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Cremation Procedures & Explanations

Cremation is a technical heating process that reduces human remains to bone fragments. This reduction takes place through combustion and evaporation. Cremated remains are the bone fragments remaining after the cremation process.

This page provides an explanation of the steps taken to ensure cremations are performed properly, both according to law and good conscious.

Our Cremation Procedures

The deceased shall arrive in a combustible casket or other suitable container after the legal 48 hour waiting period is completed. Upon arrival to the crematory, the container holding the deceased shall be clearly marked with the deceased’s name and the name of the funeral home.

Accompanying the deceased must be:
1) the cremation authorization form;
2) a medical examiner’s form;
3) a burial/transportation/disposition permit;
4) and payment for cremation.

Identification of the hu­man remains is verified by the deceased’s name distinctly written on the container and all paper work accompanying the body. A cremation identification tag with Harmony Grove’s name and cremation number is given and attached to the container.

A daily log is kept in the crematory which lists the Funeral home name, deceased’s last name, cremation number given, time cremation is started and ended, type of container used, needed return delivery, type of urn or receptacle for return delivery and any other miscellaneous instructions from the funeral home.

As the container is being placed in the cremation chamber, the identification tag is removed and placed near the control panel. It remains there until the cremation process is complete, then follows the next procedure, eventually being placed inside the urn or other designated container.

The unauthorized simultaneous cremation of more than one human remains within the same cremation chamber is forbidden, but also would be extremely difficult to achieve due to the size of the cremation chamber.

All body prosthesis, bridgework or similar items removed from the cremated remains is dis­posed of in a non-recoverable manner, by the crematory authority unless authority to do otherwise is specifically requested in writing prior to cremation.

Non-combustible materials on caskets, such as decorative handles or rails, latches, etc, which could cause damage to the cremation equipment may be removed prior to the cremation and disposed of by the crematory in a non-recoverable manner.

The Crematory

Gately Funeral Home is proud to work with one of the original and most respected crematory operators in New England: Harmony Grove Cemetery. As a member of the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), Harmony follows suggested CANA guidelines on correct crematory procedures and applicable laws.

Harmony Grove installed its original crematory in late 1916, as one of the first 10 crematories in New England. In 1991 they upgraded their building and equipment to better serve the needs of families and their funeral directors.

Witnessing Cremations

The crematory must be notified if anyone wishes to witness the casket/container being placed in the cremation chamber. Harmony Grove Crematory offers this to you and the families you serve as comfort and reassurance with the services we render. We may require a waiver/witness form to be signed to protect us from any liability. We are willing to accommodate client families as much as possible within Harmony’s work schedule. It is strongly recommended that you book a 7 to 8 a.m. appointment as this is the only way we can guarantee a cremation chamber will be available at the exact time observation is scheduled to begin.

Processing of Cremated Remains

Upon completion of the cremation process and an appropriate cooling period, insofar as is possible, all residual of the cremation process is removed from the cremation chamber and the chamber is swept clean. The residual is placed within a container or tray that ensures against co-mingling with other cremated remains; the identification tag is removed from the control panel area and attached to the container or tray to wait final processing.

Recognizable skeletal fragments and hardware from the casket or container such as hinges, nails, screws, etc. remain. After the skeletal fragments have been separated from the other material they will then be mechanical processed to a fine granular state, commonly referred to as “ashes”.

About Personal Possessions

Due to the nature of the cremation process, any personal possessions or valuable materials, such as dental gold or jewelry (as well as any body prostheses or dental bridgework), that are left with the decedent and not removed from the casket or container prior to cremation will be destroyed or will otherwise not be recoverable. If not destroyed, items will be disposed of by the crematory in a non-recoverable manner in accordance with applicable laws. As the casket or container is not opened by the Crematory, the Authorized Agent(s) understands that arrangements must be made with the Funeral Home to remove any such possessions or valuables before the decedent is transported to the Crematory.

Packaging of Cremated Remains

The entire processed remains are placed in a suitable container. The contents are not contami­nated with any other object(s) unless specific authorization has been received from the authorizing agent.

The cremated remains, together with the brass identification tag, are placed within the container or designated receptacle ordered by the authorizing agent. Should the cremated remains not fit within the designated receptacle, the funeral home is notified and the remainder is returned in a separate container and clearly marked.

When a temporary container is used to return the processed remains, i.e. a corrugated box, box seams are taped closed to increase the security and integrity of that container. The outside of all containers is clearly identified with the name of the deceased person whose processed remains are contained therein.

ALL cremated remains are returned to the respective funeral homes and a return receipt is acknowledged by the funeral home representative. This receipt is returned to the crematory main office and attached to the original paperwork and placed in a permanent file.

Disposition of Cremated Remains

An accurate record of all cremations performed is kept in a permanent file. With written permission from the authorizing agent, Harmony Grove may dispose of cremated remains in any legal manner, i.e. scattering here in our scattering or remembrance gardens.

Gately Funeral Home, 79 W Foster St, Melrose, MA 02176 
Ph: 781-665-1949   •  GatelyFuneralHome@comcast.net
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