Frequently Asked Questions

Information from the CANA website &

What is Cremation?

People generally understand what the term cremation means. When we are asked for a detailed definition, however, we tend to hesitate while searching for appropriate words. A suggested definition of cremation is the: “The mechanical and/or thermal or other dissolution process that reduces human remains to bone fragments.” Cremation includes the processing and usually includes the pulverization of the bone fragments.

This definition covers a variety of technologies that may be applied in order to achieve reduction to bone fragments, including traditional flame-based cremation, calcination and alkaline hydrolysis.

Why choose Cremation?

There are numerous reasons why people choose cremation, and the decision is a very personal one, whether for someone planning their own services in order to alleviate their family from that burden, to family members choosing cremation as a loving and respectful way to memorialize their loved one. Research has shown the following nine factors as considerations in the cremation decision:

  • People are dying older and choosing cremation for themselves.
  • Migration to retirement locations is increasing.
  • Cremation has become acceptable.
  • Environmental considerations are becoming more important.
  • Level of education is rising.
  • Ties to tradition are becoming weaker.
  • Regional differences are diminishing.
  • Religious restrictions are diminishing.
  • Greater flexibility in memorialization services.

According to the funeral-industry sponsored Wirthlin Report from 2006, the five primary reasons why cremation is chosen are as follows.

  1. Saves Money (30%)
  2. Saves Land (13%)
  3. Simpler (8%)
  4. Body Not in Earth (6%)
  5. Personal Preference (6%)

What questions should I ask when selecting a crematory?

Make sure you select a reputable firm:

  • Check the CANA Member Directory
  • Ask your friends and others in your community what they know about the firm.
  • Seek advice from your clergy regarding your choice.
  • DO NOT choose a firm based solely on price.


In choosing a firm, CANA recommends you ask the following questions regarding policies and procedures for proper cremation practices.

  • Do they have their own crematory or do they work with a cremation firm? If the latter, which crematory do they use?
  • Who owns the crematory facility?
  • How often do they inspect that facility?
  • Are licenses and permits current?
  • How many operators do they have and what type of training do they require? Are they CANA certified?
  • Does the crematory have refrigeration?
  • How long does the crematory hold the body prior to cremation?
  • Does the crematory have liability insurance?

Your provider should be very willing to answer any and all of your questions.

What are the benefits of Pre-Planning?

  • You will be giving your family guidance and direction about the things that are most important to you for your own cremation and or funeral service.
  • You will be helping to alleviate a great deal of the burden, stress, guilt and difficult decision making associated with planning a loved one’s funeral.
  • You will save your family from over spending on options that do not reflect your wishes.
  • You will have the opportunity to carefully consider just how you would like to be remembered.