornaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 01-Jun-18 18:01:04

Hi all,

We've had an awful lot of classics nominations for this thread. It's wonderful how informative everyone is finding this.

We're moving this over to classics now for safekeeping.


Fadingmemory Fri 01-Jun-18 18:01:25


What an interesting thread! Thank you for your answers.

Elendon Fri 01-Jun-18 18:02:01

I don't understand people who visit graves. But that's just me.

Catrina1234 Fri 01-Jun-18 18:02:33

How do we find classics please?

tolerable Fri 01-Jun-18 18:06:13

ooooh..i waas reading this earlier today op..are you going to be funeral director or is that seperate?

DailyMailClickbait Fri 01-Jun-18 18:07:58

Really wonderful thread. So pleased this has been moved to Classics. I've learned so many new things from reading it.

Thank you for starting it OP and thank you to everyone who works so hard to look after the remains of people's friends and relatives at such a difficult time.

Thespringsthething Fri 01-Jun-18 18:10:55

burying loved ones in the ground in a shroud and wrapping leaves and flowers all over them someone said you can't have that in the UK, yes you can, there are green burial companies that have sites for natural decomposition which use more easily decomposing coffins or shrouds and you can put flowers on them before burial.

Penfold007 Fri 01-Jun-18 18:11:16

Elendon I asked about a cardboard or even coffin free cremation recently, apparently both would need much more fuel to ensure cremation and are less environmentally friendly. So DF went to meet his maker courtesy of a chipboard basic coffin. He expressly didn't want to 'waste' a tree.

Mimsy123 Fri 01-Jun-18 18:11:16


I don't understand people who visit graves. But that's just me.

That just reminds me of a line on The Young Ones. “Do you dig graves?”
- “Yeah, they’re alright.”

escape Fri 01-Jun-18 18:12:34

Very comforting thread.
I've lost 4 immediate family members in the past 5 years - 3 of them were cremated - I can honestly say I have never given much thought to what happened 'afterwards' ...
My Mum was buried at her will, and I think it cost us circa 10k to do so, for a grave I visit on average once a year. I think of her 1000 times a day.
I genuinely believe burials should almost be outlawed - there seems to be no logical sense to them - however I wholly accept the heritage of burials and the sentimentality attached to grieving loved ones.

Mimsy123 Fri 01-Jun-18 18:12:42


Sorry, it was just a small joke wink

RGNstaffnurse Fri 01-Jun-18 18:15:43

No body is taken out of the coffin before cremation in fact, it would be illegal to do so.

Mrsmadevans Fri 01-Jun-18 18:18:50

Kermit thank you so much for putting our minds at rest flowers

SuspiciouslyMinded Fri 01-Jun-18 18:19:21

That’s a properly hot thread indeed!

Nikephorus Fri 01-Jun-18 18:23:25

I have heard in the past that people could see flames as the curtains close. I can assure you that if you ever see this then something has gone very wrong and the Crematorium is on fire!
Fabulous grin

ladymelbourne1926 Fri 01-Jun-18 18:27:57

Thank you for such an informative and respectful thread.
May I ask do you ever cremate organs separately or would they be put in with another body? A relative had organs removed for medical science, (they died in their 90s old of a very rare condition)once they had analysed the organs I had the option of cremating them or given that what they had found was of interest, allowing them to be stored incase they might be of further use in the future. I chose the latter but I did wonder if they would do a completely separate cremation if I'd chosen that route.
Thank you.

foreststew Fri 01-Jun-18 18:31:30

Thank you for an interesting and informative thread, Kermit.

Jux Fri 01-Jun-18 18:43:07

I've seen quite a few willow coffins. Are the bodies removed from them or are they burnt all together. Both my mum and my bro had willow (or was it bamboo? can't remember, it was a while ago and I was in complete shock).

I still have their ashes, and wondered if I am holding willow ashes too.

MsJudgemental Fri 01-Jun-18 18:51:02

We asked to watch the cremation of my father straight after his funeral and it really helped.

Roomba Fri 01-Jun-18 18:52:50

Is it true that if I people are late to a cremation, you can put the deceased on a low-light until everyone arrives?

I don't understand this question - I think someone's been pulling our leg! the actual cremation itself is done after the service of remembrance. They don't load people in then relatives turn up at an appointed time to stand round and view the process, so how is it possible to be late for a cremation? If you were late for the service of remembrance, I imagine it would just begin without you as there are strict time slots for use of the rooms.

Mimsy123 Fri 01-Jun-18 18:55:56


It’s a very old joke, don’t worry about it. Just an attempt at a little light relief.

MBDBBB Fri 01-Jun-18 18:56:27

This thread is FASCINATING.

I am a Wills and Probate Solicitor-I’ve dealt with peoples estates who have had no family and have left specific instructions for the lowest cost funeral with no service and nothing to be done with the ashes. As the solicitor and only person to do it I have arranged such funerals-the FDs have always been extraordinarily helpful. The ashes have been scattered at the memorial garden at the funeral home.

It’s worth noting that funeral wishes in a Will are not legally binding - they are often incredibly helpful as often families have not discussed such things and they can really help at a time when emotions are running high. I would say though that if you have very specific and strong views that there is a danger your family will not follow, you should think about planning a prepaid funeral.

Sorry slightly off topic but I noticed a few people mentioning funeral instructions in Wills...! smile

CatherineCawood Fri 01-Jun-18 18:57:18

ILoveKermit I always say Cheerio and wish them well when charging a cremator - that is so lovely such a nice thing to hear has brought tears to my eyes.

fcekinghell Fri 01-Jun-18 19:00:01

Kermit, what happens if the person has a cochlear implant? Not sure if that is removed?

Also in the case of funeral plans, my parents have one but I wouldn't have the first clue how to find out about them if they were to die, so how do I ensure their wishes are met if I don't even know where to look or who to ask?

MBDBBB Fri 01-Jun-18 19:02:17

@fcekinghell you should probably ask them who it’s with.

FirstTimeMum07 Fri 01-Jun-18 19:04:32

I used to volunteer for a childrens hospice and we were sent on a tour of a crematorium and saw all the behind the scenes stuff that happens after the curtains shut, it's very interesting and changed my mind from being buried to being cremated

PerfectlyDone Fri 01-Jun-18 19:10:38

What a fantastic thread! smile

Thank you, kermit, for starting it and for the job you do thanks

I'm a GP and fill in death certificates that now include the creation questions including whether there are any hazardous substances in the body.
The main risks to crematoria is anything that can explode, so usually anything with a batter: pace makers and ICDs (implantable cardioversion devices i.e. mini defibrillators that get implanted in a v similar way to pace makers).
I am now aware of any metal work (joint replacements, surgical wire and nails, shrapnel etc) being a problem and have never been asked about breast implants (surely even silicone ones will just burn off? I don't actually know).

Also, infectious diseases that could be a risk to the under takers or anybody else handling the body need to be declares.

As an aside, IME undertakers are as a rule lovely people who have nothing but respect for the people in their care (their expression, not mine) and their relatives.
I think it takes a rather special person to deal with death day in and day out - either that, or it is the job that makes people not sweat the small stuff smile

katseyes7 Fri 01-Jun-18 19:11:32

This is very interesting! l have 2 plates and 9 screws in one ankle, and an artificial hip on the same leg. l hope they get recycled after l've gone!

DucksOnThePond Fri 01-Jun-18 19:11:36

Is it true that your head explodes?

TSSDNCOP Fri 01-Jun-18 19:15:10

Irrespective of the type of funeral you chose at the crematorium is it the case that formally the person’s body cannot be cremated until it’s been committed?

MrsSarahSiddons Fri 01-Jun-18 19:16:36

Thank you for this informative and lovely thread. My grandfather was cremated in 1970 at the same burial ground where his wife was buried 14 years previously. I have no idea what happened to his ashes. Is there any way of finding out? I do have the invoice from the funeral director and it doesn't mention anything about what was done with the ashes.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 19:16:51

@Catrina1234 yes you can use a cardboard coffin...perfectly legal but personally I don't like them

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 19:18:06

@DesignStatement if that was the persons wish then so be it. I have no opinion on jewelry being wore then cremated with the person.

Mrsmorton Fri 01-Jun-18 19:18:49

@DucksOnThePond pretty crass question there. By what mechanism do you imagine any body part (not containing a battery) would explode? I'll wager you've not RTFT.

Excited101 Fri 01-Jun-18 19:19:10


YearOfYouRemember Fri 01-Jun-18 19:19:45

@mikeyssister I assumed Kermit was male too.

Dh and I are going to be cremated.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 19:20:24

@ladymelbourne1926 yes there is a separate form for cremating body parts. They are treated like a normal cremation and ashes are either returned to family or scattered according to the families wishes.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 19:21:36

@Jux no one is ever removed from a coffin so you probably have a tiny percentage of willow in with your families ashes.

MoosMummy11 Fri 01-Jun-18 19:22:36

Wow! This thread has been an amazing read. You’ve helped me make my mind completely up for when my time comes. I wanted to be cremated anyway as (I know I probably sound ridiculous) I’m terrified of the dark, spiders and bugs so wouldn’t lay underground in life, so why would I once I’ve passed? You’re amazing as is this entire thread. Thank you for being open and honest & thank you for doing the job you do with such obvious love, respect & doing the ‘small’ things. I blubbed when you said you say cheerio to the people before you cremate them. I couldn’t do your job, I couldn’t bare the thought of working with dead children/babies. So thank you again, for doing such a difficult job.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 19:23:35

@fcekinghell I think they are removed the same as a pacemaker.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 19:25:07

@DucksOnThePond can confirm that the head does not explode. Not sure where you heard that from.

kermitrulesok Fri 01-Jun-18 19:26:12

@TSSDNCOP a coffin is classed as being committed when it comes into the crematory.

Redissuereader Fri 01-Jun-18 19:26:29

I’m only up to page 2 but I would to thank you ILoveKermit as this thread has been comforting

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