July 20, 2024


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Cremation Association of North America: “All Things Cremation”

3 min read
Cremation Association

The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) was founded in 1913 and has over 3,300 members. The members of this international trade association consist of crematories, cemeteries, and funeral homes. The purpose of CANA is to lead the industry in all things cremation. CANA connects members through events, education resources, and crematory manufacturing & service.

Brief History of Cremation

Initially, cremation became an option around 3000 B.C. in Europe and the Near East. Over time, its popularity began stretching through Russia, the British Isles, Spain, and Portugal. By 1000 B.C. cremation was typical for a Grecian burial. The practice of cremation continued to develop and become more popular.

Traditionally, modern cremation was chosen by well-educated or wealthy people until the early 1920s. From then until 2016, people favored burial as it was proven to be safe. Now cremation is becoming increasingly popular again and offers an inexpensive and quick alternative to traditional burial. By 2018 it is expected that over half of the U.S. population will choose cremation.

Types of Cremation

Cremation is the process that reduces the remains of a human to bone fragments, otherwise known as ash. There are two main types of cremation – flame-based cremation or alkaline hydrolysis.

Flame-based cremation relies on the heat of the fire to break down the human body into bone fragments. Flame-based cremation is the most common form of cremation.

Alkaline hydrolysis uses a water-based dissolution process to ignite natural decomposition. Alkaline hydrolysis is a newer technology that relies on alkaline chemicals, heat, and pressure instead of fire. It is not as common as flame-based cremation and therefore not as many providers of this service.

Process of Cremation

The method of cremation is broken down into four key steps including transportation of the deceased, storage of the deceased before cremation, the cremation process, the return of the remains to an authorized person.

When a person dies, the first step is to transport them to a funeral home. Occasionally they are taken directly to the crematory. In this step of the process, a chain of identification is started to confirm the deceased’s identity along the way.

Once the deceased arrives at the funeral home, they go in secured cold storage. The deceased remains here while funeral plans and paperwork are finalized. Typically, cremation does not occur until after 48 hours from death.

The cremation process requires the deceased to be placed in a specialized cremation container. The paperwork is confirmed against the deceased’s identity, and then assigned a cremation number, unusually stamped on a stainless-steel disc. Once the body is cremated, the identity is rechecked against the paperwork, and then the remains are left to cool. A machine will then pulverize the remains to create the powder before the ashes are stored for the family’s retrieval.

Choosing Cremation

Cremation can be an excellent option in the event of a death. CANA is an association aimed at connecting those who work in the industry with those who are interested in learning more.