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Cremation 101

Getting Started
While more and more people are choosing cremation every year, few people have a real understanding what cremation is and what the cremation process involves. Certified by the ICCFA (International Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association) the folks here at Rome Monuments are fully qualified to teach you about the difference between traditional burials and cremation burials, how the cremation process works, the costs and prices associated with cremation, and the many cremation options available for creating a lasting tribute to a loved one. 

Cremation Defined
Cremation is the mechanical and/or thermal or other dissolution process that reduces human remains to bone fragments.

Reasons for Choosing Cremation
If you need time to explore the cremation option, we can help. In the end, however, the decision is a very personal one. Here are some reasons why many of our customers have chosen cremation over traditional burial.

  • Cremation burial costs less than a traditional burial
  • Cremation burial uses less land than a traditional burial.
  • The cremation process is easier and less time-intensive than traditional burial.
  • Society has become more accepting of cremation.
  • Cremation burial is better for the environment than traditional burial.
  • Cremation burial is a respectful way to care for one who has passed.   

Pre-Planning Cremation
It is important to understand the cremation process in advance of your passing or a member of your family’s. Only then can you make important decisions with respect to cremation arrangements and cremation costs in a relaxed, calm manner and with plenty of time to work out the details. This is called pre-planning. A Cremation Counselor here at Rome Monuments can help you plan the process in advance to achieve the best results.

Selecting a Funeral Home
The funeral home you select will pick up the body, have you fill out the required paperwork, take the body to the crematory (crematorium), and then return the cremated remains to you.
We can provide a list of funeral homes in the Pittsburgh area and make recommendations based on your needs. You can talk to a Cremation Counselor here at Rome Monuments or schedule a free consultation by calling 724-770-0100.

Cremation Process
Here is how the cremation process works:

  • At the time of death, the body is transported to the cremation facility where it is placed in a temperature-controlled environment for a Pennsylvania state-mandated 24 hours.
  • The body is placed in a cremation chamber. The process takes 2-3 hours.
  • The cremated remains are removed and further processed to a consistent size and shape.
  • The fully processed cremated remains are placed into a cremation urn or temporary container.
  • The urn or container is delivered to a location requested by the family—to a family member or members, a cemetery, or a memorial facility where the remains are placed inside of monument or cremation keepsake.  

Cremation Funeral Services
A person who has been cremated can be memorialized in much the same way as one who has been embalmed for burial.   

Direct Cremation: You may choose a Direct Cremation with no service whatsoever.

Standard Funeral Service: You may select a Standard Funeral Service at the funeral home. If you wish to view the body, you can have the body embalmed and then cremated following the service.

Life Celebration: You may want to have a Life Celebration at your home, a park in the Pittsburgh area, a Country Club in or around Pittsburgh, hotel or wherever you feel appropriate. The cremated remains can be present at this type of service.

Cremation Disposition Options
Before you even begin the cremation process, it is important to come to a decision on what to do with the cremated remains. Options include:

  • Scattering the cremated remains
  • Placing the cremated remains in an urn
  • Inserting the cremated remains (usually in an urn) inside of a cremation marker or monument that is set on your property or in a cemetery
  • Burying the cremated remains in a cemetery
  • Above-ground entombment--placing an urn in a columbarium or mausoleum niche

Scattering Ashes
Cremated remains have been rendered harmless, so there is no public health risk involved in scattering ashes. However, be prudent when choosing when and where to scatter ashes. Here are some options for scattering ashes: 

  • In a cemetery “scattering” garden:  Many cemeteries have gardens set aside for scattering ashes.
  • On your own private property
  • On public land such as a park: You may want to check city and county regulations and zoning rules before scattering here.
  • On federal land:  Officially, you should request permission to scatter ashes on federal land. However, it will likely not be a problem if you scatter ashes well away from trails, roads, facilities, and waterways.
  • In a lake or river:  The federal Clean Water Act governs scattering in inland waters such as rivers or lakes. You may be legally required to obtain a permit from the state agency that manages the waterway.
  • At sea: The Clean Water Act requires that cremated remains be scattered at least three nautical miles from land. If the container will not easily decompose, you must dispose of it separately. Scattering ashes on beaches or in wading pools by the sea is also prohibited. You must notify the EPA within 30 days of scattering ashes at sea. For more information, including contact information for the EPA representative for Pennsylvania, see Burial of Human Remains at Sea on the EPA website.
  • By air: This method is allowed as long as you don’t drop the container as well.

Cremation Memorials  
There are many cremation memorial options available to you, whether you decide on in-ground burial, inserting the ashes/urn inside a monument, or placing the cremated remains in an urn or keepsake that is kept in a home or columbarium niche. A cremation memorial can be for any number of people, come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and colors and in different price ranges. Here are some your choices for the disposition of the cremated remains: 

  • Cremation Urns
  • Cremation Pedestals
  • Cremation Benches
  • Flat Cremation Markers
  • Upright Cremation Monuments
  • Cremation Cemetery Buildings ( Mausoleums, Columbariums with Niches)
  • Backyard Cremation Monuments
  • Cremation Plaques
  • Granite Vaults
  • Private Family Columbariums with Niches

While we specialize in cremation memorials, Rome Monuments is also uniquely qualified to explain the cremation costs, burial and internment services, memorialization options and other important details that will empower you and help you make the right decisions when the time arrives. Find out about the various cremation storage options such as: urns, jewelry, community columbariums (niches), cemetery cremation memorials, cremation memorial benches and cremation monuments. In addition, both Vince and Chris will also be happy to recommend Pittsburgh-based crematories that can perform the cremation and/or funeral homes that can provide a funeral or memorial service.  We make a difficult, time-consuming process easier! Simply call us at 724-770-0100 and ask to speak with Vince Dioguardi or Chris Morgan. Both Vince and Chris can answer all your cremation questions.