Crematorium urging families not to place personal items in a coffin due to safety risks
East Riding Crematorium is urging families to resist the temptation to leave certain personal items in a coffin.
Placing personal items with the people that have died is a custom that dates back thousands of years and exists throughout many cultures.
However, The Crematorium and Memorial Group (CMG), which operates the crematorium at Octon is asking families not to leave such personal items in the coffin without asking first as they may unintentionally pose a safety or environmental risk.
Combustible items such as alcohol, mobile phones or battery-powered devices can all cause an explosion if cremated.
Hard objects such as golf or bowling balls could be propelled during the cremation process causing substantial damage to the equipment.
Plastics used to manufacture items such as fishing rods and sporting goods may emit poisonous fumes once set alight.
Personal mementoes such as wooden rosary beads, unframed photographs, religious texts or handwritten tributes on paper or card can all be left in the coffin.
Jewellery and medals can also be cremated but cannot be recovered afterwards.
CMG advises families not to leave items of sentimental or financial value in the coffin and to be sure to remind their funeral director to remove any items before cremation takes place.
Staff at the crematorium are not legally permitted to open a coffin once it is placed in the chapel prior to the service.
CMG’s technical services manager Tony Davidson said: “We work with local funeral directors to help families have a respectful funeral for their loved on.
“We understand that mourners may wish to leave items in the coffin, but we respectfully ask that they talk to us or their funeral director about alternative ways of personalising the funeral.
“The worse case scenario is that these items damage the cremator or injure a colleague causing a delay to other family’s funerals. Clearly nobody would want this to happen.”
Items that have been placed in coffins prior to cremation include:
○ Cigarettes and cigars
○ Mobile phone
○ Golf clubs and balls
○ A favourite book
○ Soft toys
○ Fishing rod
○ Takeaway meal
⦁○ Computer game